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Switched on: student engagement and sector development

2 min read

Dubbed Switched-On Enterprises, the student-led body aims to create social and economic opportunities for disadvantaged groups in the local community, through assisting small social enterprises in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector such as Riff Raff Catering, Challenge Multimedia, Bayleys on Hampton and Sorghum Sisters Catering.

Knowledge transfer

Typically, a partnership with Switched-On Enterprises involves the student group identifying challenges that are inhibiting the NFP from maximising its capabilities within the community, then assigning students who specialise in the knowledge transfer required.

These students present workshops to address each concern, and assist the social enterprise to transition to an alternative business approach. In the past, workshops have included pricing, budgeting, inventory management and marketing communications.

A process of evaluation and re-assessment will then be undertaken to ensure the social enterprise is proficient in the application of the knowledge gained, and therefore maintain a sustainable business model.

Sorghum Sisters Catering

Sorghum Sisters Catering focuses on imparting essential skills for African migrants to gain entry into the hospitality industry. Switched-On Enterprises aimed to improve existing business practices, boost competitiveness, and ultimately enhance the organisation’s ability to provide much-needed skills for the long-term benefit of its program participants. Students identified key areas of financial literacy and marketing as the focus of workshops.

Mutually beneficial

In empowering businesses like Sorghum Sisters Catering, Switched-On Enterprises hopes to allow the organisations to further inspire those they affect, and ultimately ensure their long-term viability.

Indeed, it is a mutually beneficial endeavour, in which students have the opportunity to gain practical experience in real-world scenarios, whilst sharing their skills and knowledge to assist the community.

Mitheran Selvendran, Law student and project manager of the group explains, “Switched-On Enterprises serves as a conduit between students and social enterprises: the community benefits from tertiary education and the students are able to put their classroom knowledge into practice.”

Switched-On Enterprises offers a knowledge base that is free, providing a ready-made network of like-minded students who have the skills, passion and ability to engender positive and lasting social change. Promotional activities are based on word-of-mouth within the community sector, as well as website development and representation at key networking events.

Expanding and engaging

Switched-On Enterprises is at present expanding its operations and engaging new social enterprises, continuing to actively work on minimising social inequalities in our local community, one student-led initiative at a time. For further information, email, or visit

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