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Laura Rojas is appointed as Vibewire’s new Executive Director

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Announcement: Vibewire’s commitment to young women in leadership, Laura Rojas is appointed as Vibewire’s new Executive Director.

Youth-led and youth run not-for-profit, Vibewire has announced, the next-gen leader, Laura Rojas as Executive Director on International Women’s Day.

As an organization, Vibewire acts as platform to support and advocate young people to think differently. Vibewire backs young people as the change makers of tomorrow through skills workshops, open-forum talks, social impact hackathons, and a long standing creative and tech coworking space for under 30s.

With Laura’s background in technology and business, and a keen interest and understanding of the startup ecosystem in Sydney, she is well placed to build on Vibewire’s almost 20 year history as a youth-oriented social and creative innovator.

Laura explains, “I’ve known about Vibewire for a while and have seen it shift and change into a community that is adamant on making a difference to young people. It provides a sandbox approach that encourages play and a safe way to try new ways of doing things. I feel that spaces like Vibewire are imperative to the development of tomorrow’s world.”

Hitting the ground running, Laura and the board are busy in planning mode to deliver another rich year of social and creative impact innovation. Vibewire’s second social impact hackathon of the year will be held in May, 2018 – with a focus on “financial inclusion”.

“It feels apt that on International Women’s Day Vibewire appoints a young woman in a leadership role – one who will help create a new future for women and young people across New South Wales. We look forward to working with and supporting Laura and the team in the years ahead”, says Vibewire President, Gavin Heaton.


About Vibewire

At Vibewire, we’re not your average co-working space, incubator or accelerator.

We are a skills gym that makes young people ‘enterprise’ fit. Whether you’re an artist, freelancer, working in a startup or a corporate – you’ve noticed the world is changing rapidly around us.

We’re backing young people as the future makers driving this change. We know to get things right, you usually need to get it wrong first. In the results driven world of business and study, you’re often marked against your abilities. There’s not always a space and community where you can experiment and learn, fail safe and push boundaries.

That’s what we’re all about – exercising your brain through an intensive program with real project briefs, expert coaches and our inspiring members. We do through through 4 workout sessions – Soapbox Club, Dollar Dollar Bill, Hack-A-Thing and Start Up Sundays – as a part of our Skills Gym.

#Hack4DV Interview with Start Some Good

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We are now into day 2 of our social impact hackathon targeting Family and Domestic Violence #Hack4DV [8-10 Dec 2017]

In the lead up to #Hack4DV we caught up with the kind folks at for an interview around our inspiration and motivations behind the project.

Check some of the answers below [full interview here]: 

Where did you get the original inspiration for your project?

#Hack4DV is our second social impact Hackathon, following on from our successful first offering #Hack4homelessness in early this year in September.

Vibewire President, Gavin Heaton, has extensive experience in the Hackathon circuit. Hackathons are a great way of making significant change in a very short period of time! Many different corporates and community organisations can come together to share their knowledge and data for a common purpose.

What was the hardest aspect of starting a project?

The hardest aspect of starting a project like this is getting the word out! Attracting as many participants as possible and enough funding to make the event a reality.

What kind of support do you think that changemakers in your community need?

Mentorship and financial support e.g. grants, co-working space etc. It takes a lot of work to get ideas off the ground and young people need to be connected to the right people who share their common goal and believe in their project.

What would be your one piece of advice for people who want to make a positive impact?

Be persistent, keep drilling away and try to connect with the right people at Hackathon’s like #Hack4DV as well as through meetup groups like

Stayed tuned for results from the #Hack4DV !!

Meet Jon Westenberg from Speedlancer

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Introducing Jon Westenberg who will be attending this weekends #Hack4DV (8-10 December) in a mentorship capacity.

Jon is the Chief Marketing Officer at Speedlancer Inc. and has shared his own personal childhood DV experience with us in the video interview below.

Limited spots are left to help us on our mission to solve for Domestic Violence at #Hack4DV but not too late to register and bring your ideas to the Hack starting tonight!

Register here now and let’s confront this challenging issue together!

Register to participate at the Hackathon here

Support our crowdfunding campaign here

See you tonight!

