La Trobe Business School dreams big

La Trobe University is proud to be partnering with one of the winners of My Big Idea to bring their concepts of a Seniors Enterprise Centre and Over-55 Start-up Group to life.

My Big Idea is a nationwide citizen-led ideas competition, which is focused on creating positive change for Australia. The competition has been driven by the Australian Futures Project, supported by La Trobe.

Ten winners have been announced from the 100 finalists and 1300 ideas submitted by regular Australians wanting to address specific challenges facing our nation.

A dedicated team from La Trobe’s Business School will be incubating the ideas proposed by Doug Jacquier from South Australia and Steve Oesterreich from New South Wales to develop concepts for a Seniors Enterprise Centre and over-55 Start-Up Group.

La Trobe Business School’s Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr Alex Maritz said La Trobe is proud to be involved with My Big Idea winners, and the incubation team is looking forward to realising the big dreams of budding senior entrepreneurs.

“We have the unique ability at La Trobe to integrate this project into the entrepreneurship courses we offer, as well as the communities in which we engage, notwithstanding our expertise in the development of entrepreneurship and innovation in the greater Melbourne and Victoria northern corridor,” Dr Maritz said.

“This concept is a great way to encourage the creation of jobs for the over 55’s, rather than requiring them to seek employment.”

“The project brings together the expertise of not only Professors but La Trobe students and other industry partners.”

Federal Minister for Innovation Greg Hunt said My Big Idea was about shaping the future of Australia through a nationwide competition.

“Innovation and science in particular are fundamental to Australia’s future prosperity and quality of life. It touches all our lives,” Mr Hunt said.

La Trobe Business School will also be hosting a Start-up Bootcamp on 8 October 2016, whereby the incubation team will deliver on the My Big Idea promise to train 500 Australians to be positive change makers.

As an academic community, what can we add to these ten Big Ideas?

If you have ideas or insights, or would be interested in getting involved in the development of any of the ten ideas, please contact Sally Fawkes ( or Alisia Romanin (

List of winners:

A Household Wellbeing Index, by David Week (Victoria)

Incubator: Australian Futures Project

Commission a consortium of universities to design, compile, analyse and then regularly report on the way in which government policies and actions affect these channels of influence to make households better or worse off, against a well-founded framework for wellbeing. This could be used to inform public debate and guide governments and other stakeholders in policy decisions.

Government Data: Open by Design, by Kathy Reid (Victoria)

Incubator: Amazon Web Services

Build a Government Open Data standard to unlock the POWER OF DATA! Through legislated data standards at all levels of government, this rich data would become available and open for all citizens to use. Imagine if government departments created, stored and published datasets in the same standard way. They could be easily reuse, compared, brought together to create new insights, and their value better 'unlocked'.

Widows Are Not On Their Own, by Johanna Parker (ACT)

Incubator: AT Kearney

Develop a platform that supports widows and widowers to negotiate the minefield that is changing their life back into their name – sorting out bank accounts, pensions, bills. It would explain exactly what to do for individuals and also provide advice to organisations.

Teaching Young People Life Admin, by Kenny Chy (Victoria)

Incubator: Foundation for Young Australians

Teach young people life admin - how to apply for rental properties, how to do their taxes, apply for a visa, what a mortgage is, what being an adult means, how to be a good parent – the list goes on. Ideally this would be a subject a high school.

Seniors Enterprise Centre and Over-55 Start-Up Business Group by Doug Jacquier (South Australia) and Steve Oesterreich (NSW)

Incubator: La Trobe University

Two ideas merged — Develop centres specifically focused on building the business skill-set of elderly Australians wanting to start a small business. These centres would also support in aggregating skill sets to bid for contracts, providing labour hire services, and funding internships in the private and social sectors. Establish a free community group to bring together over 55s and grant them seed money to start a new business.

Donations Made Simple, by John Pashley (NSW)

Incubator: Macquarie

Create a mobile phone application that rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically donates the change to a charity of choice (or even allows you to make regular donations). At an individual level you will not miss the change, however, at scale when pooled across the country it could make a massive difference to those in need. In addition to this, when it is time to pay tax it would make it easy to claim tax.

Food Groups: Healthy Eating Communities for Families, by Tambelin Boykin (NSW)

Incubator: News Corp Australia

Use online tools and the existing network of mothers groups and playgroups to join families together to encourage and support each other in developing healthy eating habits. Group members can support each other to overcome the challenges of eating healthily by using the online platform to share recipes, form co-ops to buy healthy food cheaply, or organise to batch-cook together to save time (and money).

PROTEGO (Proactive Technology For Elderly On The Go), by Dhruv Verma (Victoria)

Incubator: University of New South Wales

PROTEGO is a simple, cost-effective idea that monitors the movements of elderly people in their own homes so that they can live safely and independently without the need to stay in a nursing home or with the family. If there is no movement for a certain period of time it will send a notification to family members, alerting them.

In The Know: Helping Australian Minds Age Healthily, by Brett Grainger (Western Australia)

Incubator: University of Technology Sydney

Crowdsource knowledge through an online platform that connects those who desire to learn something or undertake a particular project, with those that know all about it – those in the know. This would also encourage youth to engage in a positive manner with the older population, especially in their local community.

Deadly exChange, by Silvia Liertz (ACT)

Incubator: Virgin Australia

‘Deadly’ is an Aboriginal colloquialism for ‘fantastic’, ‘great’ or ‘awesome’. DEADLY exCHANGE will give Indigenous Australians living in remote communities the opportunity to shadow a mentor in a metropolitan area. Mentors will need to get to know the participant by spending time in their remote community and participants will be carefully selected and matched based on their life experience and interests. This programs seeks to build the social capital Indigenous people need to prosper through a peer-to-peer platform.