Why We Love Our Social Entrepreneurship Program (And You Should, Too!)

Almost 18 months after we were awarded a $5000 grant from the University of Melbourne and after months and months of preparation, Cards for a Cause was finally able to host our long-awaited Social Entrepreneurship Discovery Program!

What is the Social Entrepreneurship Discovery Program?

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Just briefly, the SEDP is a three-day workshop introducing 35 disadvantaged high school students in Melbourne to the world of social entrepreneurship. Through the program, we wanted to help students develop their transferable skills, whether it be public speaking or working in a team. And ultimately, we wanted to empower them with a growth mindset and the firm self-belief that they are capable of creating a positive impact within their community.

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So over the course of three days, we exposed them to all the different aspects of social entrepreneurship: from defining the problem and ideating potential solutions, to developing a business plan and pitching their idea in front of a judging panel. All of the skills they learned in Day 1 and 2 were consolidated in our final-day PitchFest, where in groups, they had to develop and pitch a business idea tackling at least one UN Sustainable Development Goal.

Speaking on behalf of all of the volunteers, we were thoroughly impressed with how polished and well-developed their final product and presentations were. Not only that, but the students’ attitude and willingness to push themselves outside of their comfort zone over the 3 days was amazing to witness. 

Winning Team: MEDI

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I’d like to give a special shout-out to the winning team. Deciding to tackle SDG no. 3 - good health and well-being, they chose to focus on the issue of migrants’ lack of understanding of the Australian healthcare system. Their app-based solution, MEDI, would allow people who have only recently arrived in Australia, particularly those of a different cultural background, to get accustomed to our healthcare system. They realised how intimidated and confused many migrants would feel. And so through interactive courses and videos explaining information and processes that most of us take for granted, such as how to book an appointment or common procedures one can expect during a visit to a hospital, they hoped to help migrants feel more comfortable. This is just one example of the quality of project ideas that the students were able to come up with.

After months and months of hard work creating content, contacting schools and whatnot, as well as many late nights spent stressing over venue hire and catering, it was incredibly satisfying to see what a success the program turned out to be. Being able to witness how much confidence they gained over the course of only 3 days and knowing that you played a part in it, was an extremely rewarding experience.

Below are just some of the wonderful feedback we received from students:

“The program was an amazing experience. It was the first time I’ve learnt about social entrepreneurship yet I have an in-depth understanding of it. The volunteers and students participating in the program were very nice and welcoming.” - Skye
“I really enjoyed the program. It helped me get out of my comfort zone. I liked how we had to work in teams because I usually like to work independently. The ice breakers were a great way to start off the program. The majority of teachers/volunteers were welcoming and I liked how they went out of their way for the students.” - Natalie
“I enjoyed the program thoroughly as the volunteers made all of the students feel welcome, I'm sure many of us appreciated that a lot. I loved getting to know the other students and interacting with them, as well as participating in team building activities throughout the day. Lunch at the park was really fun and it was nice to explore the campus and just look around. Overall I think this is an awesome program run by amazing people, and I hope you guys continue to run it to teach other students about social entrepreneurship.” - Grace
And parents:
“What an amazing opportunity for smaller schools to be involved and get exposure to programs that impact their generation and beyond. It has helped inspire and educate my daughter regarding Social Entrepreneurship. The leaders and volunteers who have organised the program did an amazing job in being able to fit as much information as they did. Thank you!” - Inge
“I enjoyed Chanel coming home every night informing me of the activities and tasks that were given. It was a real joy to see her happy and enthusiastic when describing to me the things she learnt, the fact that she got up and did public speaking and problem solving with total strangers made myself and her dad very proud, because she can be a shy young lady most of the time. Thank you for organising and sharing this amazing program and allowing my daughter to be part of it.” - Linda
“The program was a good experience for my daughter to learn about social entrepreneurship and it really gave a different insight into what social entrepreneurs are and do for society. It also pushed her to be more social and meet new people.” - Nory
“The program was a good experience and learning opportunity for the kids. The things learnt during the program might not necessarily be explored in depth through the school curriculum, so overall I am pleased that they could learn something new and apply it to real life.” - Kim

The SEDP has been one of our best impact initiatives to date, and we’re definitely looking to continue the program next year to include even more students and potentially make it longer as well. Regardless, we’re excited to see how far we can take it in the future!

Author: Nicole Tjahyadi, Program Coordinator

Stay tuned for more! In the mean time, follow us on Instagram @cardsforacause.au and LinkedIn.

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