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Australian Social Enterprise Movers, Shakers & Movement Makers

On the third Thursday in November each year, the world comes together to celebrate Social Enterprise Day, a global event that shines a spotlight on the incredible work of social entrepreneurs and their supporters. Here at Social Change Central, we’re using this day as an opportunity to acknowledge some of the individuals who are driving innovation, promoting social impact, and helping build an increasingly robust social enterprise ecosystem right here in Australia.

Today, we want to introduce you to some special people who have made a remarkable contribution to the Australian social enterprise scene. Some of them are social entrepreneurs themselves, while others lead crucial capacity-building organisations, deliver vital educational and enterprise development programs, or provide funding directly to social enterprises or initiatives that strengthen the overall ecosystem. And some do a mix of everything!

Before we delve into our list of movers and shakers, we’d like to add a small disclaimer. We reached out to numerous deserving individuals for this blog post, but only those who responded are featured. The list is by no means exhaustive – we know that there are countless individuals out there creating impact through the vehicle of social enterprise. This post is simply a celebration and acknowledgment of a handful of those who do important, impactful work but are rarely recognised for it.

Abhilash Mudaliar | Chief Impact Officer at Paul Ramsay Foundation

Abhilash Mudaliar is a champion for directing essential capital towards social enterprises and a highly respected figure in the world of impact investing. His experience and expertise have led him to understand the importance of providing financial support to businesses that are striving to make a difference. By aligning investment with positive social outcomes, Abhilash has empowered countless social enterprises to scale their operations, enhance their impact, and extend their reach within communities. Under his leadership, the Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF) has made significant loans to social enterprises, like Jigsaw, and invested in several different social impact bonds, such as Living Learning. Abhilash has also facilitated PRFs support of several intermediaries to conduct due diligence on investment opportunities, offer investment syndication services and deliver capacity building for social enterprises. His contributions have significantly shaped the landscape of social enterprise in Australia, making it more robust and sustainable. 

Agnes Abelsen | Founder at Travengers AU

Agnes Abelsen is a passionate social entrepreneur and advocate for neurodivergent individuals. With 13 years of experience in disability nursing, Agnes founded Travengers AU, an accessible tourism startup that provides equal opportunities for young people with social support needs to travel, challenge themselves, build connections and enjoy a good quality of life. Despite launching just before COVID-19, Agnes’s dedication led to the company’s success, even earning recognition at the 2021 Business NSW Awards. Her commitment to making the world more inclusive was further highlighted when she was featured on ABC 7.30 in 2023. Agnes’s journey proves the power of passion and innovation in driving social impact.

Alexie Seller | Co-CEO of Enterprise Learning Projects & Convener at Impact North

Internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur Alexie Seller is the driving force behind Impact North and the CEO of Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP) — a not-for-profit entity committed to empowering remote Aboriginal communities through enterprise. Her innovative strategies focus on uncovering scalable and sustainable avenues that bolster business growth in these communities. In 2019, she returned to Australia after co-founding and scaling the award-winning Pollinate Group, a social enterprise that empowered women to lead their communities out of poverty, impacting over half a million lives in seven years. Fueled by her vision of a just and equitable world, Alexie’s unique community development approach combines her entrepreneurial acumen with a collaborative spirit to generate impactful outcomes. Recognised as a finalist in the 2020 Telstra Women’s Business Awards for social impact in the NT, the winner of the 2018 Advance Social Impact Award, and the EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Victoria in 2017, Alexie is a force to reckon with.

