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Social Enterprises Win Start-Up Awards

23 April 2015 at 10:31 am
Lina Caneva
Two Australian social enterprises - a disability employment service and an online fundraising platform - have been named as winners in the 2015 StartupSmart Awards.

Lina Caneva | 23 April 2015 at 10:31 am


Social Enterprises Win Start-Up Awards
23 April 2015 at 10:31 am

Two Australian social enterprises – a disability employment service and an online fundraising platform –  have been named as winners in the 2015 StartupSmart Awards.

The awards, organised by, an online advice resource for start-ups, recognise the most innovative and fastest-growing new businesses in Australia.

The founder of Canberra based startup Enabled Employment – an online marketplace specifically designed for people with disabilities, Jess May, received the the Startup Hero award.

May, who was diagnosed with anxiety following the birth of her first child, said she experienced discrimination after it was revealed to her workplace that she had an anxiety disorder, which had been made worse by a hyperactive thyroid condition.

Her concept was to link highly skilled people with disabilities with employers who needed specialist staff who could work flexibly, including working from home.

“The company differs from most disability employment services by providing a self-serve one-stop-shop with no Government funding or rebates, for people with disability to browse and obtain work, and by encouraging employers to use the untapped talent of those people currently living with disability who are unable to find work due to access or equity issues,” May said., a social enterprise which raises funds for Australian registered charities through online shopping was awarded ‘Best Startup’ in WA/NT – within a month of its launch-  at the annual ‘Startup Smart Awards 2015.

eKarma Ventures is based on the principles of Karma and allow people go online to do their shopping and with every purchase, a certain portion of money is donated back to the person’s charity of choice.

eKarma has collaborated with more than 250 online shopping websites where you can shop to start your donation to your favourite charity.

Editor of Startup Smart, Kye White said: "We received hundreds of entries for the awards from startups based all around Australia."

"eKarma Ventures Pty Ltd, our Western Australian state-based category winner, was chosen because of a novel solution to the problem – how to raise money for charity. Its eCommerce platform helps everyday consumers donate to worthy causes simply by shopping.

"Any solution that helps charities raise money, with basically no effort required on their part, is a solution we can get behind. We wish the eKarma team best of luck moving forward."

eKarma Ventures Pty Ltd is a registered company in Australia and is a purpose-before-profit organisation with head office in Perth.

Some 26 finalists were selected across eight individual categories – as well as five newly launched Best State Startup categories.

Categories awarded in 2015 included Best Startup Idea, Best New Startup, Best Regional Startup, Best Social Entrepreneur, Best Disruptor, Startup Hero, Fastest Growing Startup, and Best Startup.

Best Social Change Entrepreneur went to Wattblock, while Safe Work Laboratories was awarded Best Disruptor.

“(Safe Work Labs is) a great solution for the alcohol and drug testing industry,” McKenzie said.

For the first time in the five year history of the awards, StartupSmart included a state-based best startup category.

The winners are:

For more information, visit the StartupSmart Awards announcement page.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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