What’s the Big Idea?

By Kate Newton  Tuesday, 11 December 2018  @Business School

​UNSW Business School students with the Centre for Social Impact have won The Big Idea, a business plan competition for making a positive impact on society. ­

Three UNSW Sydney teams entered the competition with sustainable business plans involving flowers, coffee, and plastic.

Throughout the competition the teams gained unprecedented access to social entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and experts across various social sectors.

Two UNSW Sydney teams were successful in the undergraduate and postgraduate categories, winning iPads and an immersion experience with PwC in Melbourne.

The winning postgraduate team is comprised solely of UNSW Business School students Benedikta Prastyamita, Febe Haryanto, Daniel Berardo, Edward Leong and Muhammad Adi.

Their business, flower2empower, provides opportunities for people with disabilities by turning wedding flower waste into pressed flower candles and soaps targeted at the wedding favours and decorations market.

Benedikta Prastyamita from flower2empower said, "This award is very important to us because we want to take back to Indonesia what we have learnt here."

Undergraduate Business School students Monica Wang and Ryan Thomson won alongside their teammates from the UNSW faculties of Engineering and Arts & Social Sciences.

Their winning idea, Bugisu Project, supplies specialty coffee to workplaces while reinvesting profits into gender equality programs in Uganda, where the coffee is grown. The business is zero waste, delivering coffee in reusable canisters and recycling used coffee grounds.

Competition judge, Cheryl Kernot, explained the judges were impressed with the, "closed loop aspect of Bugisu's design which, unlike other coffee projects, made innovative use of coffee grounds."

"Flower2empower made innovative use of massive floral displays from weddings in Indonesia to reduce waste and to add value engaging disabled people in making candles and soaps from this waste. The judges were aware of the huge positive social impact this would have on cultural attitudes surrounding disability," she said.

The judges also commended UNSW Sydney's postgraduate finalist team Renewable Space, for the ambition of its "Big Idea" and its social impact in addressing both homelessness & reduction of plastic waste. Renewable Space aims to turn plastic waste into affordable housing.

The competition, run by not-for-profit organisation The Big Issue, saw more than 340 students from 14 universities enter over 100 business plans. The finalists consisted of six undergraduate and three postgraduate teams. 

whats-the-big-idea