Social Entrepreneurs Chosen for Accelerator Program
Wednesday, 10th August 2016 at 8:56 am
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and BT Financial Group (BTFG) have launched an inaugural program for budding Australian entrepreneurs.
The Social Entrepreneur Accelerator Program aims to support Australia’s next generation of change-making social entrepreneurs.
SSE said the program has already recruited 17 entrepreneurs who are committed to delivering positive, enduring social change in the community through their respective social enterprises.
The recruits range from entrepreneurs who support employment opportunities for youth, migrants and asylum seekers, to those improving digital connectivity in disadvantaged areas and others providing meals to disadvantaged groups.
Speaking at the program launch, BTFG’s general manager of private wealth Jane Watts said the initiative was closely aligned to its fundamental purpose of helping prepare people for their best possible financial future.
“The program will help a cohort of talented social entrepreneurs to acquire the requisite expertise and experience to turbo-charge their social ventures,” Watts said.
SSE CEO Michele Goldman said the program offered unique value, not only in terms of helping to translate positive change ideas into sustainable commercial ventures, but also by creating a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, committed to making a difference.
“Our hand-selected entrepreneurs all have passion in spades, but where the program can really make a difference is to turn these ideas into a commercial reality, underpinned by a common goal to create social change,” Goldman said.
One of the 17 recruits, Vanessa Ronan-Pearce, is the founder of WOW Project – a venture aimed at connecting school students with aged care and nursing care residents.
“It’s well known that there is a disconnect between generations separated by age, but we identified a strong value in younger generations understanding, appreciating and learning from the life experiences of older members in the community,” Ronan-Pearce said.
“Storytelling was particularly common centuries ago and was linked to those members considered the wisest member in the community. This is something we’d like to recreate in the modern day as a means to connect today’s generations.”
Rob Caslick is the co-founder of Two Good, which was inspired to deliver wholesome meals designed by chefs like Neil Perry and Kylie Kwong to domestic violence refuges.
“Two Good works by selling the same jar of lunch to people in the city, [and] each jar you buy we give another jar to a refuge. But what we’re most proud of is that we employ women from the refuges we serve to make the lunches,” Caslick said.
The SSE and BTFG Social Entrepreneur Accelerator program will run from August to October 2016 and recruits will spend three months understanding how to prepare their existing social venture for longevity and a sustainable, social impact.