Perth-based Nilesh Makwana is a social innovator who won this year's prestigious City of Perth Strategic Alliance Award and the 2020 Business News 40Under40 Award, for his initiatives that help Aboriginal communities and senior citizens become digitally savvy.
Now, more than ever, we hear about senior citizens getting scammed. Loneliness and a lack of knowledge about technology and digital tools make them vulnerable and often at the receiving end of many audacious scams.
Perth-based Nilesh Makwana is a social innovator who has made it his goal to help senior citizens.
“My company tries to bridge these gaps in our communities," he says.
"We noticed that senior citizens were not familiar with their gadgets and hence, were getting duped. So, we came up with a solution to educate them, to make them aware of these scams and of what to beware of.
“We visited aged care centres and conducted cybersecurity sessions for the elderly. They were thrilled to learn, and it made us happy in return to educate them about these cybersecurity threats,” he adds.
These free cybersecurity sessions are just one of the initiatives taken by his company. Nilesh also noticed a gaping hole in the Not-For-Profit (NFP) sector.
“I saw that most tech companies were focusing on oil, gas and other sectors when it comes to cybersecurity. And my research showed that the NFP sector is at times the worst hit when it comes to cyber-attacks. Be it Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or security, they needed help."
So, his company decided to focus on this particular sector by not only creating solutions for the NFP sector and the state but also employment opportunities.
“We even noticed that a lot of services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) needed a proper CRM software to organise and maintain their data, their scheduling and handling of individual cases. We helped the state government with that too, which brought a lot of awards and recognition for our state.”
Just like senior citizens, Nilesh’s company also noticed that there was a lack of digital literacy amongst some Aboriginal communities. So, they started the Aboriginal Trust Management System which helped the Aboriginal communities with managing their member's details, communications and managing funds in a secure way.
“We also started a digital literacy program for them. Helping them learn basics like Office 365, Word, Excel and PowerPoint,” Nilesh states.
The City of Perth recognised these initiatives and awarded him with two of its biggest Awards this year - the City of Perth Strategic Alliance Award and 2020 Business News 40under40 Award.
He is the first Indian origin nominee and only candidate to receive this recognition with two awards.
City of Perth Strategic Alliance award recognises the outstanding success of a person within their chosen field and acknowledges an individual whose motivation, leadership and entrepreneurial spirit has turned a business into a significant and ongoing opportunity for Perth.
The 2020 Business News 40under40 Awards is Western Australia’s pre-eminent program that recognises and celebrates the state’s leading entrepreneurs, innovators, and future business leaders under the age of 40.
“Being a migrant and a small business owner, I never imagined I would receive the City of Perth Strategic Alliance Award and the 2020 Business News 40Under40 in the very same year,” Nilesh says.
“But I accepted these awards with a sense of pride and responsibility. The city has bestowed these accolades upon me, and I will not take them lightly. I will focus on coming up with new ways to help our community and our state and to never let them down,” Nilesh says.
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