"YOU'RE going to be 16 and pregnant. You're going nowhere."
With those words, a fire started in Issy McSwain's belly.
Court cases, youth shelters, depression and self harm followed, but now she is a budding entrepreneur.
"I just wanted to prove them wrong," said the Maroochydore teen.
"Now I work, I go to school, and I'm starting an organisation to help others."
As reported in the Daily, Issy and business partner Jack Smith have had help to develop their novel business idea through Generation Innovation's GI Challenge over the past 11 weeks.
Experienced business mentors have helped them put a structure around their plans for a service that will help young people spend more time together.
Koi Krew was the name they gave to the service, which would be hosted by cafes and venues around the Coast.
Young people will be invited to hang out and chat, Issy said.
"It's so important to have support and know where you can go for help and friendship," she said.
Issy said she knew from her own experience that safe spaces were precious.
"I wanted to start up an organisation that made it socially acceptable for anyone to catch up and talk openly about anything," she said.
"There's a lot of need for help for youth on the Coast, because they don't know how to deal with it (isolation). They turn to drugs and alcohol, and they get involved in gangs."
Issy said Koi Krew would invite 15 to 17-year-old locals to be part of their initial "meet-ups".
A number of cafes in and near Maroochydore had already expressed interest in having Koi Krew visit, she said.
She and Mr Smith plan to hold the first meet-up in early June, and need just $1500 to achieve that goal, Issy said.
Tomorrow the pair will launch their crowdfunding campaign through Generation Innovation's website.
Donate to Koi Krew at generationinnovation.com.au
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