Future Makers program to drive innovation

Optus has launched a new program to foster digital innovation and bring to life bold ideas that have the ability to change the social landscape.

Optus’ Future Makers program supports entrepreneurs, social enterprises and not­for­profit organisations with innovative technological ideas that help address the challenges faced by vulnerable young Australians.

Helen Maisano, Associate Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at Optus said, ‘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’s 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 game­changers with ideas and systems that are almost ready to go.’

Thinking big

Following an application process, Optus will deliver an accelerator program for 12 shortlist candidates, which involves 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 pitch, six winners will be selected to receive up to $50,000 each in funding to use within six months for the sole purpose of progressing their idea in shaping the future for disadvantaged youth.

With a focus on technology, ideas will address one of four criteria:

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.

For more information about the program and where to enter please visit the Optus Future Maker website.

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