Socks designed for social impact have won the annual student entrepreneur challenge at the University of New South Wales, known as the Peter Farrell Cup.
Conscious Step is the brand name of boldly-designed, organic, fair-trade cotton socks that raise funds for charitable causes. Each design is matched to a charity partner and a percentage from the sale of each pair of socks goes to that charity.
Peter Farrell, entrepreneur and founder and executive director of ResMed, has supported the challenge for 12 years to stimulate and nourish the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in university students. Students develop and grow new ventures based on either their own ideas and technologies or those developed by others, including faculty members.
After developing a synopsis of their idea and working with an industry mentor, the students "pitch" to potential "investors" and receive feedback to increase the chance of their ventures succeeding. The two-night "Pitchfest" in October, to industry experts and innovation and entrepreneurship specialists, produced eight finalists (out of 24 teams). The finalists then submitted a business plan of their ideas.
The three founders of Conscious Step were brought together by a shared vision to create a better world through innovative, sustainable business.
Team leader Hassan Ahmad said the socks promoted social awareness of, and raised funds for, causes and solutions - to "give an ordinary purchase, extraordinary purpose".
"The entire process of the competition - learning how to craft a business plan, fostering a mentorship relationship, and refining and presenting a three minute pitch - has been immensely beneficial, both personally as an aspiring entrepreneur and for Conscious Step," said Hassan. "In 2008, through a Centre for Innovation and Enterprise Internship at ResMed, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Farrell. Since then, I aspired to enter the cup. I'm so glad I finally did!"
"The Peter Farrell Cup is a fantastic opportunity for students to bring their business ideas to life and is a unique learning environment simulating the challenges teams will face to start up a business," says Professor Karin Sanders, the Director of the Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (which organises the competition) at the Australian School of Business.
Winners and Prizes
- 1st prize ($10000)
- 2nd prize ($5000) - Club connect - a retail services business that will act as an agent to arrange ticket sales between event companies and their customers
- 3rd prize ($3000) - SmarterHospital - a mobile task management and prioritisation software application which allows doctors to view, manage and prioritise their tasks across the whole hospital, not just one ward, during after-hours shifts
- Honourable Mentions ($500 each) - T3 Got Wheels - a mobile app that creates a communication system and visibility network for drivers to identify cyclists on the road more easily and effectively; and Regeneray Energy - which provides breakthrough technology for organic solar cells to increase electricity conversion efficiencies by over 200 per cent.
- People's Choice ($500) - Conscious step
Karin Sanders: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hassan Ahmed: email@example.com
Janine MacDonald: 0478 492 110