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Swinburne alumnus to attend youth summit

Date posted: Monday 21 May 2012

Swinburne alumnus to attend youth summit

Young entrepreneur and Swinburne product design engineering graduate Aaron McNeilly has been accepted to attend the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit (G20 YES) in Mexico, from 2-5 June 2012.

G20 YES is a gathering of young entrepreneurs and the organisations they represent to network and discuss the policy and regulatory changes needed to foster entrepreneurship in the G20 countries.

The event has over 500 delegates from the G20 nations and some guest nations attending as well. Aaron said he was honoured to be part of the 14-member delegation from Australia.

His formative experiences growing up on a 300-acre beef farm in northern Victoria inspired a passion to make a real difference in the world. His parents were forced to sell their property during a long drought.

"My family ended up selling the farm because it was no longer a viable enterprise due to prevailing conditions. It made me want to do whatever I could as part of my career to ensure I would make a positive impact for the environment, and within engineering," Aaron said.

He went on to complete a Bachelor of Product Design Engineering (Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Sustainability at Swinburne University of Technology, winning the $3,000 Sir Edward Dunlop Scholarship in 2011 for outstanding academic results and community service.

The funds underwrote his participation in an international project in Medellin, Colombia, where locally-sourced materials like ceramics were used to design and build playground equipment for developing communities around the Antioquia region.

"Hardly anyone spoke English but we were still able to communicate through illustration and design, and the skill set Swinburne built up in me.

"South America was a critical experience. I learnt that a small change here can have a big impact overseas,'' he said.

Aaron is also a board member of Help Us Grow. The non-profit HUG supports sustainable community developments in the rural villages of Uganda, such as the development of a healthcare centre and building self-sufficiency through the selling of hand-crafts locally and overseas.

His gap year experience working in the packaging department of fruit and vegetable processing company SPC, a subsequent scholarship to Germany and his studies, drove Aaron to begin a start-up company with a fellow graduate designing and manufacturing sustainable products that cater to a number of niche markets.

"I believe my education, experience in social enterprises and my passion to create sustainable change to empower the greater good in the world, is why I have been chosen to be part of the Australian delegation."

For more information about the delegation contact Aaron on 0408 318 025 or email:





Lea Kivivali
Department: Corporate and Government Affairs
Phone: +61 3 9214 5428
Mobile Phone: 0410 569 311


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