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The way that we earn, spend, give and invest money, as well as learn and prepare about finance, is constantly evolving. 

Australians are some of the wealthiest people in the world, with over 13.25 million working Australians. However, statistics show that as a nation we are ill-equipped to make smart financial decisions... and this lack of financial capability can negatively impact our financial wellbeing.

Each generation has the opportunity to find problems and create solutions that work for them, and create financial stability and wellbeing. 

That's why between January & July 2023, we will be challenging young people aged 10-21 across Australia to ideate solutions to reimagine the future of finance by tackling this question: "How might we see money differently?"

As part of this challenge, we're asking young people to focus on one of four key themes:

  1. Doing Good with Money: How might we use the money we earn or have to make our world a better place?
  2. Gaming and Financial Literacy: How might we use the popularity of gaming to build financial independence in a fun way?
  3. Money and Mental Health: How might we help people feel calmer and in control of their finances?
  4. Earning Money in Different Ways: How might we help Generation Z/Alpha manage multiple jobs/income opportunities (e.g. side hustles, casual jobs)?

Read on to find out more about the challenge, including our challenge judges, prizes and resources!


Challenge Details

What is the challenge? 

The Future of Finance Youth Design Challenge is a free online design thinking challenge that empowers youth to consider how they can reimagine the future of finance and make it more engaging and relevant to young people. It empowers youth to identify problems, reframe them as opportunities, develop solutions, and create prototypes. Young people aged 10-21 will also be able to enter the challenge and be in the draw to win prizes to help them develop their ideas further.

Why is this important now?

Financial stability is a crucial life lesson that shapes the way we live. Despite being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, more than one-third of Australians are financially illiterate and are ill-equipped to make smart financial decisions.

Furthermore, higher financial literacy directly correlates with higher life satisfaction levels. With young people being amongst the country's least financially literate age group, it's more important now than ever to encourage them to create solutions that work for them and empower them to build strong financial foundations.

Through this challenge, young people will have the opportunity to ideate sustainable and practical solutions for how they can approach finances in 2023 and beyond. 

Categories and Judging

There are two entry categories:

  • Junior Category: 10-13-year-olds (3 winners will be chosen)
  • Senior Category: 14-21-year-olds (5 winners will be chosen)

All of our entrants will receive feedback, and the top 20 ideas will be shortlisted and taken to our judging panel. Winning ideas will be selected from the pool of the top 20 finalist ideas.

Five winners from each category will be chosen by our judging panel.

Winners will be announced in August.


The winners for each category will receive the following prizes: 

Junior Category

  • A Future of Finance certificate; and
  • A Young Change Agents prize pack.

Senior Category

  • An invitation to participate in a 3-day YINC (Youth Incubator) program in Sydney during the September / October 2023 school holidays. Travel scholarships of $1-2K per team are available for winning teams. The YINC will be an opportunity for the winners to bring their ideas and leave with an MVP (minimum viable product). Winners will receive additional support, plenty of group working time, and opportunities to participate in masterclasses and mentoring;
  • Teams will receive support on the following topics: business modeling and budgeting, customer persona mapping and user journeys, creating an MVP, storytelling and crowdfunding, partnerships, and networking. There will also be experts in product/industrial design and UX/UI development;
  • 6-month mentoring between September 2023-March 2024. Each team will receive 6 x monthly mentoring sessions;
  • Youth crowdfunding campaigns supported by the team at Young Change Agents; and 
  • Inclusion in our PR campaign.


How do I participate?

Youth: You can do this challenge independently, with a friend, in a team, or with your siblings! Just download the resources, do the challenge, and submit a project page! 

Educators & Parents: If you'd like your students or children to participate in this challenge, please download the resources via the signup form. You will receive access to all of the resources you need to run the challenge with your students or children. You can submit a project page on behalf of your students or children, or they can do it themselves. Instructions for entering the challenge can be found in the resources.

All challenge entries must be submitted by the challenge close date on Friday 30 June 2023

Will I get feedback?

All ideas submitted before the challenge close date on Friday 30 June will receive feedback from the Young Change Agents team.

Who can enter?

Anyone aged 10-21 years old can enter and participate in this challenge.

Who are Young Change Agents?

Young Change Agents is a not-for-profit social enterprise that empowers young people across Australia to find problems in their community, reframe them as opportunities, and then come up with solutions.



How is the challenge structured?

1. Choose one of the challenge areas

You need to choose one of the following themes to focus on:

Doing Good with Money: How might we use the money we earn or have to make our world a better place?

Gaming and Financial Literacy: How might we see the popularity of gaming to build financial independence in a fun way?

Money and Mental Health: How might we help people feel calmer and in control of their finances?

Earning money in Different Ways: How might we help Generation Z / Alpha manage multiple jobs and income opportunities (e.g. side hustles and casual jobs)?

Now that you’ve chosen, it’s time to start the design challenge!

2. Explore the problem and dig deeper using empathy interviews

You want to start by deep diving into the challenge you’ve chosen. You may want to look at some of the additional resources to get a better understanding of the topic you’ve chosen.

