Optus has announced the finalists who are in the running to win a share of $300,000 in its Future Makers funding and mentoring program for start-ups.
The Future Makers program partners with social enterprises, entrepreneurs, and charities to bring to life innovative tech ideas to help disadvantaged young people. This year’s shortlisted ideas include a virtual psychologist, a service which provides e-textbooks to disadvantaged students, and an app to improve educational outcomes for disabled children.
Each finalist has secured a place in a four-month accelerator program which will provide mentoring from industry experts across the technology, start-up and social enterprise spaces as well as practical advice on developing technology to help the finalists turn their ideas into reality.
There is also a $300,000 funding pool up for grabs, with Future Makers eligible to receive a technology grant of up to $10,000 each during the accelerator program and to pitch for up to $100,000 seed funding upon completion of the program.
Future Makers finalists:
Angus Robilliard, Redfern, NSW – South Cares Rabbitohs has developed a concept for an app that would link indigenous young people who have been placed in new jobs with mentors who provide ongoing support and advice on navigating the workplace.
Danny Hui, Bondi Junction, NSW – ‘sameview’ is an app prototype which would enable multiple people involved in a disabled child’s care – including educators and healthcare professionals – to share information efficiently.
Dervla Loughnane, Southport, QLD – ‘Virtual Psychologist’ seeks to remove barriers that prevent people from seeking traditional counselling – such as the fear of talking about issues face-to-face – by offering mental health services via text message.
Sandy Buchanan, Melbourne, VIC – ‘Limbr’ is a mental health app prototype which would deliver online therapy and would enable people to share their stories in a supportive environment and track their mental wellbeing.
Michael D’Rosario, Mitcham, VIC – ‘Hyveminds’ is a subscription textbook service which plans to provide students in underprivileged areas in Australia and abroad with gratis access to digital textbooks.
Alex Gavranich, O’Connor, ACT – ‘Cohort’ is a concept for improving employment outcomes for disadvantaged young adults. The online platform would help identify job seekers’ interests; partner them with mentors; and match them to potential employers. Cohort was the winner of the Future Makers World Vision Challenge which aims to develop a solution to address youth unemployment with the potential to scale through Asia Pacific.
The finalists will have the opportunity to pitch for seed funding to a panel of expert judges in October. The judging panel will be made up of some of Australia’s most prominent names across technology, innovation, and social change:
- Claire Rogers – CEO of World Vision Australia, social innovator, and previous head of ANZ’s Australia’s digital banking
- Andrew Tyndale – Financier and director of social enterprises in Australia and around the world including: The Funding Network, Good360, Sustain Community Housing and Opportunity International
- Steven Persson – CEO of The Big Issue / Homes for Homes with more than 30 years’ experience in the NGO sector
- John Paitaridis – Managing Director of Optus Business with more than 25 years’ industry experience
John Paitaridis, Future Makers Judge and Managing Director of Optus Business, said, “Australia is home to a strong community of tech entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and NGOs that have remarkable ideas for driving social change but we know start-ups face a number of hurdles bringing their ideas to life. Whether it’s having the funding they need to scale their ideas, the resources to market their product or the right partners to develop technology, start-ups require a lot of resources to bring a solution to market.”
“As a well-established business, Optus believes we can leverage our technological know-how, resources and contacts to help turn bright ideas into practical technology solutions that will positively impact the lives of young people.”
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 7850
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