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Watch: How solving social problems can inspire your business career

This article was first published on Nest, a haven of new ideas for people who are all kinds of clever. Read the original article.

Amid claims that narcissism is on the rise, the ability to practise empathy is fast becoming a stand-out career skill. And according to Rafiuddin Ahmed, a PhD candidate researching social business and innovation at La Trobe University, it’s a skill you’re never too young to learn.

In partnership with his supervisor, Professor Gillian Sullivan Mort, Rafiuddin has founded a start-up to teach social entrepreneurship to children aged 8–12. The weekly lessons combine ‘active compassion’ with basic business marketing. Children are introduced to social issues, like poverty in other parts of the world, and learn how to do something practical in response to the moral outrage they feel.

If you’re passionate about making a positive social impact through your career, watch our video to discover how social business has inspired Rafiuddin to become an ethical entrepreneur.

Start your social business with a Master of Management (Entrepreneurship and Innovation) at La Trobe University.

National Innovation Forum: Call for Best Practice Case Studies


For more information on the forthcoming LBS Northlink National Innovation Forum, see the conference website.

The focus of the LBS/NORTH Link National Innovation Forum is on delivering international and national speakers, and case studies, of successful university-industry collaboration, including examples of business incubators and accelerators. It is an opportunity to engage with industry and government perspectives on how we can continue to improve university-industry interactions and engagement, particularly for startups and SMEs in the Australian context.

We are now calling for case studies on the themes of the Forum. Case studies will be reviewed by the Forum academic panel, and those accepted will be made available to Forum participants. The best two case studies will be selected for presentation in a session at the Forum.

The deadline for submissions of abstracts is Monday 28 August 2017. A template is available via the corresponding Eventbrite page. Please submit the case studies through the online submission form.

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Marjoribanks.

Forum Themes

  • The role of incubators, accelerators and TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) in facilitating sustained university-industry innovation and engaging startups and SMEs
  • Understanding the global forces shaping opportunities for business innovation (including for startups and SMEs) over the coming decade
  • Business perspectives on enablers and barriers to university-industry collaboration
  • Developing innovative ecosystems and facilitating their leadership and coordination
  • Regulation and legal framework of the innovation ecosystem (patent law, licensing, federal and state jurisdictions and university policies)
  • The economic, political and societal framework in which businesses and universities operate (incentives, competitiveness, regulation, competition policy, innovation and technology policy)

Important dates

  • Monday 28 August for case study submissions
  • Friday 1 September acceptance notification to successful authors
  • 27/28 September National Innovation Forum

Background

The Federal Government flagged innovation in Australia as a major policy focus with its $1.1 billion National Science and Innovation Agenda in November 2015. A central element of the statement was to substantially increase university-industry collaboration on the basis that such alliances have become a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, dealing with the speed of transformation, and economic disruption. The statement also recognised that Australia lags behind university-industry partnerships internationally and in translating research into commercial outcomes (i.e. innovation efficiency).

 

Professor Muhammad Yunus’s visit to the LBS Yunus Centre to be broadcast on Channel 31 on July 24th!

On 7 April 2017, Professor Muhammad Yunus visited La Trobe University. In a ceremony held at La Trobe’s Hoogenraad Lecture Theatre, Professor Yunus received an Honorary Doctorate from Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar and officially opened the Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School.

On 24 July 2017 at 8.30pm, a recording of this significant honorary doctorate ceremony and address will be broadcast on Channel 31. The ceremony, recorded in two parts, will also be available for streaming on the channel’s online platform, C31 online (available via the Channel 31 website).

The three zeroes         

Professor Muhammad Yunus is widely known for his progressive theories surrounding microcredit and for founding Grameen Bank, an innovative institution which has enabled impoverished entrepreneurs to access an affordable loan scheme and start a business.

Through social business, Professor Dr Yunus has set out to create a world with three zeroes: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emissions through social business. “All humans are entrepreneurs,” Dr Yunus said during his presentation. “If you can think of a problem to solve through a business you can set up that can get five people out of welfare, your effort is already worth it.”

Attendees to the invite-only event included of key stakeholders included the La Trobe Business School staff, members of the business community, stakeholders and collaborators of the LBS Yunus Social Business Centre, and the La Trobe Asia community.

Programme details

Date: 24 July 2017

Programme time: 8.30pm

Platform: Channel 31, on television and online.

National innovation forum: Innovate or Perish?

In a world that is more connected than ever, how can we create sustainable bonds between universities, business and not for profits? All with a view towards creating a more mature innovation culture and ecosystem.

The missing ingredient to growth is the ability to think outside the box – to innovate. For many businesses’ it’s safer inside the box. But when you’re constricted by the four walls of a box you can’t truly grow.

