It’s the challenge of many social entrepreneurs. How do you take your great idea and turn it into a viable business model?
Myanmar student Wah Wah Aye Khine spent last week at Macquarie finding out.
As a prize-winner in the Mekong Challenge – a competition for aspiring entrepreneurs in South East Asia – Wah Wah was awarded a trip to Sydney to learn from experts at Macquarie University as well as senior Australian business leaders.
Wah Wah’s business Make World Green is a social enterprise geared towards providing clean water and sustainable energy in developing countries.
“Our first project is to provide low cost water filters to the people of Myanmar and other developing countries,” Wah Wah explains.
“Most water filters in Myanmar are imported from other countries, making them quite expensive. We created a smaller version using local materials and labour to reduce the cost, while still conforming to international standards.”
After a busy week of one-on-one mentoring, Wah Wah says she is leaving with valuable new knowledge she can apply to her business.
“I was very lucky and honoured to come to Macquarie and meet with academic experts and business professionals,” she says.
“It was a great privilege to meet people like Debbie Haski-Leventhal, director of Macquarie’s Master of Social Entrepreneurship program, Dr Sean Turnell, one of the world’s foremost economic experts on Burma, and Dr Ross Gordon who talked with me about new ideas surrounding social enterprise and sustainability.”
“It was also great to see how involved the students are at Macquarie, both socially and academically,” she adds.
Looking to the future, Wah Wah envisages a world in which developing nations take development into their own hands and pioneer a new cultural shift.
“Our goal is to join with international partners who can help deliver our technology to those that need it,” she says. “Because this is not just for Myanmar, this is global.”
Macquarie is proud to partner with the National Australia Bank to sponsor the Mekong Challenge Leadership Award. Applications for the 2016 Mekong Challenge close November 1, 2015.