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CQUni students revved up for Big Idea final with smarter motorbike safety plan

Published:11 November 2020

CQUni Brisbane Master of Management for Engineers students Deeksha Rahanoo and Muhammad Ahsan Ahmed.

Two CQUniversity Brisbane students are hoping to change lives with a high-tech plan to revolutionise motorbike safety – and support some of the world’s most disadvantage motorcyclists, too.

Master of Management for Engineers students Deeksha Rahanoo and Muhammad Ahsan Ahmed are representing CQUniversity in the national final of The Big Idea social enterprise design competition, as one of just two teams progressing from this week’s semi-final.

Their project features an Internet of Things smart chip for helmets and motorbikes to achieve a range of new safety interventions, as well as a social business to maximise its impact.

The determined changemakers impressed judges with their online presentation at the semi-finals on Wednesday 11 November 2020, and Deeksha said it was exciting to make the final round.

“The social enterprise will provide fourfold benefit by decreasing accidents, improving emergency services response times, empowering women to work on the tech development of the organisation, and using 100 per cent of profits to provide STEM education to underprivileged females in India,” Deeksha explained.

While the details of the smart chips design remain commercial in confidence, Deeksha and Ahsan said they had enjoyed the challenge of maximising the social benefits of the innovation.

“I first proposed this idea in a class back in June, and our lecturer was so encouraging about it’s potential, it has really become a passion,” Deeksha said.

She began working with Ahsan on the project for an assignment, with a plan to commercialise soon developed.

“Then when we had the opportunity to enter The Big Idea, we realised the potential to have a huge positive impact for so many communities – we really feel like we can do wonders together!” Ahsan said.

Deeksha said her experience back home in India, seeing women study in STEM fields but often not progress to technical jobs, also inspired the project.

“My father is an engineer, and he always encouraged me into this field, so I want to be able to encourage other women and show them there is a pathway for them,” she said.

Deeksha and Ahsan thanked CQUniversity’s Office of Social Innovation for supporting the entry, as CQUni marked its seventh year fielding student teams in the prestigious competition.

“The Social Innovation team have really been mentors, and given us so much good advice and encouragement, it’s been amazing” Ashan said.

“We are really proud to be representing CQUni, as well as our own countries of India and Pakistan, for this competition.”

CQUni Social Innovation Program Manager Ashley Clarke said six teams of CQUni students had entered the competition, with two making it through to semi-finals.

“Deeksha and Ahsan came to the competition with a great idea, but they also had really creative approaches to how they could achieve social good, and really maximise the impact of their innovation,” she said.

“They are great ambassadors for changemaking at CQUni, and they’ve really earned the great results so far.”

The pair will make their final pitch on Tuesday 24 November, to a panel of business and social enterprise leaders including The Big Issue, Body Shop, PwC and NAB.

The Big Idea is coordinated by Australian social enterprise The Big Issue, and CQUni teams have previously won the national competition in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

CQUniversity is Australia’s only Changemaker Campus, accredited by exclusive global network for social innovation, enterprise and impact Ashoka U.