Optus has launched a new program this week, which it hopes will foster digital innovation and bring bold ideas that have the ability to change the social landscape.
The program called the Optus’ Future Makers program, helps support entrepreneurs, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations with innovative technological ideas that help address the challenges faced by vulnerable young Australians.
Helen Maisano, Associate Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at Optus has said that
Investing in digital innovation and building a better future for Australia’s vulnerable youth is a key focus for Optus. As the technological landscape continues to shift and evolve, it’s essential that we provide support to those working hard to make a real difference in this area. Optus’ Future Makers program is a significant step towards enabling Australia’s innovative minds to make a positive social impact through the use of technology solutions. We’re mainly looking for game-changers with ideas and systems that are almost ready to go.
The program is not livee and potential applicants must go through an application process in which Optus will deliver an accelerator program to have about 12 shortlist candidates who will have access to industry mentors and networking opportunities to aid candidates in developing their ideas and polishing their pitch before presenting to a selected panel of experts.
Following the 12 candidates pitch, the panel will select six winners who will receive up to $50,000 each in funding in which they have six months of progressing their idea and helping shape the future for disadvantaged youth.
All up, the focus of the program will be based on technology ideas which will address one of four criteria selected by Optus to bring their ideas to fruition. The 4 important bits of criteria the technology ideas must meet include:
- Employability – ideas that improve a young person’s ability to be job ready, become employed or help them get ahead with future career options and transition to employment. They may also involve removing barriers which prevent disadvantaged young people from accessing training or employment.
- Education – ideas that deliver educational outcomes, close education gaps for disadvantaged or vulnerable youth, help kids stay engaged in school or remove barriers to completing their education.
- Cyber Education & Safety – ideas that help young people build a positive online presence so they can stay safe online or address the many challenges they face in the social media world to help develop responsible young digital users.
- Wellbeing – ideas that enhance young people’s mental wellbeing and health, facilitate access to vital services or increase resilience for kids who face real disadvantage.
If you’re involved with a not-for-profit, run a social enterprise or are an entrepeneur, then check it out.