6 social enterprises founded by our Commerce student entrepreneurs

21 July 2020
Meet the young innovators changing the world while they study
From tackling climate change to supporting women in need, our Bachelor of Commerce students and alumni are developing real solutions to some of the world's greatest challenges.

Business Buddy: Helping businesses recover from COVID-19

Josh Mok and Jagen Yoon

Josh Mok and Jagen Yoon, founders of Business Buddy

Josh Mok (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws) and Jagen Yoon (Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws) developed Business Buddy as an entry for the global 2020 IBM Call for Code competition, in which they took second place in a field of 400,000 entries. Business Buddy is a single platform that streamlines various government and agency services to help businesses map out their financial recovery from COVID-19.

Josh and Jagen attribute some of their success to the Business Dalyell Scholars program, through which they connected with industry mentors and developed key entrepreneurial skills.

"During the program, we had our first encounter with IBM who introduced us to ideas such as design thinking and the customer-centric approach," Josh and Jagen say. "They also showed us that technology can be easy and accessible even if you don’t necessarily come from a science or engineering background."

AusAir: Filtering out air pollution

With the help of the Sydney Genesis startup program, University of Sydney graduates Isaac Honor (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts) and Elias Honor (Bachelor of Arts) launched an innovative new face mask to protect against air pollution.

A woman wearing a face mask

AusAir's anti-pollution face mask

AusAir produces reusable masks which feature a washable skin and botanical filters. The idea for the product was sparked during a trip to Shenzhen in China, where the company's founders witnessed the impacts of air pollution firsthand.

"The market is dominated by products that focus on pure utility, but we want to allow people to express themselves while wearing a mask that’s comfortable and extremely breathable," says Elias.

Rechargd: Increasing electric vehicle use

Another initiative developed as part of the IBM Call for Code hackathon, Rechargd is the brainchild of Kim Nguyen (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws), Connor Russell (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Commerce) and Liam Mills (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Commerce).

Rechargd is a sharing platform to make it more convenient for people to charge their electric vehicles and commercialise private charging stations, boosting the uptake of electric cars and ultimately reducing carbon emissions. It was recognised as a university finalist in the 2020 IBM Call for Code competition.

"In the Dalyell Scholars Program, we learned the importance of Enterprise Design Thinking for solving complex and widespread social problems, such as climate change," says Kim.

We hope to reduce carbon emissions through our app Rechargd, which aims to increase the uptake of electric vehicles through boosting the accessibility of electric charging stations.
Kim Nguyen, co-founder of Recharged

Paper Pens Co.: Tackling climate change with eco-friendly pens

William Tjo holding an eco-friendly pen

William Tjo, founder of Paper Pens Co.

William Tjo (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws) co-founded Paper Pens Co., which produces eco-friendly gel pens, in 2019 and went on to become a finalist in the Sydney Genesis startup program.

"I was inspired to create Paper Pens Co. after undertaking the unit of study Future of Business (BUSS1000), which introduced the concept of social entrepreneurship," William says.

"I thought that the best way to solve a wicked problem like climate change was to tackle its roots, and for everyday products like the pen, that meant to use as little harmful materials as possible."

The Cup Solution: Providing sanitary products to women in need

The Cup Solution donates a menstrual cup to a woman in need for every menstrual cup brought through their online store. Developed with the support of the Enactus Society, which supports students to become entrepreneurs with sustainable social impact, its founders are:

  • Emma Inglis (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts)
  • Vinuri Amalya (Juris Doctor)
  • Emma Snow (Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies))
  • Lorena Zheng (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science)
  • Jaya Virk (Bachelor of Design Computing/Bachelor of Advanced Studies)

Members of the University of Sydney Enactus Society

threefourfive: Connecting high school students with uni mentors

With HSC students facing unprecedented challenges, Max Glanville (Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws) and Jack Slaytor (Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws) launched an online platform to support Year 12s during their final year.

Jack Slaytor and Max Glanville

Jack Slaytor and Max Glanville, founders of threefourfive

threefourfive is a free service that matches high school students with university student mentors to coach them through unprecedented and disruptive times.

"The program was the consequence of realising the power that exists in a phone call from a trusted friend," Max says. "They give you someone to be accountable to, while also someone to report to."

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