The Big Idea – Australia’s leading social enterprise immersion and competition for university students

The Big Idea is coordinated by The Big Issue, Australia’s longest standing and most significant social enterprise. The Big Issue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that delivers solutions to help homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people to positively change their lives.

What is The Big Idea?

The Big Idea will leverage The Big Issue’s expertise and networks to immerse university students in the world of social enterprise.  Students are encouraged to develop their own social enterprise idea, which will be put to our panel of expert judges.  Both undergraduate and postgraduate students can get involved.

Participating students will learn with us during the second half of the year, gaining unprecedented access to social entrepreneurs, Australian ‘Thought Leaders’ and experts across various sectors.  This guidance, advice and direction will ensure students are well placed to understand social issues and develop their ideas into viable business plans.

Meet the people involved.



Congratulations to the 2019 winning teams!

In 2019, students from 11 universities participated in The Big Idea, submitting more than 70 business plans for consideration. Congratulations to Good Intentions and Closed Loop for their winning ideas!

Good Intentions from the University of Melbourne providews seasonal work opportunities for out of care youths, through setting up tents at festivals. Further impact is created via waste reduction as single use tents are phased out.

Closed Loop from UNSW addresses plastic waste by renting out plastic recycling machines to councils, to provide the public with an opportunity to upcycle their own plastic.

Universities – Register Now!

Universities are invited to register their interest for The Big Idea. Places are limited, so please contact The Big Issue to discuss a partnership and secure your university’s place.
University staff interested in learning more about The Big Idea are invited to join our Observer Program to experience the immersion and competition first-hand. You will get the chance to meet our social enterprise experts, hear from guest speakers and get an insight into the delivery style and format of the competition. To join our Observer Program, please send your contact details to You can also visit the About page to find out more on this groundbreaking initiative and how your students can get involved.

For Media enquiries, please contact us on (03) 9663 4533, or complete the form on our Contact page.