Growing up in Taiwan as an Irish-Australian at an American school, Tomas Moran has always had a different take on what was "normal."
Thriving in unique circumstances, Tomas would observe human interactions from a social lens and hypothesise the ways he could improve their standards of living.
The empowering aspect of social entrepreneurship is being able to turn what ifs into a fully fledged business. Social enterprise also focuses on sustainable results rather than the one-off impact that I gained from doing charity work.
Driven by his passion for social entrepreneurship, the University of Sydney Bachelor of Commerce student took the opportunity offered by the Remote and Rural Enterprise (RARE) program Vietnam intensive unit to make real social change. With a group of peers from across the University, Tomas travelled to Hanoi, where he was given a platform to address the social issues close to his heart by creating tangible change.
"Working for a social enterprise in Vietnam on real social and business problems allowed me to help create sustainable revenue and amplify their assistance to disabled individuals in Vietnamese society," says Tomas.
The social enterprise had a strong focus on expanding its market share and achieving higher retention rates. While the technical aspects of the project enriched Tomas' practical learning, the real value came through the meaningful impact of "empowering the enterprise and helping them realise they are achieving their social mission."
The experience was heightened by a friendship that Tomas fostered with one of the disabled employees within the enterprise. Seeing this employee overcome obstacles he thought would hinder her performance, Tomas felt inspired by the possibilities of technological advancements in catering to individuals with disabilities.
Tomas' participation in the program was aided by a New Colombo Plan scholarship, which provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to undertake study, internships and mentorships throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
"What the New Colombo Plan funding allowed me to do was to extend the impact that I could provide beyond my immediate community and reach out to foreign countries to enact social impact. Without the funding, I doubt I would have been able to afford such an opportunity and I am very grateful for the support of the program," Tomas says.
Tomas continues to empower his passion for making real social change through his role as Vice President External Affairs of Enactus, a society that brings together students to incubate social enterprises within Australia. He is hoping to extend this work in the future by assisting startups with their marketing strategy and driving social enterprise initiatives.