Swinburne Master of Design student Luke Ebert has been named as a postgraduate finalist in The Big Idea competition run by The Big Issue.
The Big Idea competition challenges university students across the country to develop a concept and business plan for a social enterprise idea.
Mr Ebert’s big idea is an Indigenous food truck that will operate around Melbourne, working specifically with Indigenous Australian youth who have been through state protective care services.
After watching some of his Indigenous high-school friends grow up battling racism, violence and identity problems, Mr Ebert was inspired to create something to offer underprivileged indigenous youth opportunities around education and employment.
“The Indigenous Food Truck can offer underprivileged youth the opportunity to take their lives in a positive direction. It gives them the chance to learn professional skills and gain certifications while working and making a living,” Mr Ebert says.
Mr Ebert's plan is to start in Melbourne with one food truck and has high hopes for the social enterprise to spread Australia wide.
Part of the enterprise requires the food truck employees to develop menu ideas based on traditional, local and seasonal ingredients.
Some of the potential menu items may include:
- Murnong (Victorian yam) fries with cherry jam
- Kangaroo burgers with warrigal greens and native currant sauce and
- Fingerlime salad with quandong and native cherry
Throughout the competition, students had access to a range of online and face-to-face sessions with members of The Big Issue management team, many of who have experience within social enterprises.
Sellers of The Big Issue are also employed as guest speakers for The Big Idea to share their stories of hardship and marginalisation with the students.
Mr Ebert had the opportunity to enter The Big Idea competition as part of the Design Strategy in a Global Context, a new unit at Swinburne, with an Indigenous focus.
Unit convenor, Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek, says she is particularly proud of Mr Ebert's project and the time he spent developing the idea.
“I believe that Luke’s project was chosen because it is highly innovative, deeply authentic and driven by his own personal experiences.
“Luke grew up in Monbulk, with many Indigenous friends who did not have access to the same opportunities.”
On the 29 November, Luke and the other finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their Big Idea to a distinguished panel of judges including the CEO of The Big Issue and various ambassadors for social enterprise. Luke's tutor Nicola St John will also be supporting him at the event.
“It would be amazing if we could turn this concept into a functioning social enterprise, but time will tell,” says Luke.
Winners will be announced on 30 November 2016.