Amy Orange | Social Enterprise Strategist, Sector Builder & Social Procurement Expert

Amy Orange is an award-winning social entrepreneur, sector builder, impact collaborator and social enterprise founder. After spending 10 years in the non-profit community services sector, Amy created Harvest Fair, a food-based profit-for-purpose social enterprise creating flexible employment opportunities for disadvantaged women in Adelaide. Since closing Harvest Fair down in 2018 Amy has dedicated her time and knowledge to building the fourth sector ecosystem in SA through her consulting work and through her work as Co-Founder of Collab4Good and Social Procurement Lead SA with Social Traders. Amy’s MBA qualifications and her unique experience which combines non-profit principles with private business practices offers clients a different perspective on how to develop sustainable and inclusive practices within their organisation. Amy is passionate about building the capacity of the fourth sector in South Australia to align people, planet and profit for a healthy, inclusive community and a vibrant growing economy. Amy serves on the board of directors of Infoxchange Group.

Arianna Petra Watson | Co-founder of Think Enough

Arianna Petra Watson, co-founder of Think Enough, is a kickass social entrepreneur with a diverse background spanning not-for-profit and community development sectors across Zambia, Uganda, Italy, and Australia. She’s an ardent advocate for social enterprise models, having interacted with over 200 Australian social enterprises through her platform, which makes ethical consumer choices accessible and rewarding. Arianna has also been involved in the growth of the South Australian social enterprise sector through her board role on the South Australian Social Enterprise Council. Her experiences across various social enterprises make her a versatile and dynamic advocate for the sector.

Rebecca Scott OAM | Co-founder & CEO at STREAT

Championing the cause of marginalised youth, Rebecca Scott co-founded and now leads STREAT, a Melbourne-based social enterprise which provides disadvantaged young people aged 16-24 with a pathway to a healthier life, stable employment, and secure housing through a portfolio of 12 foodservice businesses. Beyond STREAT, Rebecca is instrumental in shaping Australia’s social enterprise sector. Her collaborations with various entities including SENVIC, ASENA, peak bodies, incubators, universities, and government advisory bodies have greatly enriched the sector. Currently, she is spearheading the development of the Purpose Precinct, a unique social enterprise retail precinct in Melbourne’s CBD, and is the driving force behind Moving Feast, a collective of over 20 Victorian social enterprises committed to providing immediate food relief while creating a sustainable and resilient food system

Belinda Morrissey | CEO at English Family Foundation

Belinda Morrissey is passionate about how we collectively build forward just, sustainable and inclusive economies. She is the CEO of the English Family Foundation and has deep experience within the Australian social enterprise sector and an extensive leadership background in both corporate and not-for-profit organisations spanning three continents, Belinda works across sectors to develop systems-based solutions that will mobilize capital and the ecosystems needed to create long term social change both within Australia and globally. She Chairs both Social Enterprise Australia (our country’s first peak body for social enterprise) and ActionAid Australia, is on the Advisory Council of the Social Impact Hub and the Board of the Social Impact Hub Foundation.

Craig Fairweather | CEO at The Mill House Ventures

Craig Fairweather stands at the helm of The Mill House Ventures, Canberra’s only social enterprise intermediary. Under Craig’s stewardship, social enterprises are given the opportunity to challenge, collaborate, and support each other towards their shared goal of sustainable and scalable social transformation. Recognising that not every social entrepreneur needs the same type of support, Craig ensures that The Mill House Ventures provides alternative training, peer networking, and other engagements. This allows individuals the time they need to delve into the concept of trading for purpose, truly embodying his commitment to fostering social entrepreneurship.

Erika Gleeson | Founder at Autism Swim

Erika Gleeson, founder of Autism Swim, is making significant strides in promoting inclusivity through her unique social enterprise. Erika’s work revolves around supporting individuals with Autism and their families by providing specialised aquatic education. Her dedication to creating an inclusive and understanding environment has broken down barriers and changed perceptions, making a significant impact on many lives.

