A University Competition
The Big Idea

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 is a social enterprise planning competition between students at participating universities. The Big Idea invites students to develop a concept and business plan for a social enterprise that might become the next ‘Big Issue’.  Both undergraduate and postgraduate students can get involved.

The Big Idea offers students unprecedented access to social entrepreneurs, Australian ‘Thought Leaders’ and experts across a variety of business sectors, whose guidance, advice and direction will ensure students are well placed to develop their ideas into business plans for viable social enterprise. Meet the people involved.


Congratulations to the 2016 winning teams!

The undergraduate winning team was from the University of Melbourne.  Their idea, Yumi socks, addresses barriers to employment for youth living with mental illness (YMI), by selling socks embedded with positive mental health messages.  Sock sales fund the yumi-preneur project, equipping YMI with vocational skills, and eventually employing YMI directly in the Yumi enterprise.

The postgraduate team was from the University of Sydney.  Their social business, Us3, connects NFP organisations with under-utilised office space via an app.

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 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 bigidea@bigissue.org.au. 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.