Activating Year 6 Students to Design a Social Enterprise with Positive Impact at Flinders

"What matters to YOU and how can YOU help to make the world a better place?"

That was the question posed to our Year 6 students in Primary School at Matthew Flinders Anglican College to kick off their Semester Two i-Impact unit.

Through Flinders' bespoke i-Impact curriculum, students use human-centred design thinking to empathise, ideate and prototype innovative solutions to cultural, social and environmental issues. 

Students were fortunate to have Nicole Dyson, founder and director of Future Anything, visit to guide them through her high-energy, all-day Activate workshop.

Nicole stepped the Flinders Year 6 cohort through "how to" design a social enterprise, whether they want to help tackle problems, improve communities, protect the environment or support people in need with jobs or opportunities. 

Flinders is one of the first primary schools nationally to engage with Activate.

Students will transfer and apply their new Activate skills and knowledge to develop their social enterprise projects during their Semester Two i-Impact unit.

They will also strive to qualify for Future Anything’s National Finals in November, with $20,000 in funding up for grabs to bring young people's innovative, scalable and sustainable social enterprise idea to fruition.

Over the past two years, the Flinders Primary staff have engaged in extensive professional learning with Nicole, who is a globally recognised expert and practitioner in project-based learning and student entrepreneurship.

Nicole's work aims to up-skill and equip staff so they can provide students with the support, skills and space they need to take their bright ideas out of the classroom and into the real world. 

During the Activate workshop with the Year 6s, Nicole guided students to develop ideas for a social enterprise, exploring big questions such as:

  •  What matters to me?
  •  Why does it matter?
  •  Who else thinks it matters?
  •  And what can we do about it?
What the students say 

Flinders Year 6 student Milly Sheridan enjoyed delving into the exciting world of entrepreneurship. 

“I loved Activate! We learned how to think creatively, identify problems and develop innovative solutions,” Milly said. 

“With Nicole's guidance, we harnessed our imaginations to create products or services that would make the world a better place,” she said. 

“We learned the importance of teamwork, collaboration and resilience. Then, after Nicole taught us brainstorming activities, we learned how to ideate and prototype. 

“Not only has Activate equipped us with valuable entrepreneurial skills, the program culminates in an exhilarating opportunity for us to pitch our products to investors towards the end of the unit in the National Activate Competition. 

“We are so lucky to have the opportunity to experience this program. It has truly instilled a sense of purpose and the belief that we have the power to make a difference in the world.” 

Nicole Dyson was impressed with the way the Flinders students embraced the opportunity. 

“This is the first year that we’ve had Primary Schools engaging with Activate, and let me tell you – our Secondary Schools are going to have a run for their money (literally -  the prize money!) at the finals as Flinders students have passion and innovation in spades," Nicole said.  

“I can’t wait to see where they take their ideas!

“I’m looking forward to a Flinders team (or two) in our National Finals event later this year where teams have the chance to pitch for $20k in funding and support to launch their idea out of the classroom and into the real world.”

What the teachers say 

Flinders Year 6 Teacher Mrs Katie Dawson said students were excited to develop and pitch their ideas as part of this Semester’s i-Impact project, with the extra ‘carrot’ the opportunity to be invited into the Future Anything National Finals.

“It’s been wonderful to observe and support our Year 6s as they have been taking a deep dive into empathy," Mrs Dawson said.

“They are being curious and thinking critically about problems to solve that matter to them, within their own backyards and not too far down the road.

“We look forward to seeing what they discover, and hopefully they design a fruitful business enterprise that has a positive impact.”  

Year 6 Teacher Jenny Webb said, “Not only was our Activate with Future Anything engaging and exciting for our students, it helped solidify the pedagogy we adopt as teachers in our i-Impact units throughout the year. 

“What I found most useful was putting myself in the students’ shoes for the day by identifying my own problem related to what matters to me, and beginning to ideate a range of solutions to solve that problem. 

“Nicole stretches the minds of young people and allows them to see that their thinking, their ideas and their impact matters.” 

Nicole also teaches students how to use entrepreneurship to build their capacity across six key future capabilities: Problem solving; Communication; Adaptive mindset; Creativity and innovation; Project management; and Critical thinking.

To learn more about the Flinders Primary School curriculum, go to


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