Then, it’s time to find someone you can interview about the challenge. These interviews are known as “empathy interviews” as you start to learn more about the problem by empathising with the person you are interviewing and understanding some of the challenges they face.

So, find a partner and ask them to tell you about this problem and how it affects them. We have sample questions for each of the chosen themes but please feel free to ask your own as well.

For example: If you are the 'Doing Good with Money' theme, you might ask your partner the following questions:

  • What causes or problems do you care about in the world?
  • How do you or others around you use money to support a cause of problem?
  • Have you ever donated to charity?
  • Have you been asked to 'round up' at the supermarket or in online shopping, and what did you think of this experience?
  • What stops you from donating more?

Make sure to dig deeper as your partner answers by asking “why”!

To create a solution that will have a positive impact you need to think about who is being affected by the problem. Whilst we are all impacted by issues in the long run it’s important to be specific. Is it young people like you? Is it children in primary school? Maybe it's young adults? Try and figure out who you want to help!

Make sure you take plenty of notes as you interview your partner. Keep your notes from these interviews and it will be useful for the customer/user section of your submission!

3. Define your problem

From your empathy interviews, you will get interesting insights about some problems this person might have in helping to be part of the solution. Take a look through your notes and circle all of the problems or challenges you found in your empathy interviews.

Now pick the most important one. This problem should also feel exciting for you to solve.

For example:

"Jackie wants to give back to a charity, but doesn't know how or which one to choose!"
Cause: Jackie is overwhelmed by the amount of charities she can support.

4. Reframe your problem 

Now that you have identified the problem you are going to solve, it’s time to reframe that as an opportunity.

We want to reframe this so that we’re not thinking about this as a negative but rather, as an opportunity to be creative and innovative problem solvers! We do this by using a simple tool called a “How Might We” statement.

The trick with How Might We statements is to ensure they don’t include the solution in them. This limits our thinking.

For example, if we pick one of the causes of Jackie's problem:
“Jackie wants to give back to a charity, but doesn't know how or which one to choose!”

The question might become:
"How might we make it easier for Jackie to find information on charities that align with her values?"

5. Ideation

Now you have your opportunity, it is time to be creative and come up with ideas!

  • Get a notebook, post-its or some coloured paper and come up with as many ideas as you can.
  • Imagine you have one million dollars and you can do anything you want. Imagine you had to use tech to do it. Then imagine you had no access to tech..what would you do?
  • Push yourself to come up with at least ten different ideas. Then take a break and try and come up with even more!
  • Think about the audience you chose and how you could best help them.

Once you’ve got a lot of ideas, choose the one you think would best solve your opportunity. This is your solution.

Remember there’s no such thing as a bad idea!

6. Test the solution you have designed

Before you share your ideas or spend time building something, it’s a good idea to test and improve your ideas. This process is called validation. This could be done by talking to your parents about what you have created and asking for some feedback. You could even consult the target group you are trying to help (this may not work if you are helping animals), but you can make it even better as you get more feedback on your idea. Don’t forget to try and avoid close contact with people and use the internet and the phone where possible.

Another great way to test is to create a prototype - this is a draft version of your idea. You can do this by drawing what your idea would look like, creating a mini-version, building something out of recycled materials, or creating a plan of what the idea could look like. You can then show your prototype to potential users and ask for their feedback.

7. Share!

Now that you’ve got an idea, we want to hear all about it!

Click ‘Enter your idea’ at the top of this page to submit your idea.

Keep in mind we’ll ask you for a logo and a picture of your solution. This could be of your brainstorming, a picture of what your idea would look like, a poster promoting your idea or something else that is a visual representation of your idea.

By submitting your idea via the Young Change Agents website, you'll automatically be entered into the challenge and you can also be notified of other opportunities that may help support your idea in the future.


Additional Resources

For Youth

Ready to take on the challenge and come up with creative ideas for the Future of Finance? Have an idea that you think could change the world?

Sign up for the challenge, share your idea, and have the chance to get the support you need to make your idea a reality!

Sign up!

For Educators

To get access to all the resources you need to run this challenge, including worksheets, curriculum links, slides, and other activities, please sign up below and we will share these with you when the challenge goes live!

If you're interested in Young Change Agents running a facilitated challenge for your students, please get in touch or book a workshop with us via the Contact page.

Sign up to receive it here!

For Parents (of Under 18 Entrants)

The Future of Finance Youth Design Challenge is a great activity to build your children's confidence, and resilience and encourages them to view problems as opportunities. We provide you with all the resources you need to run this challenge with your children, including instructions on running the activities, submitting an entry, and additional resources to learn more about travel and tourism. 

This challenge is great for parents of creative and curious children who need an engaging and hands-on activity to build their entrepreneurial mindset, skillset, and toolset.

Sign up to receive it here!

Special Guest Judges

Parth Gulati

YCA Board Member and Product Leader @ Finder ​

Tori Rudolph

Strategic Partnerships manager at Fintech Australia

Jess Walker

Community and Programs Manager at Airtree

Hannah Ahn

Founder of Flair, Young Change Agents $20 Boss Alumni

Jimmy Kelly

Performance Partnerships Manager at Zip Co

Lucy Lindsay

Partner Solution Delivery Manager at Zip Co