Eleven emerging digital and social influencers stepped into the spotlight yesterday at the Optus Future Makers event to pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of experts. The innovators had just 180 seconds each to secure their share of the $300,000 funding pot and seven walked away with enough financial backing to bring their bold ideas to life.
The inaugural Optus Future Makers program, launched earlier this year, is designed to foster digital innovation that has the ability to change the social landscape. Prominent names across technology, innovation and social change – including Global Social Entrepreneur, Geoff Gourley, and Group Founder of Thankyou, Daniel Flynn – joined forces to form the experienced judging panel.
After a tense pitching process in front of an audience at the Optus Campus in Sydney, just seven of the 11 finalists were crowned this year’s Future Makers, and awarded $50,000 grants.
The Future Makers Winners were:
Following a unanimous decision by the judging panel, two finalists who pitched separately
were offered $50,000 funding to share if they agreed to collaborate and bring their ideas to
life as a single innovation:
Paul O’Sullivan, Future Makers Judge and Optus Chairman, said, “this program is about
helping Australia’s innovators to make a positive social impact through the use of technology.
We know how important technology is in people’s daily lives, and with Future Makers we are
specifically targeting projects that will benefit marginalised and vulnerable youth.”