La Trobe gets The Big Idea double header!

We’re the only Australian university to have two student teams in the 2016 grand final of the prestigious “The Big Idea” competition.

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Liz Franzmann, The Big Idea Project Manager; Michael Hutchison; Antony Jacobson, Social Entrepreneurship subject coordinator; Marissa Garner; Yianni Polydorou

Team Free Moora Moora and Team HomeMore have both been selected to compete in the national competition that invites students to develop a concept and business plan for a social enterprise that might become the next ‘Big Issue’.

The Big Issue is best-known for The Big Issue magazine, which is sold on the streets by homeless and disadvantaged men and women.

Antony Jacobson, Professor of Practice in La Trobe Business School, who led the social Entrepreneurship subject, said he was thrilled to have two teams represented.

“This is a testament to our passionate, committed and hardworking students and the support provided by La Trobe Business School staff and the wider university community,” he said.

“This year La Trobe had 17 teams and 66 undergraduate students enter the competition and it goes to show how much of a success the competition has been.”

Teagan Giggins and Keeliah Frost, two undergraduate Business School students from La Trobe’s Melbourne Campus make up team Free Moora Moora – Their idea is to create a social enterprise training and recruitment company, serving Indigenous juveniles in detention and Indigenous young adults at risk of entering the criminal justice system.

Liz Franzmann, Teagan Giggins and Keeliah Frost

Liz Franzmann, Teagan Giggins and Keeliah Frost

The enterprise aims to reduce the over-representation and re-offending rates of Indigenous young people in detention centres and jails, through a combination of healing support, skills development and employment pathways.

Free Moora Moora team member Teagan Giggins believes they are helping to tackle a serious social issue.

“We were initially motivated to address this issue by the disturbing footage released by Four Corners on Northern Territory’s Don Yale Youth Detention Centre in July this year,” she said.

Her teammate, Keeliah Frost, added, “The offers of support for our idea from almost every organisation and individual we contacted in our market research encouraged us to keep persisting with Free Moora Moora.”

The La Trobe students behind team HomeMore are Michael Hutchison, Yianni Polydorou and Marissa Garner. Their big idea aims to tame the inter-related problems of climate change, housing affordability and intergenerational poverty. The HomeMore social business proposes a property developer company providing affordable, carbon-positive homes (producing more energy than they consume) to single women with dependents.

More than 100 business plans from students at 11 participating universities around Australia were submitted to the competition this year.

The winning undergraduate and postgraduate teams will be announced at The Big Idea awards on Tuesday 29 November.

Congratulations to the two teams and we wish them the best of luck for the grand final next week.

For more information on The Big Idea Competition head to http://thebigidea.org.au/