The demands of day to day operations of many SMEs and not-for-profits exclude them from maximising the benefits of innovative. Most are doing everything they can to maximise profits or fundraising, and minimise costs.

Universities, on the other hand, exist outside the normal parameters that can inhibit business growth. As such Universities have the potential to break the walls of the box, let in the light and build the links to create innovative businesses.

This is why, as a nation, Australia must get better at creating meaningful collaboration between universities and business. Such is the need for stronger connections the Federal Government flagged innovation in Australia as a major policy focus with its $1.1 billion National Science and Innovation Agenda in November 2015.

The core principle of the government’s agenda is to make a substantial difference in the numbers of university-industry collaborations. The reason is simple; such alliances have become a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, dealing with the speed of transformation, and economic and technological disruption.

These partnerships allow a business to break free of the confines of everyday operation, and to work with universities to translate ideas into commercial realities.

While Australia lags behind the world in translating research into commercial outcomes university-industry partnerships internationally are being exploited to great effect.

While Australian universities are among the world’s best, when it comes to innovation it’s important to make sure that research, innovation and business are connected. If research is irrelevant to startups, SMEs and not-for-profits it becomes a purely academic exercise.

At the forum international and national business and academic speakers will present case studies of successful university-industry collaboration including examples of business innovation, incubators and accelerators.

Attendees will not only learn what has worked but they will also discover what can be done to improve university-industry interactions and engagement, particularly for startups and SMEs in the Australian context.

A multitude of speakers with wide ranging backgrounds and experience will speak at the conference.

Major themes

  • The role of incubators, accelerators and TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) in engaging startups and SMEs while at the same time connecting those start up and SMEs with university-industry innovation.
  • Global forces shaping opportunities for business (including startups and SMEs) over the coming decade
  • Business perspectives on the opportunities and barriers to university-industry collaboration.
  • Developing environments where innovation can thrive.
  • Regulation and legal framework (patent law, licensing, federal and state jurisdictions and university policies).
  • The economic, political and societal framework in which business and/or universities operate (incentives, competitiveness, regulation, competition policy, innovation and technology policy).

Sessions include

  • Conference evening event with a key note speaker and networking opportunities.
  • International and national academic speakers and case studies on successful approaches to university –industry collaboration with a focus on startups and SMEs. Questions answered will include; what has worked and why? What can be learned from mistakes? What needs to change?
  • Australian business leaders’ perspectives on global challenges and opportunities for innovation and improving industry-university collaboration.
  • The state of Australia’s national innovation system – Australian government perspective, frameworks, opportunities, incentives and challenges.
  • Master Classes on frugal innovation; design thinking and lean start-up principles; and, data analytics and business transformation.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday 27 (afternoon) and all-day Thursday 28 September 2017

Where: La Trobe Business School, located at the Donald Whitehead Building, La Trobe Melbourne Campus, Bundoora Victoria

Register: Please register via this link.

La Trobe Business School Professor shares SeniorPreneur insights on Studio 10 National TV

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz

Recently, La Trobe Business School’s Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz, appeared on Channel 10’s morning show. He shared research outcomes from the recent nbn Silver Economy Report, where he collaborated on research and analysis on a national SeniorPreneur research project.

SeniorPreneurs emerge from retirement

The Silver Economy Report reveals that tech-savvy baby boomers are expected to contribute an additional $ 11.9billion to the Australian GDP in new ventures each year, Insights reveal that SeniorPreneurs are expected to start 14,000 new businesses each year; representing the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurship. 34% of all small businesses are lead by senior entrepreneurs. More than half (54%) of them claim they employ a predominantly online model in their businesses, with 61% of them preferring to upskill online. Be it motivation to create or supplement income (67%), pursue passion projects (58%) or keep mentally stimulated (55%), these tech-savvy boomers are undergoing a new renaissance.

The Silver Economy Report is available online, here.

The Studio 10 TV in-studio interview is available here (Professor Alex Maritz speaks at 1:48).

La Trobe Business School is at the cutting edge of innovation and technology when it comes to offering tech-savvy Entrepreneurship Education courses online. For more information, click here.

Antony Jacobson, Professor of Practice -Entrepreneurship at La Trobe Business School, was a special guest lecturer at St Helena Secondary College, Eltham North

Professor Of Practice Antony Jacobson was invited to address Year 11 students on overcoming innovation challenges on 25 May 2017. This presentation was a follow on to students from St Helena Secondary College attending one of the three VCE Business Forums held by the LBS at La Trobe University in February this year.

In the lecture at St Helena Secondary College, Antony Jacobson explained that disruptive innovation doesn’t only satisfy existing consumer needs.  Rather, such innovation creates new boundaries, horizons, products and services that have not been thought of before. The innovator of today is a pioneer who takes our lives, imagination and our functionality to new and previously unimagined areas.

Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson sparked students’ enthusiasm by stating that, “in the coming years, the world will be focused and enthused by never before seen innovations and we will be reading about the schools and universities these innovative pioneers came from. Never underestimate your own ability, passion and intelligence as a potential disruptive entrepreneur and let’s in the coming years read about the world’s new innovators that have come from St Helena Secondary College and La Trobe University”

Professor of Practice Jacobson will be visiting numerous high schools through the remainder of 2017, addressing students about entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities, and making them aware of the exciting Entrepreneurship and Innovation courses and subject offerings available at La Trobe Business School.

Professor Muhammed Yunus has officially opened the LBS Yunus Centre!


On 7 April 2017, Professor Muhammad Yunus visited La Trobe University. In a ceremony held at La Trobe’s Hoogenraad Lecture Theatre, Professor Yunus received an Honorary Doctorate from Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar.and officially opened the Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School.

Attendees included of key stakeholders including the La Trobe Business School staff, members of the business community, stakeholders and collaborators of the LBS Yunus Social Business Centre, and the La Trobe Asia community.

Professor Muhammad Yunus was welcomed with a song by the three social businessmen: Rafiuddin Ahmed, Marthin Nanere and Petrus Usmanij.

Yunus centres and the three zeroes

During the ceremony, Professor Yunus spoke about social business and ‘unleashing the potential’. Professor Muhammad Yunus is widely known for his progressive theories surrounding microcredit and for founding Grameen Bank, an innovative institution which has enabled impoverished entrepreneurs to access an affordable loan scheme and start a business. Through social business, Professor Dr Yunus has set out to create a world with three zeroes: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emissions through social business. “All humans are entrepreneurs,” Dr Yunus said during his presentation. “If you can think of a problem to solve through a business you can set up that can get five people out of welfare, your effort is already worth it.”

Through Yunus Centres around the world, Professor Yunus wants to encourage young people all over the world to test out their business ideas through a microloan, and create a better society.

7th Social Business Day

From the 28 – 29 July this year, the Dhaka Yunus Centre will be hosting the seventh global Social Business Day, bringing together over 1500 people from over 60 countries. The theme of this year’s Social Business Day will be wealth concentration, and whether this concentration be stopped, and how social business can create a viable business-engine to address the huge wealth gap in society.

For more information on the Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School, see the La Trobe Business School Yunus Centre website.

To be connected with the students Social Business Club, activity and events please join the Facebook page, or see the Social Business Club website.

Contact the Yunus Social Business Centre via email.

For more information on Professor Dr. Muhammad Yunus, keep an eye on the La Trobe Business School blog.

Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Dr. Muhammad Yunus to visit La Trobe Business School: ‘Social Business: unleashing the potential’

Professor Dr Muhammad Yunus signs an MOU with La Trobe Business School in 2014

On 7 April 2017, La Trobe Business School will welcome Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Dr. Muhammad Yunus for an invite-only lecture.Professor Yunus will also be admitted to the La Trobe University degree, Doctor of Letters (honoris causa), conferred by the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar.

Muhammad Yunus is widely known for his progressive theories surrounding microcredit and for founding Grameen Bank, an innovative institution which has enabled impoverished entrepreneurs to access an affordable loan scheme and start a business. Grameen Bank is generally considered to be the first modern microcredit institution ever established, and is an important player with international influence in the industry. In his 2007 book Creating a World without Poverty, Yunus goes beyond microcredit to pioneer the idea of Social Business – a completely new way to use the creative vibrancy of business to tackle social problems from poverty and pollution to inadequate health care and lack of education. Since then, ‘Yunus Centres’ around the globe have served as a one-stop resource centre for all Grameen social business related activities, La Trobe Business School being one of them. Dr. Yunus’ intellect, industry connections and experience will make a significant contribution to La Trobe Business School and the wider La Trobe University and its students, providing them with a unique opportunity to interact with a global thinker from the business world.

In his visit on 7 April 2017, Professor Dr Muhammad Yunus will speak about ‘unleashing the potential.’ This presentation will be about how to make the three zeroes (zero poverty, omissions and unemployment) relating to sustainable development, happen through social business.

Invitations for the Professor Dr Muhammad Yunus have gone out to key stakeholders including the La Trobe Business School scholars and staff, the NorthLink business community, stakeholders and collaborators of the LBS Yunus Social Business Centre, and the La Trobe Asia community.

La Trobe Business School Yunus Social Business Centre

The Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School is the first business school based centre in Australia. Since 2014, the Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School has been working with Professor Dr Muhammad Yunus. In August 2016, the centre ran the first international social business symposium, featuring Dr Andreas Heinecke, the founder of the Dialogue in the Dark Social Business Franchise.  Attendees came from over four different countries.

