Monash MBA Students Pitch Big Idea To Support Melbourne’s African Community

From left – Nibrass Hassan, Xiaoyu Yang, Irimiya Arigu Emmanuel and Ahmed Gamal Elshiekh

Fuelled by a desire to utilise business teachings for the good of humanity, a group of Monash Business School MBA students have pitched a prize-winning social initiative to combat the negative portrayal of “African gangs” in Melbourne.

The initiative is a social entrepreneurship designed to facilitate sustainable businesses for African youth and provide an accelerated business mentorship for Melbourne’s African community.

It will teach students the ins-and-outs of social business and entrepreneurship, open to students studying within Monash’s Arts, Law, Business, Education, Art, Design and Architecture disciplines. Students will also learn about the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and develop solutions via innovative social business ideas.

The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

It was devised by second-year MBA student Ahmed Gamal Elshiekh and first-year MBA student Nibrass Hassan, along with team mates Irimiya Arigu Emmanuel (Management PhD) and Xiaoyu Yang (Law).

Mr Elshiekh said his team’s idea was inspired by his African background and the media portrayal of an ‘African youth gang’ problem in Melbourne.

However, he said he credits the Monash MBA program for their success.

“As part of the program, Professor Rod Glover from the Monash Sustainable Development Institute talked to us about the obligation we have to change the world and inspired us to enter this competition.

“The Monash MBA program has opened so many doors for me, in terms of opportunities and contacts,” he said.

The initiative was declared a prize-winning social program pitch at an event held in October, where teams worked through principles of entrepreneurship, prototyping, team-building and future business planning to build up to the final pitch, held in front of front of a panel of three judges.

Mr Elshiekh’s team will receive $10,000 worth of start-up grants and mentoring opportunities to bring their idea to fruition, along with two other winning teams from Monash University.

“To win this is really validation of what we’ve been already doing,” Mr Elshiekh said.

“Currently we are working with a community member to develop a kick-starter platform within the African community to fund and micro finance new projects.”

The event was the culmination of two months of workshops to hone a social business idea as part of the ‘Leave No one Behind’ program run by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

‘Leave No one Behind’ is a social entrepreneurship designed to teach students the ins-and-outs of social business and entrepreneurship, open to students studying within Monash’s Arts, Law, Business, Education, Art, Design and Architecture disciplines.

Monash MBA Director Dr Paul Collier said the program was designed to open minds to a whole new way of looking at the world.

“It was absolutely fantastic to see our students engage with a significant social problem and apply their learning in such a positive way to really make a difference,” he said.

All three teams will now go on to compete in the national ‘The Big Issue – The Big Idea’ competition, sponsored by PwC.

Greg Peake has been a journalist since 2010 and has covered stories for a range of industries like local government, sport, development and education. Greg joined MBA News in 2016.

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