Laptop Launchpad: Finder and Good360 partner to bridge digital divide
Media Release 11 November 2022, Sydney, Australia – Australian comparison platform Finder has partnered with not-for-profit Good360 Australia 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.”
With Australia accelerating efforts towards circularity by 2030, it is critical that all sectors of the economy and society are working together collaboratively and cooperatively to address the increasing resource constraints, inequities in resource allocation and growing waste challenges. This requires consumers, businesses, governments, and the charitable sector to all play their part in creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all, recognising we are all part of a collective dynamic ecosystem that is co-creating our future together.
Congratulations to our Member of the Month for March, Uniting Vic.Tas. Uniting Vic.Tas run several programs to assist communities in need and provide donations from Good360 in addition to services they provide. Since becoming a member in 2018, they have shared numerous impact stories of the joy they have created, especially to communities who have not experienced outreach previously. Read below on some of their programs and some special stories they have experienced on the ground.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year UN Women Australia’s 2023 theme is ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future’. This brings an opportunity for everyone to acknowledge the power of innovative technologies and systems in the advancement of women, who are marginalised globally and have a smaller presence in the digital world. We are also challenged to address the current barriers in place that keep women stagnant and play our small part to welcome women to move through society as comfortably as men.