Swinburne University of Technology has announced the finalists for the 2023 Alumni Impact Awards, which celebrate exceptional and entrepreneurial alumni who are helping to build a better world.
The nine finalists have been recognised for their profound impact in the areas of technology innovation, environmental sustainability and social impact.
The winners will be announced at the Alumni Impact Awards in October.
Meet the finalists
The 2023 finalists are making a positive impact across diverse areas such as medical technology, online education, social enterprise and environmental sustainability.
The Technology Innovation Impact Award
This award is for a Swinburne alum who has made significant impact through technology and entrepreneurial innovation.
Swinburne alumni Matthew Hoskin, Jaclyn Benstead and Vaughan Ryan exemplify Swinburne's vision of people and technology working together to build a better world.
Matthew Hoskin is the CEO of Nirtek, a spin-off company originating at Swinburne. Nirtek has developed a world-first medical device able to identify those at highest risk of a heart attack by using near infrared laser technology to detect unstable coronary plaques. Matthew has more than 30 years’ experience in clinical cardiology and managing businesses in the healthcare, medtech and biotech sectors.
Jaclyn Benstead is the co-founder of Australian-based education technology startup, HEX, which delivers immersive, real-world and university-accredited innovation and entrepreneurship programs to the next generation of talent. HEX’s flagship digital innovation course, HEX Ed, is an online innovation program co-designed with industry partner Atlassian.
Vaughan Ryan is an expert in eCommerce and omni-shopping and has worked with one of the world’s leading consumer intelligence companies, Nielsen IQ, for more than 20 years. During that time, he has guided manufacturers and retailers across the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the US and Canada to succeed in the digital commerce world by understanding what their customers want.
The George and Ethel Swinburne Social Impact Award
This award is for a Swinburne alum who has demonstrated Swinburne’s passion for providing opportunities for all, irrespective of wealth, privilege, age, gender or race, making a real difference to the world we live in.
Swinburne alumni Huong Dang, Michal Morris and Thuy Nguyen embody Swinburne's founding principles of social equity.
Huong Dang is a social entrepreneur and founder of HopeBox, a social enterprise based in Vietnam that empowers victims of domestic violence and helps lift them out of volatile situations through training, employment, healing and life skills programs and safe accommodation.
Michal Morris is the former CEO of inTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence in Victoria. For more than 20 years, Michal has worked across diverse communities, sectors and government to deliver improved health and wellbeing outcomes, with a focus on migrant and refugee communities. She was recently inducted into the 2022 Victorian Women’s Honour Roll.
Thuy Nguyen is the founder and CEO of Bobi Craft, a Vietnam-based toy company whose mission is to empower women and create jobs for disadvantaged communities while creating unique handmade children’s products from organic materials. Beginning with 10 employees, Bobi Craft now provides stable employment for around 450 people including many women, farmers and the vision impaired.
The Innovative Planet Impact Award
This award is for a Swinburne alum whose exceptional endeavour has resulted in significant impact in environmental sustainability.
Swinburne alumni Cameron McKenzie, Jesse Leeworthy and Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu are leading innovative startups that are creating a more sustainable world.
Cameron McKenzie is CEO of ASPIRE (Advisory System for Process Innovation and Resource Exchange), an online marketplace that matches businesses with remanufacturers, purchasers and recyclers of waste materials. The idea behind ASPIRE is to provide businesses with a cheaper and more sustainable option than landfill for their waste.
Product engineering alum Jesse Leeworthy is the Director and co-founder of memobottle - a slim, reusable water bottle created to address the negative environmental impact from single-use water bottle consumption. After launching in 2014 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, memobottle is now a global business that ships to over 70 countries a month.
Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu is the founder and CEO of Little Green Panda, a startup on a mission to combat the single-use plastic crisis. Little Green Panda’s first venture was ethically sourced and sustainably produced straws made from agricultural waste and handcrafted by female farming communities in remote areas around the world such as Vietnam and Mongolia. The straws are now supplied to hundreds of businesses and individuals worldwide.