Optus has opened applications to its four-month tech accelerator
program – Future Makers – to start-ups, social entrepreneurs and charities.
Now in its third consecutive year, the program is seeking innovations
that help solve issues for disadvantaged and vulnerable youths or adults around
employability, education, health and empowering women and girls.
start-ups and not-for-profit players are urged to apply to the programme, which
includes eight days of workshops and a short
series of webinars covering knowing your customer, the art of storytelling,
marketing strategies, how to secure corporate and investor funding, managing
stakeholders, project planning, financial modelling and measuring impact.
Participants will be coached by Optus and
receive guidance from industry experts. There is then an opportunity for
participants to polish their business case and perfect their pitch before
presenting to a panel of judges representing different sectors.
Those on the program then have the chance to
secure a share of
$300,000 in funding over two stages: technology
grants and pitch grants. Finalists then have the opportunity to apply for the (Optus
parent company) Singtel Group Future Makers Program where up to two finalists
will be selected to participate to help scale their solution.
“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,” said John Paitaridis, managing director
for Optus Business.
recipients of Future Makers funding include Melbourne-based
Aubot, makers of an Australian-developed telepresence robot that allows
people with limited upper limb mobility to attend work or school remotely; Gold
Coast app start-up Virtual
Psychologist which connects mental health professional with users to
provide on-demand text-based counselling; and subscription textbook service
“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,” said
Helen Maisano, director, group sustainability at Optus.
“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,” she added.
Future Makers website before May 18 to apply.