Hanna Ebeling | CEO at Sefa 

As the CEO of Sefa, Hanna Ebeling is a formidable force within the social enterprise sector. She collaborates with social enterprises, providing tailored capital solutions and capability support that enable them to build resilience and secure financing from diverse impact investors. With a global perspective honed through her experiences in traditional banking at HSBC and venture philanthropy in the Philippines, she brings an international practice lens to her work at Sefa. Her areas of passion include blended finance partnerships with foundations, supporting community-led enterprises, and pioneering housing models. Furthermore, her commitment extends beyond her role at Sefa as she serves on the board for disability service provider Woodville Alliance and social enterprise Vanguard Laundry. As an active participant in government and sector reference groups, she plays a crucial role in advocating for social enterprise and enhancing collaboration between government bodies, the private sector, and philanthropic organisations.

Jamal Elsheikh | Founder at One Love Australia

Jamal Elsheikh, founder of One Love Australia, is a potent advocate for cultural understanding and unity. Through his social enterprise, Jamal combats racism by promoting diversity and fostering a sense of belonging among all community members. His tireless efforts are paving the way towards a more inclusive and accepting society sees him that named Finalist for the Australian of the Year 2024 Award, proving that business can indeed be a powerful platform for social change.

Jessica Mendoza-Roth | Founder & CEO at Social Impact Hub

Jessica Mendoza-Roth is the Founder and CEO of the Social Impact Hub. The Social Impact Hub is a purpose-driven intermediary that collaborates with a broad range of changemakers. Through advice, education, mobilising capital and ecosystem building, we build capacity to amplify impact. Between 2020 and 2022, Scaling Impact supported 23 social entrepreneurs to scale, 11 of whom went on to raise or are currently raising impact investment after the program to the value of approximately $8.3m. Jessica is also a consultant to the impact investment sector, having served as the Impact Strategist for Blue River Group, an independent impact investment services firm, and opened the Sydney office of Impact Investment Group. Previous to all this, Jessica was a Solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons in Sydney. She holds a B.A. and LL.B. (with First Class Honours) from UNSW and a LL.M. from Harvard Law School, where she was the recipient of the R.G. Menzies Scholarship to Harvard, and she studied social entrepreneurship, philanthropy and impact investing.

Jess Moore | CEO at Social Enterprise Australia

A powerhouse in the Australian social enterprise ecosystem, Jess Moore currently serves as the CEO of Social Enterprise Australia. Her impressive career spans public policy, advocacy, and community development, all underscored by her passion for social innovation. Previously, as a Director at the Social Enterprise Council of NSW & ACT (SECNA) and as CEO of Community Resources, one of Australia’s largest job-centered social enterprises, she showcased her exceptional leadership skills. Notably, she navigated Green Connect through its nascent stages and subsequent expansion. Known for effecting change, Jess has successfully spearheaded collaborations that have influenced governmental policies. She tirelessly champions the cause of social enterprises at the federal level, advocating for policy goals that align with the operational realities of social enterprises. A genuine leader, Jess is adept at rallying diverse teams and networks, turning ideas into reality, all while keeping her commitment to social justice and climate safety at the forefront.

Jordan O’Reilly | Co-founder at Hireup

Jordan O’Reilly, co-founder of Hireup, is revolutionising support for people with disabilities. His innovative platform allows individuals to choose their own care workers, promoting independence and personal choice. Since its inception in 2015, Hireup has facilitated over 80,000 support connections, with 83% of clients reporting a positive impact on their lives, and an average life satisfaction increase of 7% within the first 24 months of using the service. Jordan’s dedication to empowering those living with disabilities has shifted paradigms within the disability care sector, setting a new standard for personalised care and support.