Meet Sybil Williams from Atomic Tangerine

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Introducing Sybil Williams who will be attending this weekends #Hack4DV (8-10 December) in a mentorship capacity.

Sybil is the Founder of Strategic Marketing Consultancy Atomic Tangerine and has shared her own childhood experience with us in the video interview below.

Limited spots are left to help us on our mission to solve for Domestic Violence at #Hack4DV but not too late to register and bring your ideas to the Hack starting tomorrow night.

Register here now and let’s confront this challenging issue together!

Register to participate at the Hackathon here

Support our crowdfunding campaign here

See you this weekend!

Meet Simi Bajaj from WSU

By | Hack4DV, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed | No Comments

Simi Bajaj will be on the #Hack4DV judging panel this weekend (8-10 December). Simi is the Academic Course Advisor (Information Systems program) in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at Western Sydney university. Simi has been working in the area of DV actively from last 5 years supporting women primarily facing the challenges of DV. She is the DV coordinator for a charity organisation called Harman Foundation.

Simi has specialised in SDLC, Project Management, Test Strategy, Test Planning, Test Design, Test Execution, Defect Management, Test Management, Process Management and Implementation since 2004 and has a wealth of experience in all areas of the project and product life cycle and testing working with numerous industry sectors.

Simi has been doing research in the areas of Software Development, Software Testing, Information systems, Cybercrime, Phishing and Information Security. She has also acted as session chair in conference and published papers in local and mostly in International conferences. She has been reviewing papers for conferences and journals since 2004.

Learn more about Simi in the video interview below!

Register to participate at the Hackathon here

Support our crowdfunding campaign here

See you this weekend!

Note from Executive Director, Susan Shi on 2017 Results

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2017 – What a year! It’s been non-stop planning, passionate people, late nights, crazy ideas we’ve scrapped and crazy ideas that we’ve made a reality! Below is a celebration of the highlights and an announcement that I will be taking on a new opportunity in the United States.

I’ve built a new team from the ground up with a culture centring around integrity, bias for action and purpose. Our mission was to realign the organisation back to its roots – Vibewire as platform to help young Australians enterprise. Today’s demands are ever changing and we wanted to ensure that young people weren’t just responding to changes in their careers and businesses, but they have the mindset and tools to instigate and lead that change. To prepare them, we built the Skills Gym.

Here’s a snapshot of the results from the last 14 months:

  • Launched our new strategy – the Skills Gym with 3 workouts – Soapbox Club, Start-Up Sundays and Hack-A-Thing with over 800 young Australians passing through. We’ve finalised the design of the last workout, Dollar Dollar Bill and this will commence in 2018
  • Designed and piloted a new sprint model with one of world’s largest media companies – GroupM, where we closed the gap between clients, agencies and startups
  • Built out our wider community to 10,000+ young Australians change makers/entrepreneurs!
  • Doubled our Vibewire startup memberships!
  • Ran Hack4Homelessness where we’re now supporting the winners create sustainable change. Full report is available here. This Dec 8-10 we’ll be running Hack4Domestic Violence – register now, details are here.
  • Collaborated with our wider tech/ creative arts community by running Geek Girl Dinners on how to negotiate change and our Vivid 2017 Program – Pitch The Future where we had 4 national finalists pitch their businesses on how to make technology more human.

Thank you to all our Community; Partners; the Board – Gavin Heaton, Leya Reid, Anne-Marie Elias; my wonderful Team – Shannon Bourke, Rowan Devereux and Sophie Saville; and my partner SOAPBOX Coach – Neil Gomez. Without your energy and hard work, ideas just stay ideas. We’ve given young people a platform to fail fast and risk free, challenge their ability to enterprise and help solve for some of the most difficult social issues in Australia. I’m really proud of everything we’ve achieved together.

Now that Vibewire is thriving – I’ve decided to take on a new opportunity in the United States to scale a new business venture and will be relocating to the west coast. My last day at Vibewire will be 1 December 2017. The Board will update on the new leadership team early 2018.

Though I’m sad to leave, I’m looking forward to see what’s in store for Vibewire and the Australian change maker community in 2018.

It’s an exciting time to be alive so remember to be brave, try new things and make sure your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears!

