Optus $200K grant to be split among five Aussie innovators
Five Australian digital and social innovators have received a share of $200,000 as part of the 2020 Optus Future Makers program. After submitting their technology innovations in late 2019, Nitin Fernande, Narelle Priestley, Frances Atkins, Bronwyn Covill and Clive Vaz were shortlisted finalists for the 2020 Future Makers capacity building and accelerator program.
The five finalists were mentored over six months, with experts across Optus helping them hone their ideas and develop pitches that would go on to secure funding from Optus Future Makers 2020.
Nitin Fernandez, co-founder of the care and rehabilitation innovation Maslow, received the top grant of $75,000 as well as winning the $10,000 People’s Choice Award, which will go towards delivering a voice-enabled rehabilitation assistant for young people living with paralysis.
Each finalist pitched to a panel of judges from Optus that included Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, CEO, Richard Webby, MD Digital, Kate Aitken, VP HR, Andrew Buay, VP Group Sustainability and Helen Maisano, Director Optus Group Sustainability.
Clive Dickens, VP TV, Content and Product Development, was also involved in selecting the start-ups and presenting during the program.
“Yet again, the Optus Future Makers event has left the panel truly inspired by the range of meaningful and purpose-driven innovations across our country. Collaboration between established organisations and start-ups is critical to harnessing technology innovation in Australia,” Dickens said.
Helen Maisano, Optus’s Director for Group Sustainability, said the Optus Future Makers program enables valuable opportunities to support innovation and purpose-driven social entrepreneurs and allows them to make a positive social impact with the use of technology.
“Accessing technologies and bridging digital divides is core to driving what we do at Optus: improving the lives of those across the country, especially those disadvantaged and vulnerable. We are incredibly proud of our Optus Future Makers program and our alumni of purpose-driven innovators,” Maisano said.
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