City Challenge winners make their winning pitch a reality

Over 300 students recently crammed into RMIT’s Storey Hall to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing Melbourne, the number of people experiencing homelessness.

The City Challenge is a two day Hackathon event between RMIT Global Experience, Common Purpose and the City of Melbourne. Students worked in large multidisciplinary teams to explore issues around homelessness and worked towards creating innovative solutions to these existing problems. Participants were tasked with finding solutions to the question, “How can Melbourne best collaborate to create integrated pathways out of homelessness?”

Over the two day, event participants visited organisations on the frontline as well as hearing from experts. The solutions were then pitched to a team of industry experts, some of who have the power to make it a reality. The panel included; Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne, Arron Wood, General Manager – Homelessness and Justice from Melbourne City Mission, Wayne Merritt, RMIT’s DVCE, Professor Belinda Tynan and  RMIT Activator’s Director, Renzo Scacco.

Event organiser, Kate Rintoul from RMIT Global Experience said “it was clear from the energy in the room at the final pitch of the City Challenge how much the students got out of the experience. Not only did they get to test their ability to problem solve in a very short period of time, they also got to witness first hand the innovation that occurs when collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds. I think we also inspired a few social justice warriors, who are now more aware and passionate about making a positive contribution to our city.”

The challenge winners, team Hope Hub, pitched a platform that would allow businesses to efficiently donate resources to community service providers and were invited to join Activator’s Bootcamp and Sandbox cohort to continue pursuing their entrepreneurial journey.

A prerequisite for Sandbox, Bootcamp is a two-day intensive that allows participants upskill in leanly testing their idea, as well as building out their founding team. Sandbox is a 12-week program where entrepreneurs test and iterate their idea.

Winning participant Indraneel Chavan called the challenge an ‘enlightening’ experience stating that the cultural diversity in the room meant that there were varied approaches to the problem. “Being grouped together randomly, we were forced to get to know our teammates in a very short time and to play on each others’ strengths. I loved the fast-paced schedule and the energy that everyone put in for the challenge.”

Speaking about her experiences at Activator after the challenge, Indraneel said Bootcamp taught her how to approach any problem or business idea in a structured fashion. “The talks by other startup founders were inspiring and thought-provoking. I felt lucky to be a part of the program and look forward to applying the knowledge I gained in Sandbox.”

Fellow challenge winner Racha Horn said both the City Challenge and the Bootcamp were ‘absolutely incredible,’ enhancing her problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills. Upon reflection, Racha sited the opportunity to meet students and staff from all different fields as a highlight. “All the guest speakers were amazing. They were all so inspiring. Overall, I highly recommend everyone to get involve and participate.”

RMIT Global Experiences, Common Purpose, and Activator will be joining forces again for the RMIT Leadership Forum on Monday 27 August. This free, one-day event will see 1000 RMIT students will come together to hear from Industry leaders and discover what type of leader they would like to be. Places are filling up quickly – so register today.

Click here to book your spot.

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