10x Young Entrepreneurs to Inspire Disengaged Youth

Dec 17
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To be equipped for the jobs of tomorrow the youth of today need to learn new transferable entrepreneurial skills to succeed. This means a stronger focus on educators to cultivate entrepreneurial education. But many struggle to find the right resources to engage and inspire disengaged youth. Many youths find the thought of running their own business unattainable and the struggle to relate to anyone in this space.

That’s where FYA come in. . .

The Foundation for Young Australians is an Australian NFP committed to creating generational transformation by improving the learning outcomes and life opportunities of young Australians. Their website is a fantastic resource that can be utilised to inspire your students and teachers through extensive articles, research and programs.

One of FYA’s programs is Young Social Pioneers which is an incubator designed to support young people leading initiatives that respond to society’s most pressing challenges. The program in 2017 was made up of fifty eight 16-29 year olds  from all walks of life who have started businesses, community groups and advocacy to support and combat a range of environmental, social, health and safety issues.,

Here is a showcase of 10 of these young relatable changemakers:

  • Levi McKenzie-Kirkbright, Founder – Lookin Deadly
    “Levi is an Indigenous software engineering student at the University of Melbourne. He is developing a social startup, Lookin’ Deadly, to help Indigenous communities with limited access to primary eye healthcare increase screening for diseases affecting the back of the eye. Levi completed his Bachelor of Biomedicine in 2014 and worked in Indigenous health research before starting his Master of Engineering.”

  • Chiara Grassia, Director – Girls Rock! Canberra
    “Chiara is a 26 year old Canberra-based arts producer, writer and musician. She is the founder and Director of Girls Rock! Canberra (GR!C), a mentorship program for girls and gender-diverse young people encouraging self-confidence, creativity and teamwork through music education. Inspired by the Girls Rock Camp movement that originated in the USA, Chiara established GR!C in 2015, the first program of its kind in Australia.”   

  • Adam Jahnke, Co-Founder and CEO – Umps Health
    “Adam is a 27 year old technology and public health professional from Melbourne. In 2016, he founded Umps Health after his grandpa was hospitalised due to a fall at home.  Umps Health uses machine learning enabled power plugs and lighting to detect older people’s’ interactions with everyday home appliances. When behaviour is out of the norm alerts are raised to family members and carers, empowering them to intervene early and prevent an incident.”

  • Alaura Poole, Co-Founder / Creator  – The Sustainable Nappy
    “Alaura is a 25 year old university student, entrepreneur and sewing pattern designer from the Central Coast, NSW.  Alaura has a keen interest in the environment, sustainability and textiles, which lead to her creation of a sustainable nappy designed to alleviate the environmental concerns associated with conventional disposable nappies. Alaura and her business partner Michael Kelly, hope to finish R&D shortly to provide a product that is gentle on a baby and gentle on the earth.”

  • Akash Patel, Founder – Open Goals
    “Akash is a 22 year old social change maker from Adelaide. In 2017 he began ‘Open Goals’ sport clinics which seek to help refugees integrate into new communities through running sport sessions in conjunction with elite sporting organisations. Through ‘Open Goals’, Akash hopes to help refugees find their place in new environments through sport, and ultimately become an integral part of local sporting communities. Akash is also involved in Indigenous education development in Adelaide and was formerly a professional Cricket player.”

  • Charles Rolls, Founder – Youth2Knowledge
    “Charles is 26 years old and based on the Sunshine Coast QLD. He is the Founder of Youth 2 Knowledge, a social enterprise that uses brain scans to help students learn how the brain operates, the effects drugs can have and the importance that nutrition and exercise have on maintaining a healthy brain. Since 2011 Charles has spoken to over 30,000 students in regards to mental health, health and wellness and the impacts of substance abuse.”

  • Mathew D’Onofrio, CEO – Nightlife First Aid
    Mathew is a 19 year old health and safety entrepreneur based in Adelaide, South Australia. In 2015, he founded his first startup, ‘Nightlife First Aid’ after seeing an issue of excessive teenage drinking at parties and a need for it to be fixed. ‘Nightlife First Aid’ has since attended approximately 50 events and helped hundreds of teens, saving some from life-threatening injuries. Matthew is also strongly involved in other entrepreneurial side projects and activities.

  • Jessie Hughes, Creative Director – SignVR
    “A 23 year old from Brisbane, Jessie has surely made her impact on the global stage. She has developed innovative works for the likes of Oculus, Adobe and many international non-for-profits to inspire and drive social change. Last year, she was named one of Australia’s Future Changers by FYA for her commitment to exploring digital innovation for positive social impact. ‘SignVR’ is Hughes’ virtual reality education platform for teaching sign language.”

  • Tom McGann, Educational Technologist – Blockchain STEM Centre
    “Tom is a 24 year old Educational Technologist from Melbourne with a passion for exploring new ways of implementing technologies with students. He specialises in using Minecraft as a virtual learning platform and incorporating the Blockchain into the curriculum. Tom teaches programming classes at Wooranna Park Primary School where he utilises Minecraft mods to teach coding as well as a weekly Cisco class where he teaches computer networking and network infrastructure.”

  • Joseph Harris, Founder and CEO – Gratitude
    “Joe is a 21 year old software/electrical engineering technician from Sydney – he spent the last year living in Asia working closely with startups in a technical capacity. His work with them raised over $1million in the last 6 months. Gratitude is his latest venture, it gathers data from young adults suffering from depression and allows clinics to use this data to treat them more effectively. Over 2000 gratitudes have been entered in the MVP app journal.”



Submitted by Fiona Campbell

Fiona Campbell

Fiona is a producer who brings an international perspective to the team, with a background and experience in Scotland, Singapore and Shanghai. She is a foodie, a keen netballer and passionate about travel.
Fun fact about Fiona – She survived cycling down ‘the world’s most dangerous road’! (In Bolivia, South America)

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