PART of their country’s National Day celebrations late in January, the Australian Embassy in Manila recently hosted a reception to welcome New Colombo Plan mobility students from the University of Technology-Sydney (UTS).
The Australian scholars are working with their Filipino counterparts from Ateneo de Manila University to learn about and generate social-impact ideas and innovations. This is a pilot project of UTS Hatchery Accelerate to expose budding social entrepreneurs to the Asean market and peers in the region.
Australian Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Mat Kimberley hosted the reception and said, “Social innovation is an important field in the Philippines. This project is a great example of how the New Colombo Plan can help to build links between young people in the Philippines and Australia but also, potentially, create broader beneficial impact for society.”
The reception brought together Australian business executives, social entrepreneurs and academicians to discuss innovation and potential social impact of start-ups.
Australia Trade and Investment Commission Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner Elodie Journet gave a talk to the young entrepreneurs on emerging Australian industries, such as financial technology, as well as health and medical technologies that can create opportunities in Asean markets.
Fostering innovation in trade, as well as in aid programs, is a key priority for the Australian government. The social entrepreneurship collaboration between the UTS scholars and Ateneo is a practical outcome of that approach.
The New Colombo Plan is an Australian government initiative aimed at broadening knowledge of Indo-Pacific students by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region, including the Philippines. There have been five Australian scholars and 519 mobility students who have studied, worked and lived in the Philippines since the launch of the New Colombo Plan in 2013.
In the 1950s and 1960s, hundreds of Filipino students received scholarships under the Colombo Plan to study in Australia, deepening the understanding between our two countries.
Kudos to the Australian Embassy for hosting this reception for the New Colombo Plan scholars, who will surely make an impact in the future!