28 June 2022 22:12
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$500k funding plus probono training: Welcome to the world of ‘Opportunities Australia’

Unique opportunity to grow for refugees, migrants & indigenous entrepreneurs.

‘Opportunities Australia’ recently hosted a graduation ceremony in Sydney Town-Hall where 17 aspiring entrepreneurs pitched live for a chance to win up to half a million dollars. Participants got to present their workshopped business ideas, and a winner was chosen. The winner was Sahera Sumar from Worldwide Sheroes. Runner up was Luke Riley from Tha Bunka.

The 17 participants came from either migrant, refugee, or indigenous backgrounds, with a wide range of professional experience: from fitness to design, movie production to wedding planning.

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(Image Source: Kumar Jha, founder of Opportunities Australia)

The participants pitched their business ideas to a shark tank of some of Australia’s most outstanding entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and corporate heavyweights as each hoped to win funding of up to $500k to help them launch their businesses – and change their lives. Microsoft is providing up to $500k of funding for the initiative while Amazon has pitched in up to 100k. The funding is to enable entreprenuers to execute their ideas.

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(Image Source: Kumar Jha, founder of Opportunities Australia)
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Opportunities Australia is a not-for-profit set up in July 2020 by Indian-Australian Kumar Jha. It runs a pro-bono 8-week program in which they help entrepreneurs set up their businesses by guiding and coaching them in the areas of business plan, IT, legal, marketing, finance and sales pitch. They also connect them to venture capitalists such as Microsoft and Amazon. 

Opportunities Australia says its mission is to help people progress their careers and its niche is supporting refugees, migrants & indigenous people.

Speaking to The Australia Today founder of Opportunities Australia Kumar Jha said “The reason I started this charity is to help qualified people in getting a job in their own fields as there are too many of them doing labouring work etc. The job mismatch is a waste of their qualifications or experience”  

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(Image Source: Kumar Jha, founder of Opportunities Australia)

“Another reason is to train the entrepreneurs to establish their startups properly so they don’t fail as 95% of them do. The disadvantaged communities don’t always have a smooth run and need more support to establish themselves. They need to learn a lot of new information to operate their businesses and they don’t always have the money to afford the professionals; hence we provided free training” added Mr Jha.

The program this year on 11th May in Sydney included a keynote address from QLD Australian of the Year Dr Dinesh Palipana. Other prominent guests included CEO Wayside Chapel Jon Owen, Founder of Vinnies, CEO Sleepout Bernard Fehon, Head of Comms Vinnies Yolanda Saiz, CEO Service NSW Damon Rees, CTO PwC Timothy Larcos, Deputy Mayor Parramatta Sameer Pandey, CEO Multicultural NSW Joseph La Posta, Councillor Blacktown Moninder Singh, Azure Startup Lead Microsoft Sunil Mishra and Director AusRelief Danny Mikati.

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