Monday, 14 September 2020 10:51

Optus selects social start-ups as Future Makers program finalists


Five social start-ups have developed innovative technology solutions addressing social challenges for disadvantaged and vulnerable people focused on employability, education, health and aged-disability support to win a place as Optus 2020 Future Makers program finalists.

Now in its fourth year, the Optus social innovation program is designed to equip social start-ups with the tools to grow their “for-purpose” business.

The program will see this year’s Future Makers take part in a six-month capacity building and accelerator program designed to develop their skills through workshops and coaching from “top talent” at Optus and industry experts, with each finalist at the completion of the program having the opportunity to access a share of $200,000 in grant funding to help scale their solution.

The five 2020 Future Makers funding recipients, announced on Monday by Optus, are:

AIBLE - Narelle Priestley (VIC)

AIBLE is a job search app that uses artificial intelligence to match abilities, personality types, experience, skills and certifications with job requirements. Their profile questions are designed to improve workplace diversity and inclusion-they believe there are jobs for everyone. AIBLE is designed as a safe environment with support to include people on the margins of society in the recruitment process.

givvable - Frances Atkins (NSW)

givvable is a data-driven technology platform that helps companies find, source and track the impact of sustainable and social spending. It does this by mapping the impact credentials of suppliers to reporting frameworks use by listed companies and large organisations, such as UN SDGs and ESG indicators. givvable helps MSME suppliers grow and scale by increasing their visibility among corporate buyers looking to make impact driven purchasing decisions.

Maslow - Nitin Fernandez (NSW)

Maslow is a voice-enabled rehabilitation assistant for young people living with paralysis. Maslow’s inclusive design equips users with tools to independently structure their personal and rehabilitation schedule, measure their rehabilitation habits, and access guided health education to better understand and manage their condition.

Need A Tutor - Bronwyn Covill (VIC)

Need a Tutor was established in 2017 to address the problem of how people living in rural and geographically isolated areas don’t receive the same educational support as those in the city. Through their innovative model they match students with their network of qualified educators, teachers or tutors. They then deliver personalised, live one-to-one lessons hosted via a custom-built secure online platform. This enables educational access from even the most remote communities.

PeepsRide - Clive Vaz (NSW)

PeepsRide aims to enable care organisations with providing an on-demand transport service to help elderly and those with disabilities to get outdoors more often. Currently this demographic of people either have long wait times or don’t have any avenues to get subsided and reliable door-to-door transport. By filling this gap in the market and utilising their spare capacity within existing fleet of vehicles and drivers, PeepsRide aims to help organisations with providing a better customer experience and with generating an additional source of revenue.

Commenting on the selection of the five finalists Helen Maisano, Optus’ Director for Group Sustainability, said: “We are thrilled to see this year’s finalists leverage technology advancements to not only fill some evident gaps in the market but also make a real difference to those most in need in our communities.

“During a time where we have been able to experience how technology has been core to aiding our resilience amidst great challenges, I am especially proud of our commitment to supporting innovation and social entrepreneurship, both through funding and access to our expert resources.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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