How can startups contribute to society? – Learn Business through startup stories 

“The role of creativity in social entrepreneurship is to find solutions to existing problems in your life. Successful projects are a balance between business goals and positive impacts on the community” – Mr. Maarten Tak shared with Swinburne Vietnam students in the sharing event with the theme “How can startups contribute to society?

The sharing session is part of the Industry Link series of activities – Cross-border learning with leading experts and professors organized by Swinburne Vietnam to give students practical experiences.

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Social Entrepreneurship – Social Entrepreneurship – is the concept of applying innovations according to market trends and solving the root of social and environmental problems. (Image: One Step Ahead)

Social Entrepreneurship – social entrepreneurship – is the orientation of applying creative methods following trends from the market to solve the roots of social and environmental problems. The goal of these social enterprises, in addition to creating economic value for themselves, is also to bring about systemic change and provide sustainable solutions to the community. In this sharing session, Mr. Maarten connected students with social entrepreneurs in Vietnam and Belgium in the hope of encouraging them to explore and be creative with business ideas and find solutions. solve community problems.

TONTOTON – Rescue “orphaned plastic” in Vietnam

It is estimated that each year, Vietnam generates more than 1.8 million tons of plastic waste, but only 27% of it is recycled (Thanh Nien Newspaper, 2019). In particular, packaging and disposable plastic items are not recycled because plastic waste collectors often ignore them because of their low value. These plastics are known as “orphaned plastics” and will eventually end up as ocean waste, threatening marine life.

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TONTOTON, a plastic neutralization solution towards the goal of “win both ways” – Good for the environment, for businesses, for society

Faced with this situation, Mr. Barak Ekshtein and his colleagues developed the TONTOTON project to call on businesses to solve environmental problems together. TONTOTON is looking for businesses that want to reduce their “plastic footprint” and collect orphaned plastic along the coast of Vietnam equivalent to their plastic waste and convert it into burning energy for production. cement. “We aim at Win – Win – Win (win-win). No model can last long without providing economic value. TONTOTON contributes to cleaning the marine environment, uses local labor to promote the economy, brings CSR solutions to businesses in return for sufficient revenue for project operation.” – Mr. Ekshtein shared.

Urban Circular Space – Start small for a big picture

During her studies at Swinburne Australia, Ms. Ha Phung had a 5-month exchange period in Japan, and this was also an opportunity for her to develop her startup project. “I was surprised that even on the empty streets of Japan, it only takes a few steps to see a second-hand shop. It was the sense of recycling in a developed country like this that inspired me to found Urban Circular Space.”

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UCS hopes to be the pioneer voice to help Vietnamese consumers be more conscious in shopping and recycling.

UCS is a thrift store with three mottos: Reduce – Reuse – Shop minus waste. With the “old people – new people” model, customers can give or exchange their old but still good items for other store products. “I am happy to see more and more people embracing the recycling model like UCS, especially in the face of the current fast fashion that is destroying the environment. UCS is a minor project compared to big brands like Zara, HM. But we are proud to be one of the pioneering organizations in Vietnam to encourage people to change their consumption habits in fashion.”

Bao Living – Minimal living style in Western European

Tight land and crowded people are the reasons why big cities in Europe become crowded and increasingly expensive. Over the years, the cost of living in developed countries like Belgium has risen to 75%, and most of this cost has been spent on rent and home repairs. Tired of living in cramped and run-down houses, Axel Vanderdonk and a group of his friends, engineers, and architects founded Bao Living with the desire to improve the construction industry in Belgium.

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Bao Living hopes to bring a breakthrough in a traditional industry like construction in Belgium.

Bao Living aims at an economical and efficient construction solution thanks to pre-designed modules that are easily assembled into fully furnished homes. Depending on the needs, customers will choose available modules such as kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, bedrooms, … and assemble them into a complete living space for themselves. These modules help to save the maximum cost and operating time because they are pre-manufactured with Bao Living’s reputable contractors. In addition, the minimalist and modern Western European design style will create a more spacious feeling for small spaces in the city. “If you see a problem with the way society works, find a solution to it. We were just young people who wanted to solve the housing problem in Antwerp, and when we did, we had some success. So do not hesitate to give it a try.”

Sustainable social entrepreneurship is a balance between business and value to the community

Mr. Maarten hopes that through the sharing session from startup owners, students will not only have a realistic view of entrepreneurship but also be inspired to find solutions to problems in everyday life. From the stories shared by the guests, you understand that for a social startup idea to be sustainable, businesses need to have a balance between the economy and the values ​​it brings to the community.

Le Ha Anh, a sophomore student of Business, shared: “I find these lectures with guests very useful. We heard from people in the industry about their business development, difficulties, and opportunities to succeed. For me, these shares greatly support the application of our knowledge in practice.”

Are you interested in business training methods at Swinburne Vietnam? Do you want to study in an environment that encourages creativity and change for the better? Immediately contact Swinburne Vietnam at 0387 148 555 for more advice and explore the school programs!