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Are you a tech innovation superstar? Optus is offering you a share of $300k in funding

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John Paitaridis

Optus has announced the launch of this year’s Future Makers program, supporting Australia’s start-up and not-for-profit ecosystem to help create positive social impacts for disadvantaged Australians.

Start-ups, social entrepreneurs and charities can now submit their tech solutions to the Optus Future Makers program for their chance to secure a share of $300,000 in funding and the opportunity to work with some of Australia’s best talent to help bring their ideas to life.

John Paitaridis, Managing Director for Optus Business said: “Optus Future Makers is one of the largest social innovation programs in Australia, with $300,000 of funding to support start-ups and social entrepreneurs to harness the power of technology to positively change the lives of the most deserving and vulnerable in our community.”

“Technology has proliferated our lives – it’s changing the way we communicate, connect, learn and are entertained. It is vital that the most needy in our community are able to benefit from the advancements in technology in a way that supports their circumstances including finding employment, accessing health services and education.”

What else do innovators stand to gain?

Along with a chance to secure their share of the funding, successful applicants will be individually coached by some of our brightest talent at Optus and industry, while being exposed to some real-world experience through the Future Makers accelerator program.

“The four-month accelerator program will allow each applicant to develop their skills through workshops and mentoring that focus on technology, customer experience, marketing strategies, project planning, financial modelling and importantly how to create a sustainable and successful enterprise,” Mr Paitaridis added.

Helen Maisano, Director, Group Sustainability at Optus said this year’s selection panel was looking for applications from tech innovators far and wide, who are looking to make a positive difference in their community through the power of technology.

“Future Makers is open to ideas that provide technological solutions in not only our major cities but also from those who have a passion for improving the lives in regional and remote Australia.”

“The program is designed to give applicants who are on the cusp of developing or have a working prototype solution an opportunity to build on their skills and provide networking opportunities to help reach their goals,” Ms Maisano said.

“Our past Future Makers finalists have developed solutions that positively affect communities and for example have supported people with a disability, mental health and education for young people.”

The 2018 Optus Future Makers program is now open and applicants can visit http://www.optus.com.au/about/sustainability/community-grants to apply.

What particular innovations is Optus looking for?

Optus is seeking innovative technology solutions that help solve issues for disadvantaged and vulnerable youth or adults within any of the following focus areas:

Employability: Improve people’s ability to be job-ready or to get ahead with future career options. For example, removing barriers that prevent disadvantaged people from accessing training or employment opportunities.

Education: Improve education outcomes or close education gaps for disadvantaged or vulnerable people. For example, supporting young people to stay engaged in school or removing barriers to them completing their education.

Health: Address health concerns in Australia, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes; improve livelihoods and support people with a disability; address domestic and family violence; or, improve people’s mental wellbeing with access to vital services.

Empowering women and girls: Address inequality that women and girls experience in their lives that can limit their choices and opportunities. For example, empowering women to build skills and solutions to start or join a business; and, seeing more girls in STEM-related education and/or jobs.

Now in its third year, the Optus Future Makers program supports innovative tech solutions which help solve societal issues for disadvantaged young people and adults so they can have a better future.

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