Winning ways for international students to find jobs

17 July 2023

Some of Melbourne’s brightest young minds are using data and technology to help international students find meaningful pathways to employment. We’ve awarded three groups $10,000 to progress their ideas.

Our Open Innovation Competition is the City of Melbourne’s annual challenge to solve a city issue. Every year, we invite entrepreneurs, students and community members to consider a different common urban challenge.

The competition taps into the creativity and expertise of our community, stimulating new ideas and effective solutions. Participants are encouraged to incorporate data and emerging technology into their ideas.

About the Open Innovation Competition 2023

The theme of this year’s Open Innovation Competition was how to make Melbourne more inclusive for international students and alumni.

Participants were presented with this challenge statement: “How might we make Melbourne a more inclusive city for international students and alumni so they can thrive, contribute to and share in our economic prosperity?”

After six weeks of developing ideas around entrepreneurism, meaningful employment pathways and belonging, finalists presented their ideas at a pitch showcase.

Pitch teams gather for a briefing before the showcase

How we’re creating a more inclusive Melbourne

This year’s Open Innovation Competition was aligned to our Inclusive Melbourne Strategy. The strategy provides a framework for the City of Melbourne to advance inclusion and equality for people of all cultures, ages, genders, sexualities, backgrounds, religions and abilities in our city.

Meet the winners of the Open Innovation Competition

The top three winners of the Open Innovation Competition 2023 all seek to help international students and graduates find meaningful pathways to employment. We awarded each winner $10,000 to pursue their idea.

  • Stint is an online community and job board with recruitment services. The platform aims to create a more equitable job landscape for international students, and a more inclusive, diverse workforce.

“As an international student myself, I deeply understand and relate to the challenges faced by international students. I hope that Stint can become the voice for our community and evoke change to build a more equitable workforce, by bridging the gap between employers and students, as well as highlighting the value we bring.”

Enya Loo from Stint
Enya Loo
  • Illume Foundation coordinates entrepreneurship programs and startup placements to empower students and graduates who bring a global and diverse mindset, but who may be struggling to find a job.

“As a talent accelerator, we help students and graduates to develop their entrepreneurial thinking and employability skills, and transition into the workforce or create their ventures faster than they normally would. What makes us happy is that by doing so we’re not just helping that particular student, but they were also able to take care of their family, pay their loan and find confidence again.”

Laxmi Pun from Illume Foundation
Laxmi Pun
  • UPitch.Me offers a video recruiting platform, in-person pitch nights and AI-assisted job alerts to empower international students and graduates on their journey into internships and jobs.

“As someone who’s hired fresh talent for my previous startups, watching them level up and become invaluable team members has been an absolute highlight. With UPitch.Me, we’re on a mission to turn the often nerve-wracking job hunt into a fun and social adventure, ensuring students land that career-igniting first experience they deserve.”

Volker Breuer from UPitch.Me
Volker Breuer

Meet the runners-up of the Open Innovation Competition

Three additional finalists also made compelling pitches. These impressive startups will also receive a range of support from our event partners to grow their ideas.

  • City Compost Network trains international students and alumni to run workshops and troubleshoot composting and food waste recycling for diverse communities in high-density dwellings.
  • Asia Expert Connect is a qualified talent pool of international alumni that connects Australian companies with cost-effective, on-the-ground advice when seeking opportunities in Asia.
  • PassMe offers an all-in-one trading marketplace to help international students find affordable household equipment and furniture in Melbourne.

Prizes and connections galore for competition finalists

In addition to the top prizes, Open Innovation Competition winners and finalists will receive a range of other valuable support from our key partners to help progress their ideas.

  • Melbourne Accelerator Program awarded Asia Expert Connect and Stint places into the next cohort of their Velocity Program, which helps early-stage founders pressure-test their startups.
  • RMIT Activator awarded PassMe a place in the next cohort of their RMIT LaunchHUB Bootcamp, a pre-accelerator designed to support early-stage startups.
  • Start Space at State Library of Victoria, a business support service specifically for new and early-stage business founders, awarded City Compost Network with a two-month membership to their Loft co-working space.
  • Catalysr awarded Illume Foundation, UPitch.Me and City Compost Network places in their Migrapreneur Fellowship program, a 10-week program to support migrants gain entrepreneurship skills and networks.
  • Startup Network (formerly Startup Victoria) awarded all six finalist teams a year’s membership, giving them access to mentoring, events and the startup community.
  • Stint was also awarded the People’s Choice Award, voted by the audience on the pitch night. The prize is two tickets to the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Melbourne in September.
Team members from Asia Expert Connect

Get support to make your innovative idea a reality

Do you have a big idea? The Open Innovation Competition is just one of the ways we support the vast creativity, innovation and expertise of our community. Learn more at Startups and innovation.

Pitch night photographs courtesy of photographer Abdurrasyiid Suwarni

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