Google Reveals Finalists For $5.5 Million Grants Program
9 October 2018 at 4:46 pm
A platform for people with disability to find support workers, and an anxiety-reducing app tackling autism unemployment are among those in the running for a $1 million grant from Google.
The 10 finalists of the 2018 Google Impact Challenge were revealed on Tuesday and are set to share in $5.5 million of grants funding.
The program supports not for profits and social enterprises using technology to tackle important social challenges, and the shortlisted finalists will attend an event in Sydney on 1 November to decide the winners.
The judging panel will be headlined by Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel, who will hear pitches and select three winners to take home $1 million.
A $1 million People’s Choice award will also be awarded to the project that receives the most votes from the public, while the six runners up will receive $250,000 each.
One finalist is Hireup, an Aussie grown peer-to-peer platform that gives people with disability and support workers the tools to find each other based on location, appropriate skills and common interests.
Hireup chief of staff Harriet Dwyer told Pro Bono News it was extraordinary to be recognised by Google as an innovative platform.
She said Hireup would use any money won to scale up the organisation’s social impact.
“We’re hoping to really expand HireUp more broadly across Australia and scale up the number of people with disability and support workers that are able to get access to our platform,” Dwyer said.
“And we’re able to see the change that’s brought about when people have more choice and control over their supports and by extension their support workers.
“Giving support workers a more active role in deciding how their work life looks is also an incredibly exciting opportunity and this in turn will scale up our social impact.”
Another finalist is Xceptional, which is developing an app that uses games to reduce anxiety for autistic people and help them get jobs.
Xceptional founder and CEO Mike Tozer said 65 per cent of people with autism were underemployed and that winning the Google Impact Challenge would help change this.
“Winning the Google Impact Challenge and being awarded $1 million would enable us to help thousands more people with autism find employment in Australia,” Tozer said.
“Our online app can help people with autism to harness their unique strengths and be set for success in job interviews.”
The public can vote for their favourite organisation by 30 October here.