Sixty Young Australians Drive Social Change
12 August 2016 at 3:51 pm
A cohort of 60 potential innovators, selected to be Australia’s next Young Social Pioneers, will take part in a Not for Profit incubator program to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.
Jan Owens AM, CEO of Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), which runs the program, told Pro Bono Australia News that young people needed opportunities to drive social change.
“Australia’s population is rapidly growing and ageing, our economy is restructuring, technology is transforming work, inequality is increasing, and our ecosystems are stretched,” Owens said.
“We’ve never experienced a more demanding, fast-paced or complex leadership environment.
“Backing young people is an important part of the investment pipeline needed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in young Australians so they can drive our economy forward and build the jobs and opportunities of the future – to overcome challenges they will inherit and help build the world they want to live in.”
Over the six month program, the pioneers, aged 16 to 29, will work on their ideas, develop their business and leadership skills, and receive mentorship from FYA and its partners.
“Participants are flown to either Melbourne or Sydney, gaining access to Australia’s only free co-working space for young people,” Owens said.
“Expert mentors as well as a team of YSP staff and alumni help develop participants ideas, honing their critical evaluation skills, business acumen and helping them to set goals for the future.
“We also empower them to showcase their ideas with workshops targeting their capacity to pitch and present their projects.”
At the end of the program, participants will pitch their ventures to entrepreneurs, philanthropists and business leaders for the opportunity to secure part of $70,000 seed funding to further develop their project.
Owens said the organisation, which received more than 340 applications, made selections “on the basis that [the] idea, regardless of which stream it’s in, has the capacity to make meaningful social change”.
“With ideas ranging from teaching young girls how to code to recycling tennis balls, this year’s cohort is an outstanding example of innovative youth entrepreneurship across Australia,” she said.
The areas of focus are arts and creative industries, education, environment, STEM, sustainability, youth mental health, and an open category.
There are now 200 changemakers in FYA’s Young Social Pioneers program, which Owens said was the largest community of young social entrepreneurs in Australia.