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MyCQU - The Big Idea

The Big Idea

At CQUniversity, social innovation is at the core of our strategic vision and for many years has been entrenched in our core values. CQUniversity strives to empower its students to make a difference, create an impact and influence the world in which we live, for the betterment of society.

The Big Idea competition is an opportunity for you to engage in social innovation in a practical way.

The Big Issue is Australia’s longest standing and most significant social enterprise. The Big Issue runs a national competition at participating universities – The Big Idea – inviting students to develop a concept and business plan for a social enterprise or a social business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Big Idea?

During Term 2, students work in teams to identify a social issue that affects a group, or groups of Australians. You’ll research the issue, think about possible creative solutions, and develop a business plan with the aim of addressing the issue. Student groups then present their business plan to a panel of judges with the goal of creating the next Big Idea. The winning national team receives great prizes including the chance to work with social entrepreneurs to further develop their idea.

Who can participate?

Undergraduate and postgraduate students can compete – there are two streams running in the competition so you’ll compete against students at the same level as you.

Are there any prizes for this competition?

The Big Issue offers a prize to the winning team of an Apple iPad for each member as well as being fast tracked to the final stage of the PwC Graduate program.

Can CQUni Help me find a team?

Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to coordinate the formation of teams, but if you have an idea you can work on it as an individual. Once you register you will also be given access to CQUni’s Big Idea Moodle page where you can chat to other students and try to find teammates.

What commitments are there if I register?

You are free to drop out any time after registering. The first deadline for the competition is August 7 when all teams must submit an idea brief. If you are unable to complete this brief you will automatically drop from the competition.

I am interested but don’t have an idea – what should I do?

If you don’t have an idea but you are interested in participating in the competition, we encourage you to get a team together and register your interest. By registering your interest you will gain access to a range of materials that may help you develop an idea suitable for the competition.

What support will I get from CQUni?

CQUni provides advice through online and face-to-face sessions to assist you in developing your idea as well as an online portal to connect with other innovators. Once your brief is submitted on 7 August, our program managers will work with your team to refine your proposal.

Can I participate while studying online?

Yes, absolutely. Each year we have really successful teams work together completely online and by phone. CQUniversity has great technology solutions to assist you with collaborative work online.

When does the competition take place?

Most of the competition preparation is undertaken during Term 2 with the judging to occur later in the year.

Do I really have a chance of winning?

CQU has participated in the Big Idea competition since 2014 and our students developed winning pitches on temporary housing solutions, employment through community gardens and support for people with mobility challenges. There’s no reason your idea can’t be the next one on this list of CQUni success stories!

How do I register?

To register, visit the Register Now link at the bottom of this web page.

Have a question we didn't answer? Email us at

Past winners

2014 Winning Undergraduate Team

In 2014, CQUniversity entered The Big Idea for the first time and took out first prize in this national competition with The Shelter Project by Angus Hughes, Jessica Kahl and Mattison Rose. Read more about their amazing project.

Read more

2015 Winning Postgraduate Team

In 2015, CQUniversity entered The Big Idea and our students Elisha Vlaholias and Tessa Beneviste won the postgraduate division with their entry The Garden of Earthly Delights. Read more about this fascinating project.

Read more

2017 Winner in Undergraduate category

In 2017, CQUni student Chelsea Xu was joint-winner in the undergraduate category with the A-Tech-You project.

Read more

The Big Idea 2020

Do you have the next big idea?