New student entrepreneur initiative to address social disadvantage

(L-R) Chairman of Grameen Foundation Australia, Peter Hunt AM,
Professor Muhammad Yunus, and Professor Rebekah Brown.

“Leave No One Behind” is a new initiative developed by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI) in collaboration with the Deans of Monash's HASS faculties (Arts, Business & Economics, Education, Law and Art, Design & Architecture).

It addresses the issues of social disadvantage and inequality through student entrepreneurship and innovation and was launched recently by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, who pioneered the concept of microfinance.

The program is designed as a multi stage competition where participants design and develop a viable social enterprise - that is, a business that is both financially sustainable and provides a social good.

Framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Leave No One Behind responds to the changing nature of the workforce where students will increasingly need to be employers rather than employees. It also builds on existing Monash initiatives in this space, such as The Generator, which help grow student capability in innovation and entrepreneurship, while also orienting those skills towards addressing issues of social disadvantage.

Commencing in August 2017, the Leave No One Behind pilot is open to current Monash students as well as Monash alumni within five years of graduation.

Shortlisted teams will have the opportunity to be linked with business leaders and private sector mentors to assist them with development of their business plan.

Finalists will pitch their ideas to an expert panel and winners will be awarded $20,000 to support the development of their idea as well as the opportunity to gain further mentorship and access to additional social capital funding.

“Monash is committed to growing the capabilities of our students in innovation and entrepreneurship and building a vibrant entrepreneurial culture,” said Mr Ken Sloan, Monash’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise).

“Building on the success of The Generator, Leave No One Behind reflects global best practice in supporting students to design and set up social businesses and Monash is excited to launch this project which will have a meaningful impact in addressing issues of inequity and social disadvantage in  our community,” he said.

“Complex challenges need innovative solutions, and we believe an entrepreneurial mindset can come from anywhere,” said Professor Rebekah Brown, Director, Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

“Entrepreneurship is not just about a new gadget or technological fix. It can be a new process, service, method of delivery or fundraising model,” she said.

“Leave No One Behind is an inclusive program that specifically welcomes students trained in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and gives them an opportunity to harness their unique skills and training to make a positive impact in addressing disadvantage in our community aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

For more information, please contact Dr Lara Werbeloff on: lara.werbeloff@monash.edu