Competition encourages thinking about community

Problems solved by community minded individuals or groups.
Sep 8, 2021
Brainstorming community problems.

The Westpac Youth Impact Challenge aims to help young Australians solve problems in their local communities.

Participants must identify a local problem and brainstorm an innovative business or social change idea to solve it. Participants can choose to work individually, or in a group of up to 3.

It is a nationwide initiative from the Australian School of Entrepreneurship and Westpac and is open to all young people around Australia aged 7 to 21 years.

All participants who complete the Challenge will receive a Certificate of Completion. Winners will receive an Exclusive Prize Pack which will include a Microsoft Surface laptop, The Academy Membership, a Spill the Beans Pitch Opportunity, financial education mentoring support for the business idea from Westpac’s Davidson Institute and a pitch opportunity at the final Challenge event.

Last year, over 86,000 young people participated in the Challenge and this year the organisers are expecting 120,000 plus.

Last year’s Winner A, Emily Gabriel from Victoria (16 years old) submitted Changing the world, One Pad at a Time.

Her idea was providing free or affordable sanitary products to those in need. She imagined the effect if a $15 donation could purchase 112 sanitary pads, enough pads for a female for eight months.

“It’s more than just sanitary pads, it's a female who doesn't have to choose between food for her children or sanitary pads that month. It could be a female who was in a domestic violence situation that has just left with her children, and she can't afford the essential sanitary items for herself,” Ms Gabriel says.

“I started to explore this after a conversation with my mum, who told me that when we fled our old past of domestic violence, she chose food for us and went without sanitary pads. I will admit, I did burst into tears. I took some gifts I was given for my birthday a few years prior and decided to run a small raffle.

“I asked a few friends and family to purchase a ticket for $15. I chose this amount because it a box of "pads" for a woman who is in need. After six days and with so many beautiful people sharing my $15 for Pad's idea and using social media to get my impressions of coming together for support, I was shocked!

“Our community had come together as I had never imagined, I felt like I had started my pandemic of support for our most in need. From a conversation with my mum about our past and how we can change others' feelings of dignity, I placed an order for 16,100 pads. OMG, yes, 16,100 pads is just crazy! In 6 days, I had a "pad pandemic of goodwill" Our community had gathered together to show what one small idea could do. I researched a not-for-profit company that works with women in domestic violence situations and the homeless.

“I rang Kate, the CEO, and told her that I had 16,100 pads being delivered to her. She told me that I was about to give self-dignity and worth back to 1,150 women in need. She asked what she could do for me, and I told her absolutely nothing as it gave me a sense of community, and that was the best feeling of all. I might only be one year 11 students from St Peters in Cranbourne Victoria who thinks we can change the world, one Pad at a time, but I honestly believe we can together,” she says.

Submission Video: