What makes your heart sing?
Take a second to think about it.
Really think about it.
The answer for me?
There is immense and immovable power in compassion. Dr. Martin Luther King said that ‘injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere’. This sentiment is one that rings true, echoes in the halls and reverberates around Enactus Australia. I am honored to be a part of Enactus QUT’s organisation, built on the premise of sustainable efforts to address social problems through enterprise. In this way, social enterprises are said to have the head of a business and the heart of a charity.
Enactus QUT’s Many Ways Forward stall at Davies Park Markets, offering practical work experience.
A real-world example of a successful social enterprise is the work of Toms shoes founder Blake Mycoskie. Using the one-for-one model, for every pair of shoes sold, Mycoskie donates one pair to a child in need in developing countries. Therefore, a social enterprise is not simply a firm that donates a certain portion of its profits, but one whose foundations exist because injustice exists.
A group of Australian university students came together at the Enactus National Championship in July to showcase their solutions to such injustices. Held at The Grand Hyatt in Melbourne from July 7-9, 20+ universities presented their projects and results for 2015. I was privileged to attend as a member of the QUT Enactus National team. Our team was able to present two of our projects, Discover and Many Ways Forward. Through Discover, we endeavour to mentor refugee and disenfranchised business owners, particularly women, and empower them to establish a business in their community. This year, Discover has aided in the establishment of two new businesses. Many Ways Forward seeks to address long-term unemployment and the prevalence of homelessness. Within our program, we deliver tailored modules to our participants to provide the training necessary for a transition back into the workforce. This is complemented by practical work experience, and we are proud to say that two of our participants have recently procured employment.
Our QUT team placed 4th in the national competition, competing against the likes of The University of New England, who had over $1million in grants to continue their phenomenal work of procuring birth certificates for people in the Armidale region. A massive congratulations to UNE from the QUT team and best of luck for the World Cup in Johannesburg! As is the Enactus Australia slogan though, ‘we all win’ when great business minds come together to workshop and develop what could be tomorrow’s ‘Toms’.
Enactus QUT takes on Enactus Nationals in Melbourne.
Through Enactus, I also had the honour of attending the 2015 Impact National Conference. Impact seeks to mentor, sponsor and encourage young entrepreneurs to start their own social ventures. Over August 7-9 at UQ and SLQ we heard from innovative and compassion-driven people such as Dustin Leonard from Hero Condoms—buy a condom in Australia (now in Coles!)and he donates one in Botswana and Clary Castrission from 40K Group who is providing extremely cost-effective, efficient and sustainable solutions to access to education in rural India.
Not only were we inspired to act, but Impact allowed us to develop our own ideas throughout the weekend. Within our group, we came up with ‘The Luna Project’—an initiative identified in the basic need for adequate access to sanitary items for homeless women and the great need to find suitable housing. Within our project, we developed ‘The Luna Box’, a care package for Australian women to customise for their own personal needs during their period. Women purchase the box, subsiding sanitary items to be provided to these disadvantaged women. Additionally, we aim to provide practical work experience, and ultimately, paid jobs, to these women to package these boxes. We were approached to potentially launch our project, being offered $5,000 to develop it further.
Presenting ‘The Luna Project’ at Impact Conference.
I am incredibly humbled to have been offered these opportunities by the Business School and implore you to check out Enactus QUT’s website for more information.
Dr. King’s words remind me of my humanity, and cement yours—we must all work together, with each other, for each other, to make this world a better place. At Impact, we were asked, what makes your heart sing?
So tell me, what makes your heart sing?