Swinburne University of Technology has announced the three winners of its third annual Swinburne Alumni Impact Awards, which recognises the exceptional impact our alumni are making in the world.
The winners of this year’s awards are co-founder of the environmentally friendly memobottle, Jesse Leeworthy, co-founder of education technology startup HEX, Jaclyn Benstead, and founder of Vietnam-based social enterprise HopeBox, Huong Dang.
Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester, who spoke at the awards ceremony, said each of the winners embody Swinburne’s vision of bringing people and technology together to build a better world.
“They are extraordinary leaders who are displaying entrepreneurial innovation and a desire to make the world a better place,” she said.
“Swinburne is truly fortunate to count these bright and passionate leaders as our alumni.”
Meet the winners
Jesse Leeworthy – Innovative Planet Impact Award
This award is for a Swinburne alum whose exceptional endeavour has resulted in significant impact in environmental sustainability.
Jesse is a product engineering alum and Director and co-founder of memobottle™, a slim, reusable water bottle created to address the disastrous environmental impact from single-use water bottle consumption.
Jaclyn Benstead – Technology Innovation Impact Award
This award is for a Swinburne alum who has made significant impact through technology and entrepreneurial innovation.
Jaclyn is the co-founder of Australia-based education technology startup, HEX, which delivers innovation and entrepreneurship programs to the next generation of talent that are immersive, up-to-date, and based in the real world.
Huong Dang – 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.
Huong is a social entrepreneur and founder of HopeBox, the first social enterprise based in Vietnam for victims and survivors of gender-based violence. HopeBox provides a six-month training course in baking, alongside trauma healing and life skills programs, a stipend and safe accommodation.
Meet the finalists
Innovative Planet Impact Award finalists
Cameron is the 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.
Manon is the founder and CEO of Little Green Panda, a startup on a mission to combat the single-use plastic crisis through ethically sourced and produced products such as straws and cups.
Technology Innovation Impact Award finalists
Matthew is the CEO of Nirtek, a spin-off company originating at Swinburne that kas developed a world-first medical device able to identify those at highest risk of a heart attack by using near infrared laser technology.
Vaughan is an expert in eCommerce and omni-shopping and has worked with leading consumer intelligence companies, Nielsen IQ, for more than 20 years helping companies succeed in the digital commerce world.
George and Ethel Swinburne Social Impact Award finalists
Michal has worked across diverse communities, sectors and government to deliver improved health and wellbeing outcomes for people, with a focus on migrant and refugee communities. She was recently inducted into the 2022 Victorian Women’s Honour Roll.
Thuy 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.
Images from the Alumni Impact Awards 2023 can be viewed online