Team members: Bal Dhital (medical student), Timothy Keys (medical student), Daniel Robson (graphic designer), Patrick Prell (mechatronic engineer)

Team lead: Timothy Keys


The Problem

Mosquitos impact the lives of people around the world in different ways, from nuisance and bother at our Callaghan campus, to serious health burdens from the Congo to Cambodia.

Whilst they vary in impact, both problems involve people wanting solutions. By uniting these two communities through shared experience, we can create a system in which the needs of everyone are met in a financially sustainable manner.

Mosquito-borne diseases represent a substantial burden of disease throughout the world, and a number of highly effective public health interventions already exist.

The WHO's Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (2016–2030) set forth challenges in the fight against malaria, stating that, “the greatest of these is the lack of robust, predictable and sustained international and domestic financing”.

Our big idea, the core foundation

Our innovative funding model.
We believe a social enterprise can generate funds via the sale of a product in areas of mosquito nuisance, which can then be spent on interventions in areas significantly burdened by mosquito-borne diseases.

We are looking to connect these two communities through their shared experience of the bother and burden of mosquitos – alleviating the nuisance and funding the fight against disease.

Our description: The front end

In Australia, we’re an apparel company. We sell design-conscious clothing that’s insecticide treated. We only source products that rank as the most environmentally responsible. The insecticide is odourless, colourless and repels mosquitos for up to 70 washes. This treatment is already commercially available by a third-party company who we’ll engage. Unlike the majority of insecticide-treated clothing, typically designed for hiking, our brand focuses on casual wear, conducive to the average day of a uni-student or Novocastrian. Our target audience wants to have a mosquito-free day without compromising their fashion choices, and they’re looking to give those in disease-affected areas a mosquito-free sleep.

Our description: The back end

In disease-affected areas, we fund effective and research-focussed health interventions to decrease the health risks of mosquitos. The WHO (2016-2030), lists long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying as the pillars for vector control in endemic areas. We’ll engage with partner NGOs who already have the skill and relationships to deploy these effective solutions. We’ll provide the funds to our partners, and they’ll implement their research-backed strategies.

Research literature level/Technology readiness level

Our main innovation is our social enterprise funding model; our research of existing social enterprises supports this innovation. Similar movements have been extremely successful, such as Thankyou (Australia; operating since 2008) and TOMS (US; 2017 annual revenue of $400million).
An online marketplace will expedite the creation, marketing, and sale of our products. We have located and priced partners who will handle the manufacture and insecticide treatment of the shirts, and we’ve created initial designs for a limited product range.

In order to utilise the proceeds from our “front end” most effectively, we’ll partner with existing NGOs, leveraging their prior research and experience in logistics and resource management. We’ve researched and selected a number of suitable NGOs and will reach out to them in the following months.

Hypothesis 1: A market exists for socially focussed and design-conscious clothing in our local target audience.

Test method:
• Market research (three months), then a one-month sales trial

Funding required:
• Refine designs and conduct market research: $600
• First batch of inventory: $2558
• Marketing campaign: $800
• Website set up: $1000

• Approx. $5000 over 4 months.

• The sale of 100 shirts in the first month and market research feedback

Next step:
• Test, validate and iterate on marketing and clothing designs targeting a lucrative customer base.

Hypothesis 2: A social enterprise model can be a sustainable financing solution to tackle mosquito-borne diseases.

Test method:
• A one-month sales trial

• As stated in hypothesis 1

• Sales of >100 shirts (sustainable revenue)
• Overheads <30% (low enough to make a contribution to our NGO partners)
• During the start-up phase, some of the funds will need to be reinvested into the “front end” establishing a solid brand foundation.
(See table in graphics above)

Next step:
• Tune our front-end business model to allow the funds given to our NGO partners to have a genuine impact.

Hypothesis 3: That an inward-facing consumer model can have outward-facing impact and connect communities through shared stories. That it can generate awareness of mosquito-borne disease, and the changing face of this increasingly global and complex issue.

Test method:
• Involves ensuring our customers in ‘mosquitos nuisance’ areas are aware of the burden in endemic areas.
• We provide information through blogs and social media content
• Customer education tested with surveys
• Follow up with surveys at 6 months

• None extra

• Customers’ knowledge and awareness of the issue increases.

Next step:
• If there’s an increase; continue, as this is intrinsically part of our brand and directly involved in the business’ marketing.
• If no increase; consider other methods for increasing awareness

What’s been done to date? (Involving challenges and wins)

This is a new concept, with no challenges or wins yet.
We have:
• Developed basic pricing and financials;
• Completed mission matrix model;
• Designed a preliminary product line;
• Found suppliers;
• Researched and shortlisted NGOs to begin our partnership process;
• Created an initial branding and marketing package.

Why your is your idea creative?

• It solves two problems with one solution; lowering the nuisance that mosquitos cause at Callaghan and beyond, whilst simultaneously funding interventions to target a global health burden.
• We’re targeting a specifically identified issue: the lack of sustainable funding
• We aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel; we’re optimising the use of existing resources and products.
• It has many beneficiaries. Our system allows communities to affect each other, ultimately creating awareness of their shared experience.

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