Change Maker

Monica Wang

Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts

UNSW Commerce graduate Monica Wang’s internship did more than give her industry-leading skills, it led her to the philanthropic world of business.

Monica Wang’s UNSW Business School degree gave her industry-leading skills which led to where she is today, as the Director of Finance at not-for-profit Kua.

During an internship at Opportunity International, she was told about two UNSW students who were on the look-out for someone with a commerce background, to join their start-up Kua.

Kua sells Ugandan coffee to Sydney workplaces - with zero waste, in reusable canisters - and then circulates the profits back into Ugandan communities.

After Monica joined the start-up, they enrolled in subject COMM3030 and started the Career Accelerator Program’s The Big Idea competition.

Whilst in the beginning stages of building a social enterprise from scratch they decided participating in The Big Idea would benefit them greatly, through its exposure and coaching.

“It was a great opportunity to validate our idea and progress for the real market,” she said.

The Big Idea is Australia’s leading social enterprise immersion and competition for university students, supported by PwC.

Students are set a challenge to explore an area of disadvantage and propose a business case for an appropriate social enterprise.

This is where the student team introduced the Bugisu Project to the world- now known as Kua.

“What really drew me in so much was the social impact aspect of the competition,” she said.

The Career Accelerator Program COMM3030 provided the team with weekly mentorship, foundational knowledge about entrepreneurship and helped develop their skills in the lead up to The Big Idea competition.

“Then one thing led to another, we had the semi-finals,” Monica said.

“We pitched (The Big Idea) at the Business School, the Dean’s lounge, and then had a few people who are in the social enterprise space judge. Then got put through as an undergraduate team.”

The team was then sponsored to fly to Melbourne for the finals, where they took out the top prize for the undergraduate division.

Taking out the coveted title of Australia’s top student social enterprise gave Kua leverage to grow and enabled them to secure funding.

“We were also able to turn our prizes into cash, which we invested into our business,” she said.

The Big Idea competition also enabled them to network, and introduced them to CEO of The Big Issue Steven Persson, who gave them a glimpse into how an established social enterprise operated.

Monica is now the Director (Finance) at Kua and believes The UNSW Business School has given her the industry-leading skills to get her where she is today.

“It's given me a better understanding of my passion and the different pathways I could take to pursue it. I've been lucky to connect with some inspiring people that I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise!”

Monica’s UNSW Business degree also guided her on how a social enterprise could potentially make an impact and inspire social change around the world in relation to International Business and International Development.

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