[ID Sub 4764] ME4You (Forward Thinking Solutions)

Submission ID: 4764
Organisation name: Forward Thinking Solutions
Contact name: Dr Laura Hougaz
State: VIC
Contact email: laurahougaz@gmail.com
Contact number: 0404458590

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents, Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?

Experience and research shows that breaking the cycle of homelessness and disadvantage, and the accompanying cycle of poverty, needs to happen through intervention and investing early with young people. Homelessness and employment services focus efficiently on stable accommodation, social security and wellbeing, however are ineffective in offering innovative education and employment options.

Marginalised youth are often not prepared to engage in traditional style of work and education: expecting ‘normal’ behaviour and attitudes from disengaged youth may not always be a viable option.

New concepts in positive psychology emphasize the need to focus on the strengths and resources in our community, rather than the deficit based approaches that underlie so many public services.

Recent research shows that homeless and disadvantaged youth have a propensity to ‘think differently’ and risk take; when in combination with other entrepreneurial characteristics, they may become successful entrepreneurs with a little stability and positive support, and become empowered to become the decision makers of their destiny and their lives. Socially excluded, they are however at a disadvantage in information, education, resources and networks.

The ME4You program offers a comprehensive and collaborative model as a sustainable solution to long term youth unemployment, homelessness and di

What is your idea?
ME4You is a proactive, early intervention strategy and program to support young people (18-25) with demonstrable entrepreneurial skills who are at risk of, or experiencing homelessness, disadvantage or marginalisation into self-employment by promoting entrepreneurial skills and developing their ideas into viable enterprises. It will connect with marginalised youth, build on their entrepreneurial mindset, foster their entrepreneurial capability through guidance and education, business development and innovation support.

ME4You will establish a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem through a 4 phase program:

Phase 1 – Accommodation & Wellbeing – Integrate with existing support services to provide a level of stability for targeted youth in health and welfare services, housing support services through a strong network of partnership. Ongoing support for at least 2 years is essential for successful outcomes.

Phase 2 – Guidance, Education & Training – Foster awareness and skills in employability, entrepreneurship, business development. Promote self-awareness of talents and skills, self-esteem and resilience.

Phase 3 – Business/Innovation Development – Long-term professional support for a sustainable enterprise (individual or group). Access to expert professional assistance tailored to participants’ needs.

Phase 4 – Evaluation & Research – Ongoing research, evaluation and advocacy to be fed back into the program, and inform and influence social policy at a higher level.