11 November 2022, Sydney, Australia – Australian comparison platform Finder has partnered with not-for-profit Good360 Australia on a new initiative called Laptop Launchpad, with the goal of uncovering 1 million retired business laptops and redistributing them to Australians in need.
The 2021 Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) found that 1 in 4 Australians are digitally excluded meaning that over 6 million Australians are at risk of being left behind in an increasingly digital society. The problem is particularly acute in low income households, regional Australia and remote First Nations communities.
At the same time Australia is creating more e-waste than ever. A recent UN report found that Australia creates more than 500,000 tonnes of e-waste a year making it the 5th worst offender in the world on a per person basis.
For Finder founder Fred Schebesta, uncovering the extent of the digital divide in Australia was the catalyst for wanting to address this issue, particularly around affordability.
“Earlier this year, I received a message on TikTok from an 18 year-old in regional NSW who needed a laptop. After hearing his story and discovering millions of people in Australia are living without digital access, I knew I had to help,” he said.
“When I was 18, my mother bought me my first computer and I used it for 10 years until there were keys missing and it no longer worked. I used that computer to build a website for my first client which sparked my passion for building businesses. I’ve experienced first hand how digital access can transform your life so I just want to give more people that opportunity to create and innovate through computers and the internet.”
Through the Laptop Launchpad initiative, Fred has joined forces with Good360 Australia to call on Australian businesses to put their unused laptops to good use, with the goal of donating 1 million laptops to people in need and raising $10 million to cover refurbishment costs by the end of 2025.
Finder is kicking off the campaign by pledging to donate all company laptops in the fifth year of the device’s life, as well as making a $20,000 donation to cover refurbishment costs.
“Particularly in large corporations, when laptops reach a certain age they are often retired for a newer device, and are left languishing in office storerooms or end up as e-waste. By encouraging businesses to donate these laptops instead, the experts at Good360 can refurbish them at scale and get them to Australians who need them the most.”
Good360 Australia is the charity partner behind the plan, offering 10 years of experience of redistributing surplus goods to society’s most vulnerable people.
It will ensure the laptops are refurbished and delivered to Australians in need through their network of over 3,000 charities and schools that include the likes of the Salvation Army, Vinnies, Save The Children, Drought Angels and Rural Aid Australia.
Alison Covington AM, Founder and Managing Director of Good360 Australia, said the digital divide is a big issue that needs to be solved at scale.
“Our network of charities are crying out for the technology and tools to bridge the digital divide in their communities. We know that the biggest impact we can have is by reducing affordability barriers. That’s why we’re particularly excited to be partnering with Finder to help us connect with businesses that can donate laptops in bulk.”
You can find out more about the digital divide, Laptop Launchpad and to register your interest in taking part here.