Academy Xi has teamed up with Not-for-Profit [NFP] organisations in Melbourne to launch the first ever Growth Hack Idol competition. We’re on the lookout for growth hackers to work with NFP’s to help solve growth challenges and discover new opportunities.

Melbourne NFP StartOut is just one of four organisation’s that will partake in Growth Hack Idol. StartOut has a unique opportunity that will put growth hackers skills to the test.

To help improve the mental health of young people of diverse sexuality and gender [DSG], StartOut is gearing up to launch its online mentoring app. Adam Dent, cofounder of StartOut, says the timing is unintentional, and it’s more important now than ever to get the message of support out into the community.

“There’s really never been a more important time for what we want to do. Young people are struggling right now and are faced with it every single day,” says Adam.

With the marriage rights of the LGBTQ community being debated on a national stage, there has never been a greater divide among the public on sexuality and gender preference. The ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns are divisive and this is the time where the LGBTQ community needs support the most.

According to the the National LGBTI Health Alliance, LGBTQ people aged between 16 and 27 are five times more likely to attempt suicide than the national average.

It is believed that the high suicide rate among the LGBTQ community may be lowered by increasing education and providing greater access to support networks.

In acknowledging how vital support networks are for the LGBTQ community, StartOut offers a connection between youth and role models. The app will connect LGBTQ role models with youth who are too scared to seek help and advice from their friends, family or local community.

Before, during and after launch, StartOut needs to find a way to reach out to youth in need of support. Adam explains that the organisation is challenged with the job of reaching out to people who are not yet confident in making their sexuality or gender publicly known.

“Essentially the problem we’ve got is that the people we need to get to, are the people that are too afraid to say they’re gay for example,” explains Adam.

We spoke with Adam about why growth hacking is vital for NFP’s like StartOut.

Q. What is StartOut’s biggest challenge?

“We’ve now got to a point where we’re ready to launch the online platform. We have 85 mentors trained and we want to get that to 200. We’ve got to reach kids who are struggling in places where they’re harder to reach.”

Q. How will this challenge be solved?

“That’s going to take some pretty clever thinking because you can’t just turn up to a local LGBTQ support group, because the people we think are struggling the most aren’t yet confident enough to go to those groups.

“We need to use social media very cleverly and we’d love to get help on how we can appropriately target the audience, given they’re almost deliberately hard to find.

“Our research tells us they’re definitely looking for help online. Our challenge is to make sure we’re prevalent enough and turn up in all the right places where someone might search for us. We know they may not be out about their sexuality but they probably follow certain social media influences who are, and they’re looking for inspiration from people like that.”

Q. Why is this challenge so important to solve?

“The biggest thing is that fundamentally everyone needs someone to talk to. Someone they can trust who is able to say: ‘I know it must be hard for you now, I’ve been there, it’s a cold and dark place, but I’m here with you.’

“More than anything our mentors are role models who can provide evidence that things can turn out okay.”

Growth Hack Idol pitch night launches October 11. Register now as a hacker to help organisations like StartOut grow!

Register Here

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