A local charity has teamed with Council to offer young entrepreneurs a chance to win funding and start-up advice.

Youth suicide prevention charity Share the Spark is holding a competition modelled on the popular TV program Shark Tank to offer young people a chance to win funding and mentorship for a great business idea.

The event, known as Spark Tank, will have a prize pool of $20k that is being co-sponsored by Northern Beaches Council who is matching funds raised by the community up to $10k.

Young people between the ages of 8-23 are eligible to enter, with contestants being separated into two age brackets, 8-16 years and 17-23 years. To enter the competition, they will need to:

  • Form a team of at least two people
  • Come up with a business idea
  • Submit an entry by next Tuesday (31 August)
  • Pitch the idea at the live event on 08 October
Austin Turpin from FlipTech

Spark Tank was last held in 2019. Winner in the 8-16 years category Austin Turpin (image above) with his friend Lucas Farrugia, won $1,250 seed funding and ten weeks mentoring for their e-waste recycling business idea. The company which grew from their idea, FlipTech, grossed over $60k in revenue last year.

Director of Share the Spark, Kimberly Clouthier said the program is designed to aid teen suicide prevention through confidence and capacity building.

Kimberly Clouthier

Kimberly Clouthier

“There is no cure for suicide. That is why we focus on prevention, and the earlier the better. The time to prevent diabetes or cancer is when you are still healthy; by exercising, eating well and keeping your stress levels low.

“The same holds true for suicide prevention. We want to help young people stay positive and inspired so they keep making life affirming choices and have the resilience and support they need when challenging times come,” said Ms Clouthier.

Share the Spark provides free ongoing micro-mentoring programs that match young people up with professionals, usually in their work environment. The programs allow young people to experiment and choose who they would like to spend time with, and for how long. Any youth between the ages of 8–23 who feel they would benefit by spending time with someone who is passionate about what they do can sign up anytime to participate at http://sharethespark.org.au/.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said Council was delighted to support the competition to develop the entrepreneurial skills of local young people.

Michael Regan

Michael Regan

“We have many examples of talented local young people in the arts, entertainment and sport who with nurturing and guidance and support will have very bright futures ahead of them.

“The same goes for young people who may have a great business idea or service that could launch them into a stellar career. This is a great initiative to support our future leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. I encourage the Northern Beaches community to get behind it,” said Mayor Regan.

Members of the public who would like to watch the local young people pitch their ideas can register to attend the event for free, which will be held online this year.

Funds are being raised for the prize pool via a crowd-funding initiative at Chuffed.org, with Council matching community donations up to a cap of $10k. At the time of writing, donations stood at $3,900.

Images: Share the Spark

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