EXCITED: Laura Mansell was one of the participants to start the Generation Innovation Challenge on Saturday.
EXCITED: Laura Mansell was one of the participants to start the Generation Innovation Challenge on Saturday. Patrick Woods

Teen takes ‘pay what it’s worth’ cafe idea to challenge

MAROOCHYDORE teen Laura Mansell took her vision for her 'pay what it's worth' cafe to a youth entrepreneurship challenge run by Generation Innovation at the weekend.

Inspired by her recent involvement in the Queensland Youth Parliament, 17-year-old Laura wants to use the GI Challenge to test whether her idea for the novel eatery could be feasible.

"There's a lot of wasteful resources thrown out of supermarkets each week," she said. "Some is still perfectly edible. I want to get in touch with local supermarkets and ask if they can donate some of it."

The project would be not-for-profit, but through the GI Challenge she would establish her market and test the concept of a food shop run by volunteers.

GI Challenge participants will work in teams and receive training and mentoring to start their own business, said founder Ted O'Brien, also the LNP candidate for the federal seat of Fairfax.

Similar to Der Wiener Deewan in Vienna, or Melbourne's Lentil As Anything, Laura's idea would see patrons donate what they felt the meal was worth and what they could afford.

"If you can afford the food, it can be like a donation," Laura said.

Laura said she believed that as the Sunshine Coast grew and was "upgraded in the coming years", the poverty rate would also increase.

"My biggest thing is there's still people living below the poverty line and I think a place like the Sunshine Coast that shouldn't be happening," she said.

The Maroochydore State High School vice-captain is pursuing a career in law and politics, but said she was inspired by recent involvement in the Queensland Youth Parliament, which "opened her eyes" to issues such as poverty and the importance of education.

"I enjoy keeping up with current affairs and local events...I just enjoy helping people and seeing change," Laura said.

The Sunshine Coast community can support the GI Challenge by investing as little as $50 in the program through a simple donation tool on the organisation's web page.

All money raised will go towards ventures created by successful teams, Mr O'Brien said.

Several teams are expected to complete the GI Challenge, but one ultimate winner chosen by the public will receive seed funds and free public relations, advertising, communications, legal and accounting services.

Visit www.generationinnovation.com.au



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