Professor Dr Muhammad Yunus coincides with the La Trobe Business School Yunus Centre for Social Business moving into a new space at the La Trobe University Melbourne Campus, as part of the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Donald Whitehead Building.

For more information on the Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School, see the La Trobe Business School Yunus Centre website.

To be connected with the students Social Business Club, activity and events please join the Facebook page, or see the Social Business Club website.

Contact the Yunus Social Business Centre via email.

For more information on Professor Dr. Muhammad Yunus, keep an eye on the La Trobe Business School blog.

LBS Associate Professor Vanessa Ratten publishes “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Smart Cities”

Recently, LBS Associate Professor Vanessa Ratten published a new book titled “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Smart Cities.”

The book aims to examine the role that innovation has in creating smart cities by focusing on issues such as public transport, use of energy efficiency and sustainability practices. It helps to shed understanding on how cities have become smarter in the way they handle increased migration to urban and rural areas and decrease the strain on public finances.

The work received several positive reviews from prestigious institutions:

‘There is a huge amount of confusion and hyperbole concerning the idea of a ‘smart city’ with the human element often entirely overlooked in favour of infrastructure and hardware models. Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Smart Cities takes a sweeping tour through an extensive range of literatures that help to clarify the processes and dynamics of social smart cities. Vanessa Ratten has authored a formidable compendium of material that provides a thorough overview of the way that current concepts of smartness are being applied in contemporary cities. The book is an essential starting point for any academic, practitioner or policy-maker who wants to better understand the role of humans in making smart social cities.’ — Dr Paul Benneworth, University of Twente, The Netherlands

‘Policy and business leaders have been debating the merits of smart cities. This pathbreaking book paves the way in understanding why smart cities are so important and strategies to create smart cities.’ — David B. Audretsch, Distinguished Professor, Indiana University

‘This book provides an excellent opportunity to discuss, from different perspectives, the development of cities, under the contemporaneous paradigm of smart cities.

There are a number of issues, associated to the debate over smart cities, such as innovation, economic development, social inclusion, and education, among others. Such dimensions are explored in the book, providing the opportunity to a deep exploration of the different perspectives of smart cities.’ — Vitor Braga, Associate Professor and Head of the Business Sciences Department, Polytechnic of Porto

A copy of the book can be ordered, here.

Epping Secondary College VCE Business Forum at La Trobe Business School

By Erin Basinski

On Friday 17th February the Year 10 VCE and Year 11 Business Management Students from Epping Secondary College were invited to La Trobe University to take part in the 2017 VCE Business Forum.

The day began in the Szental Lecture Theatre where our students joined other VCE students from Lalor Secondary College, Macleod College and St Helena Secondary College. We were introduced to our first keynote speaker, Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship Mr Antony Jacobson, who teaches at La Trobe Business School. The main focus of Mr Jacobson’s talk centered on the theme: “Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do!” It was inspiring to hear his personal success stories. We were in awe when we discovered that Antony set up his first national franchise when he was only 17 years of age and still a student in Year 11. He spoke about the importance of a positive mindset particularly if we want to be successful in the future. “Be passionate, excite, and use passion in all that you do. Set the bar high. Never low, never in the middle, but high.” Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson said.

The rest of the day was then broken into three sessions. Our first session was with Roman Peretiako who is an associate Lecturer of Marketing at La Trobe Business School. We had the opportunity to discuss topics such as; what is Marketing, Market Segmentation and Target Markets. We were given the opportunity to come up with our own business concept and we were asked to consider the Marketing Mix:

  • PRODUCT – style, features, quality, brand
  • PRICE – How much should a business charge to recover the costs of marketing
  •  PLACE – How does a consumer obtain the product, physical retailer, online, factory outlet?
  • PROMOTION – What methods can be used to get a consumer’s attention, interest and desire?

Our second session was with Simon Crone who is the Manager of Content Development Programs at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Mr Crone presented an interesting look at accounting and spoke about the importance of budgeting in the world of business. He too shared personal stories from his own career which demonstrated a strong personal commitment to the local community.

Our final session for the day was with Professor of Practice in Management Janet Rusell, at La Trobe Business School. In this workshop we had an opportunity to take a closer look at the iconic Australian juice brand, “Boost”. The main focus of this workshop was to think about a business concept, its development and its structure. We spoke about the sources of finance to help establish a start-up business, business locations and external factors that businesses need to consider when writing up a business plan.

Overall it was an enjoyable day which allowed us to see the bigger picture as to what our subject Business Management will cover this year. It was exciting to think that this year we will be given the opportunity to formulate our own business ideas and create a business plan with the hope to run our own business later on in the year.

Thank you to Ms Kanisiadis, Ms Hooper and Mrs Clark for organising and attending on the day.

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