The ‘Orange Sky’: Learning about social innovations

20 Sep 2016
Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena, Orange Sky laundry founders, and Teegan Green

Young Australians of the Year, Orange Sky Laundry founders Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett visited UQ Business School recently to provide an inspiring guest lecture for undergraduate and postgraduate marketing students.

The marketing course ‘New Product and Service Development’ led by Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena provided students with the opportunity to gain insights into how these young social entrepreneurs are revolutionising the non-for-profit sector with social innovation.

Orange Sky Laundry was established two years ago and is a world first in providing free laundry washing and drying services to the homeless community around Australia.

The co-founders shared stories about their journey from starting the concept to gaining international recognition as game changers. 

Marketing student Joseph O'Rourke said that the opportunity to hear from such respected and successful social entrepreneurs was an amazing experience.

“The presentation from Orange Sky Laundry is the best I’ve seen during my studies. You can feel the passion that Nic and Lucas have. I feel privileged and it’s people like Nic and Lucas that make people realise their potential to make a difference in the world.

“Together they have started something that will improve people’s lives all across the globe. I left the room feeling deeply inspired and motivated, I hope one day to start a social enterprise that is half as impactful as Orange Sky Laundry,” he said.

The students were clearly impressed and inspired with student Nicholas Scott echoing the same feedback, he said the presentation from Orange Sky Laundry was one of the best and most intimate he had seen during his studies.

Marketing student, Ryan Roberts, said that Nic and Lucas are shining examples for two innovators who have found success through their passion, risk-taking, and determination. 

Course Lecturer and Coordinator, Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena said that industry presentations along with a hands-on major project where students develop and test an innovative product/concept facilitates self-directed learning.

“A course in product and service innovation cannot be taught with conventional teaching formats.

“In this context, introducing social innovations to this course not only facilitates students understanding broader scope of the innovation field but also reflects UQ Business School’s commitment to recognise social entrepreneurs and their social value-creating initiatives,” he said.

Further queries can be directed to the Course Coordinator at