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Youth Homelessness is Getting Worse, Not Better

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Despite the millions that have been invested in tackling homelessness, challenges remain. In fact, there seems to be more ways to be homeless than every before:

  • We live in overcrowded housing, sharing rooms with extended families and even strangers
  • We avoid the dangers of rough sleeping by couchsurfing and staying with friends a few nights at a time
  • We huddle in boarding houses and supported accommodation when we can find a place
  • We sleep rough.

Imagining a different future for young people

Imagine for a moment what it is like to do this. Think of the stress and anxiety that comes with not having a safe place to rest at the end of the day.

And then imagine that you are a young person.

The simple fact is that youth homelessness is rising. The CHP fact sheet reveals that youth homelessness has increased 26% from 2006-2016. And more recent figures confirm this worrying trend.

The thing about homelessness is that it often combines other challenges. For example, if you are homeless, it’s likely that you have experienced family and domestic violence, have (or will develop) mental health issues and experience financial exclusion and poverty. These create the conditions for a difficult downwards spiral that well-supported adults struggle to deal with. A young person may never find their way to a more stable future.

Think about the young people in your life. Think about the young people you pass in the street. Help us imagine a different future for them.

What you can do

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Vibewire was established with the belief that young people should create, not inherit the future. And our Hacks4Impact are designed to put power, choice and decision making into the hands (and minds) of young people. In April 2019, we are calling on the hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians to help us develop new solutions to homelessness. We know that what we have on offer are not working – and we need to start somewhere. That somewhere is the MnM Institute on 5-7 April. Join us we make a difference.

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