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iActivate inspiring new approach for community-minded student

Published:23 February 2021

Emma Bedwin is studying CQUniversity's iActivate social enterprise short course.

A 25-year career in the disability sector has given Emma Bedwin a deep understand of what isn’t working – but with CQUniversity’s iActivate course, the passionate student is ready to start changing things so they do.

A community capacity building practitioner in the NSW public service, Ms Bedwin said she enrolled in the course looking for a new approach to transforming lives for people with disabilities.

“I started iActivate because I had a social problem that I wanted to solve, and I also had my own problem: looking for like-minded people who could inspire me, and feed my passion for large-scale change, not just a small improvement on a broken system,” she explained.

“One of the iActivate presenters called it ‘finding your tribe’, and iActivate really puts a frame around the fact that people want systems-level change.

“Hearing those courageous stories, the successes and the failures, has been really important for how I approach my work and my plans.”

iActivate is an online social enterprise short course that supports students to design and grow business for good, created in collaboration by CQUniversity and for-good business Impact Boom.

Launched in 2020, it’s the first in Australia developed by a university and a sector leader, offering a digital badge on completion.

Ms Bedwin enrolled in December last year, and said she’s learning a lot.

“I’ve built community capacity in not-for-profit, state and local government, but iActivate is my first experience with business-for-good models,” she explained.

“The course is so practical, it really shows you what’s possible, and creates confidence that communities can skill-build for opportunities that are for-profit, and for-good.”

“Deciding to take on big systems change is overwhelming, and in iActivate you hear people say, yeah I was exhausted after I did that, but they are still going, and are actually making the change.”

With video, audio and written content, iActivate’s 12 modules are curated to give students clear and actionable steps in defining goals and impacts, understanding business for good ecosystems, applying sustainable and innovative business models, and prototyping, pitching, scaling and measuring impacts.

The content builds on Impact Boom’s successful Elevate+ Accelerator Program for emerging social entrepreneurs, and CQUniversity’s range of social innovation courses and initiatives, from entry-level to postgraduate, that have kickstarted thousands of changemaker journeys for students since 2015.

Ms Bedwin has fitted her studies around full-time work and parenting, and she said iActivate’s self-paced and ultra-flexible online format made the juggle possible.

“It’s honestly been the best thing about COVID-19, getting access to online learning like this,” she said.

“The opportunity to fit study in to my lifestyle has been fundamentally important – you can listen to the podcasts around the house, do the online coursework in the evenings, and there’s such fascinating readings that let you explore what’s relevant to you,” she said.

“I’m seeing a plan emerge as I progress, and it will be exciting to put that into the real world - I’ve got the start of the conversation, and I can take it to the community to build on it.”

For more information visit cqu.edu.au/iactivate, and enrol to start iActivate now.