Last weekend, I was one of ten fortunate QUT students to attend the Impact Social Enterprise Conference. The Impact Conference is an event aiming to spread awareness of social enterprise and develop the ideas of young social entrepreneurs. Being a socially aware business student, it was fantastic to be put in a position with so many similar, forward thinking students to grow and develop ideas.
The Impact conference featured a host of highly regarded entrepreneurs in the industry. Speakers gave insight to their experiences in building and developing their ventures, giving conference goers the opportunity to learn from the current breed of social change makers.
My keynote speaker highlights included:
Lauren stepped us through her experiences developing Words with Heart – an eco-friendly stationery and printery social enterprise which funds women’s and girl’s education projects. She highlighted the importance of constantly reviewing her business model, and how she has learnt to deal with failure. Manita reiterated what Lauren had to say, adding her own experiences with Pollinate Energy. She spoke about how important consulting with the social groups you’re trying to impact is to best achieve outcomes for those demographics.
Damien from Water3 gave the conference an extremely practical explanation of how his social enterprise works. Damien spoke at depth about how Water3’s revenue is re-allocated, and the net social benefit those earnings are able to deliver as a result. A point Damien made that resonated with me, was that all business’ have the capacity to be socially ethical and that they don’t need to be classified as a social enterprise to make that impact. Essentially, the scope to make change as a 21st century business is not limited to social enterprises.
Finally, the conference culminated with the presentation of each group’s social enterprise pitch. Groups worked across the weekend to develop their idea, and refine their business model to pitch to a panel of judges. The creativity and ingenuity of the presentations were fantastic, generating practical business solutions to social problems both domestically and abroad. The winners of the pitch, featuring two QUT students, won ongoing weekly consultations with Jock Fair from Little Tokyo Two, and also workshops with Jess Blomfield from Sphera Consulting.
Attending this conference was thought-provoking and engaging. Each of the presenters gave a unique insight into their own experiences with social enterprise, delivering perspectives I had never considered. Thank you to Impact for putting together such a fantastic event, and to the QUT Business School for the opportunity to attend.