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Turning great ideas into reality for youths


Turning great ideas into reality for youths

Young entrepreneurs receive the tools, resources and support they need through an initiative that has been operating for the past nine years.

An innovative challenge supporting young entrepreneurs in the region and born out of tackling unemployment is gearing up to celebrate its 10th year in the Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions.

Generation Innovation encourages young people, aged 15 to 21, to be empowered to turn their ideas into a business. Across the past nine years, through its annual GI Challenge, Generation Innovation has supported 150 young entrepreneurs including Josie Pacey, the founder of Keola Surf Wax.

“I could never have dreamed of taking Keola from a school project being sold at the Eumundi Markets to a real business venture supported by manufacturers and business community leaders,” she says.

“It simply would not be possible without the support and opportunity that is offered through the program of Generation Innovation.”

Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien founded Generation Innovation in response to rising youth unemployment on the Sunshine Coast.

“Our goal with Generation Innovation is to provide young entrepreneurs with the tools, resources and support they need to turn their ideas into reality,” Mr O’Brien says.

“We believe that by investing in our youth, we’re investing in the future of our economy and community.”

Generation Innovation director Emma Greenhatch says the ideas of the region’s youth have the power to change people’s lives and the world we live in for the better.

“Our 2024 GI Challenge will be a celebration of the past nine years and an extra special year for our 2024 cohort, with increased prizes, new program elements and more mentoring opportunities,” she says.

“We’re very grateful to our program partners whose contributions fully fund the delivery of the program each year.”

To mark this milestone, the winner’s prize package is doubling to $20,000 – comprising $10,000 cash and services valued at $10,000.

Platinum partner Youi Insurance is increasing its support with a three-year commitment to the program.

“Being part of the Sunshine Coast community, we admire the impactful work that Generation Innovation are doing to foster pathways for the next generation and we’re thrilled to be part of the program,” Youi’s Russell Redsell says.

“This partnership will see us host regular mentorship activities such as intensive workshops and guest speaker sessions for young innovators at our Youi HQ in Sippy Downs.”

This year’s program will run from July 15 to October 2.

Applications are now open and close on May 13.

Any young person with a business idea can apply at or email for further information.


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