The Big Idea is more than just a business planning competition. Students will gain unprecedented access to social entrepreneurs, Australian ‘Thought Leaders’ and experts across a variety of business sectors.  This opportunity encourages students to develop nuanced and empathetic understanding of disadvantage.

How Does The Big Idea Work?

The Big Idea team works closely with universities to create a tailored community partnership, integrating our resources as appropriate for each institution.  Students are set with a challenge: to explore an area of disadvantage and propose a business case for an appropriate social enterprise. Their idea can be designed to work as a start-up or in conjunction with an existing not-for-profit organisation.

To support students in this challenge, The Big Issue has drawn on the rich expertise of our management and networks.  We offer a series of online workshops and exclusive podcast episodes featuring interviews with thought leaders from The Big Issue and a range of other businesses. These workshops and conversations will guide students through the basics of business planning, delve into case studies, and inspire students’ personal and professional development.

The student section of our website guides students through the arguments for, and critiques of, the social enterprise sector, sharing business analysis tools and business planning templates, along with a wider set of suggested readings about social enterprise and related topics.  Our Facebook group is the basis for our alumnus of engaged students, and a place for us to share news and reminders.

Each university will select a team to progress to the competition’s semi-finals and present their social enterprise plan to a panel of judges.  The competition culminates with finalist judging and an awards event on 24th November, 2020.


Why Get Involved?

The Big Idea is an opportunity for students to interact with a range of high-level professionals with hands-on and strategic experience.  The Big Idea can be tailored to suit your university’s requirements, whether integrated into credit-bearing subjects, offered as Work Integrated Learning, or an extra-curricular opportunity for student development.

Additional partnership opportunities and benefits are developed in conjunction with each university. Please contact us to discuss how best to shape this partnership to maximise your individual requirements.

Student prizes include a professional immersion day for the winning team at The Big Issue’s head office in Melbourne, including flights and accommodation if the winning team is based outside Melbourne. Every member of the winning team will also win an Apple iPad.


Who Benefits from The Big Idea?

The benefits of The Big Idea extend beyond the university students who participate. The Big Issue also employs guest speakers who share their experiences of marginalisation with students, making The Big Idea a social enterprise in its own right.

Further, each university has the opportunity to support disadvantaged women through The Big Issue’s Women’s Subscription Enterprise. The Women’s Subscription Enterprise provides job opportunities for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged women through the sale of subscriptions to The Big Issue magazine. Employees pack the magazines for distribution to subscribers, giving them an income and helping them gain new skills and career pathways for the future. Learn more about the Women’s Subscription Enterprise →

Where to Next?

Business planning resources are available to students from Australian Catholic University, CQ University, Curtin University, Swinburne University, the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales. – login here to access resources and podcast episodes, available from 1st July 2020.