Keep in touch

Hope to see you at our Christmas Party on 14 Dec!
Happy holidays!


Susan Shi
Executive Director, Vibewire

Catch up with #Hack4homelessness Winners ‘CareConnect’

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In the lead up to our 2nd social change hackathon – tackling Domestic and Family Violence – #Hack4DV [8-10 Dec] we caught up with our previous #Hack4homelessness winners CareConnect to let you know what you can expect!

Q: Kim, Linda and John – Congrats for winning Hack4Homelessness! Were you first time or seasoned hack goers? Can you share what your experience was like over the hack weekend?
John: It was my first time at a hackathon and it’s incredible just thinking back to it. The weekend was really exciting and I definitely had too little sleep.  Having access to mentors and representatives from the industry was extremely valuable because their insights helped us to continually iterate. From the very beginning, you can instantly tell that VibeWire put a lot of effort into organising the entire event. I am super excited to have all the hard work pay off especially since we are still making our idea a reality!
Linda: I had previously attended a 1 day hackathon with Gavin at UNSW at the end of last year, which was really my only exposure to hackathons prior to the hack4homelessness. I knew i needed to go to another one, but hadn’t been looking out for any for a while. The Weekend Hack was quite different, to the one day event, there were many more subject matter experts and mentors floating around the space, workshops and we even got to speak with a few homeless people to really understand their pain points too. Overall, the experience was amazing, and I learnt a lot about the sector as well as starting a business over just 1 weekend.
Kim: This was my first hackathon and there aren’t quite enough words to describe the intensity, excitement and diligence in the room that continued from the minute it started. Working with people I’ve never worked with before, learning from people I’d just met, and thinking about the people and sector we’d come together to try and help was shared value practice at its best. I’m blown away by everyone’s commitment and passion for making a difference and I’m proud to be part of the experience. There were some self-reflective moments too that pushed me outside my comfort zone amongst the frantic but focused thinking and designing. And I thrive on that! I’d encourage everyone to participate, or even just observe, the magic of a well organised hackathon in an area you’re passionate about.
Q: What’s the best tweet length description of your idea – CareConnect?
Team: CareConnect is an online platform for orgs. working in the #homelessness sector to streamline sharing & booking services. It makes current processes more efficient & effective, supporting the strength of existing partnerships & creating new opportunities.
Q: What’s the scope of the problem you’re solving and where have you tested the idea so far?
Team: Our scope is to support the people working in the homelessness sector (and possibly beyond!) by providing a more efficient process for booking client services with other organisations. For example, an organisation provides accommodation but needs to work with another organisation to access medical services for their client. Our platform will streamline the current process to find, book and share information between organisations. It will also help raise awareness of the full scope of services available at each organisation. There is the potential to extend this platform to all services provided to those in need in other sectors. The first version of our platform will be designed for organisational use only but it could extend to use by individuals to access opportunities, where possible and appropriate.
Q: Outside of the hack, how have you continued to build on the idea?
Team: Four of our original team of six have committed to continue working on our idea as a passion project with the support of Vibewire, NCOSS, Jewish House, Exodus Foundation and many of the organisations involved in the hackathon. We’ve been meeting with NCOSS and agencies that provide services to homelessness as we continue to research the needs of those using our platform, sought funding, and presented our pitch at NCOSS Investing For Good conference and Jewish House AGM. We have regular team meetings and are committed to progressing our idea beyond concept if we are certain we can build a viable product that’s truly valuable to the sector.
Q: On a more personal front, what has been your biggest learning from this hack experience?

Team: We have learnt so much about so many things over the last two months, but the biggest impact on us has been understanding the people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. We’ve spoken with and heard from people who have been or who are homeless. They’ve shared what it’s like to sleep rough, the many challenges they battle daily and what they’ve been able to overcome. We now know how quickly a situation can change and that it can happen to anyone at any time. And we continue to learn about ourselves and what we can achieve together.

#Hack4DV will take place Friday 8 Dec – Sunday 10 Dec

at MnM Institute 

39 Liverpool Street, Sydney 

Eventbrite registration 

If you are interested in mentoring the Hackathon teams let us know here!


Hope to see you there!