Media Release: Australia’s top young entrepreneurs win share of $100k seed funding

Media Release: Australia’s top young entrepreneurs win share of $100k seed funding

A digital mapping tool designed to empower young women, a luxury lifestyle company keeping our oceans clean and an educational app providing legal information to young people are among the finalists of a $100,000 prize pool in the culmination of the 2017 Young Social Pioneers program run by the Foundation for Young Australians’ (FYA).

Over 50 young entrepreneurs from across Australia pitched their idea or venture for social impact in just two and a half minutes to a live audience and an expert judging panel, who selected nine finalists at two events held in Melbourne and Sydney.

FYA CEO, Jan Owen said each of the finalists were now in the driver’s seat to amplify the impact of their venture.

“The ideas, talent and desire to create social change that each of the participants demonstrated is just the tip of the iceberg in this country. Over the past six months they’ve received support to develop the competencies, networks and links to the broader ecosystem required to be a successful young entrepreneur,” Ms Owen said.

“By connecting young changemakers through this national program we increase our potential for challenging the status quo, addressing the socio-economic inequalities and building a world that future generations want to live in. We can’t wait to see what each of the cohort do next and congratulate each of them on their efforts to date.”

Now in its eighth year of operation, with an alumni of nearly 300, YSP is Australia’s first, and only, national youth entrepreneurship incubator designed exclusively for young people leading initiatives that respond to society’s most pressing challenges.

The 2017 YSP cohort were selected from over 400 applicants across Australia.

This year’s program was made possible through the support of FYA’s key corporate and philanthropic partners The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, The Dyson Bequest, Andy Myer and Kerry Gardner, The Sunshine Foundation, Nelson Meers Foundation, The Wilson Foundation, UBS, Citi and Charter Hall.

The 2017 Young Social Pioneers’ finalists are:

Arts –  Jessica Moody, Co-Founder of Deafferent Theatre

Jessica is a 26 year old theatre maker from Melbourne. In 2015, she co-founded Deafferent Theatre, a company rooted in the artistic, and deaf/hard of hearing community. Deafferent Theatre produces bilingual theatre and public events bringing together diverse communities. Deafferent Theatre are winners of the 2016 Melbourne Fringe ‘Best Emerging Producer’ award. Jessica’s last production with Deafferent Theatre, ‘Black is the Colour’ was nominated for two Green Room Awards.

Sustainability – Syed Mansoor, Founder of Water Democracy

Syed is a 27 year old entrepreneur and engineer from Sydney and originally from Pakistan. He had experienced Water Problems first-hand and wanted to do something about it as more than half a billion people lack access to clean water despite the technologies being available. He found a gap between the technologies and the intended users in terms of high prices and complexity of the machines and decided to develop user-focused water purification solutions.

Environment – Daniel Smith, Founder of Clean Coast Collective

Daniel is a 28 year old social entrepreneur based in Byron Bay. In 2014 he founded Clean Coast Collective, a not-for-profit lifestyle brand committed to cleaning up our oceans. Clean Coast Collective stops plastic pollution at the source by selling modern plastic-free alternatives, the profits from product sales then help fund massive beach clean up expeditions in remote Australia. To date, they’ve removed over 4 tonnes of coastal pollution.

Open – Whitney Stacey, Founder and Director of Monochrome Coffee Co.

Whitney is 24-year-old a social entrepreneur at heart, based in Melbourne. She founded her first organisation, Monochrome International, at 19. The organisation supports 26 children to attend primary school in Tanzania and has worked with 400 parents throughout East Africa. Whitney has since founded Monochrome Coffee Co. – set up to exponentially grow Monochrome International’s impact. Whitney is passionate about people finding what they love, doing it really well and doing it every day.

Youth Mental Health – Olivia Flemming, Founder and Director – The Little HELP Project Tasmania

Liv is a 21 year old medical student from Tasmania with a passion for mental health and empowering young people. In 2014, Liv founded a non-for-profit, youth-based organisation called The Little HELP Project Tasmania (LHP). She and her team present full-day preventative workshops to local schools and community groups . To date LHP has reached over 8, 000 young adults and is constantly evolving to help empower and up-skill young people.

Youth Mental Health – Mikhara Ramsing, Founder – Ethnic LGBT+

Mikhara is a 27 year old social entrepreneur from regional NSW. In 2017 she founded ‘Ethnic LGBT+’, a free online community resource intended to provide support, education and mentorship for individuals who identify at the intersection of sexual and gender diversity and cultural and linguistic diversity. Ethnic LGBT+ has reached 100s of individuals around Australia and is based on the strong belief that stories save lives. Mikhara is currently travelling around Australia  empowering youth with skills for the future and the platform to share their stories.

Education – Susan Flynn, RReal

Susie is a 25 year old social entrepreneur from Sydney. In 2014, along with university friends she helped found the legal education project, RREAL. RREAL seeks to empower young people with legal knowledge and resources through the delivery of interactive legal workshops and the development of a legal education app. RREAL assists young people to more better navigate the legal system by helping them to identify legal problems and where they can go for help.

Indigenous – Lisa Rapley, Co-Founder, Yuludarla Karulbo

Lisa is a 28 year old Gumbaynggirr woman from Brisbane. In 2016 she co -founded Yuludarla Karulbo, an organistation with two important goals. The first is to engage Indigenous people in sharing culture in our wider communties, and the second is to empower Indigenous youth to achieve their dreams. Yuludarla Karulbo has delivered cultural workshops to over 1200 school children, and is in the process of creating a space to empower Indigenous youth on their leadership journey.

Cities + Placemaking – Zoe Condliffe, Youth Advocacy Advisor – Free To Be (Plan International)

Zoe Condliffe is a 27 year old from Melbourne and is the Youth Advocacy Advisor at Plan International. She plays a leading role in the Free To Be project; a digital mapping tool designed to empower young women to share their stories of street harassment and advocate for change. With a background in sociology, gender, development, arts and community practice, Zoe has founded several community development initiatives and social enterprises working across the non-profit, arts, university and corporate sectors. As an experienced facilitator and gender equality advocate, she builds youth-led movements that work closely with young people as the central agents of social change.

Health – 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.

The 2017 program has participants across 9 categories including:

Arts – Supported by The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

Sustainability – Supported by The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

Environment – Supported by Dyson Bequest

Open – Supported by Dyson Bequest, The Sunshine Foundation, The Nelson Meers Foundation, Andy Myer & Kerry Gardner

Youth Mental Health – Supported by Wilson Foundation

Education – Supported by UBS

Indigenous Focus – Supported by Citi

Cities and Placemaking – Supported by Charter Hall

Health – Supported by Abbott

Meet all of the 2017 participants here.


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