Keith Rovers | Partner at MinterEllison

Keith Rovers stands at the forefront of social impact, leading the Social Impact Practice and the Pro Bono & Community Investment program at MinterEllison. His work is centered around supporting the burgeoning social enterprise and purpose-driven business sectors and focusing on sustainable finance within the ESG Advisory Practice. Through his role at MinterEllison’s, he forms strategic partnerships with government and corporate clients, aiming to magnify their social impact through engagement with charities and social enterprises. He has a hand in shaping everything from social business models to cross-sector collaboration. He’s supporting over 100+ social enterprises and indigenous businesses, including formation and scale-up initiatives, M&A and financing, including White Box’s PBO with DSS, Social Impact Bonds and PBOs with OSII and social enterprises, the WISE grant collaboration and Jigsaw’s $3m syndicated facility; acting for Social Enterprise Finance Australia, Many Rivers and First Australians Capital on its financing transactions; and establishing social enterprise precincts across Australia. Moreover, he helped establish Social Enterprise Australia, SECNA (Social Enterprise Council NSW &ACT), SENVIC (Social Enterprise Vic) and SENTAS (Social Enterprise Tasmania) and works with other peak bodies on governance and capacity-building initiatives, including Social Traders and Social Impact Hub. Keith is a director of Westpac Foundation and chair of White Box Enterprises, Humanitix and Xceptional Academy. His active participation in the social enterprise and impact investment ecosystem, coupled with his role in ISO and Standard Australia’s Technical Working Groups for Environmental Management Systems and Sustainable Finance, positions him to provide clients with the latest information on sustainable finance and global trends. Keith embodies what it means to champion ethical and sustainable operations, impact investment, social procurement, and sustainable finance.

Kylie Flament | CEO at the Social Enterprise Council of NSW

With an impressive career spanning the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors, Kylie Flament has solidified her position as a prominent figure in social enterprise and sustainability. Her management acumen is evidenced by her past leadership of cardiac departments at Sydney’s children’s hospitals, and a successful five-year tenure as CEO of Green Connect. Currently, she holds multiple roles, including CEO of the Social Enterprise Council of NSW & ACT (SECNA) and Expert in Residence at the University of Wollongong. Kylie’s expertise lies in fostering community growth through social enterprise and advancing sustainable business practices.

Laura O’Reilly | Co-founder at Hireup & Fighting Chance Australia

Laura O’Reilly, a former member of the NSW Disability Council, co-founded Fighting Chance with her brother Jordan (see above) in 2011. This venture has grown into a multi-million-dollar social enterprise that supports adults with significant disabilities in Sydney. Recognised as the Australian Woman’s Weekly magazine’s Women of the Future in 2014 and a NSW State Finalist for the Young Australian of the Year Award in 2015, Laura has significantly impacted the Australian disability sector. In 2015, she launched Hireup with Jordan, an online platform that effectively matches Australians with disabilities to suitable support workers. This innovative platform allows individuals to choose their own care workers, promoting independence and personal choice. Since its inception in 2015, Hireup has facilitated over 80,000 support connections and saved its users approximately $70 million in support funding.

Libby Ward-Christie | Director at Centre for Social Impact Swinburne (CSI Swinburne)

In 2017, Libby Ward-Christie became part of the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne (CSI Swinburne), taking on the role of Principal Industry Fellow, while also founding and directing the Social Startup Studio. By 2022, she had risen to the position of Director at CSI Swinburne. Her responsibilities span teaching and research, with a particular focus on social entrepreneurship. Boasting over two decades of community sector experience, Libby is renowned for her strategic acumen in social enterprise, specialising in business strategy, governance, capital provision, and operations, especially for social enterprises aimed at mitigating disadvantage. She’s known for her extensive network and advisory role in the social enterprise and social finance sectors. As the former Head of Investment and Advisory at Social Traders, she pioneered innovative support platforms for social enterprises. Libby, an alumna of Melbourne Business School and the University of Melbourne, is furthering her knowledge with a PhD in social entrepreneurship at CSI. Her contributions extend to board roles in large social enterprises and Generosity Magazine.

Lucy Brotherton | Community Capacity Building Officer at the City of Parramatta

Lucy Brotherton serves as the Community Capacity Building Officer for the City of Parramatta, where she plays a pivotal role in driving social investment initiatives across the Parramatta Local Government Area. Through innovative strategies, she fosters sustainable social transformation, catering to the diverse communities of Western Sydney. Lucy’s role transcends traditional boundaries as she operates as a nexus within the social enterprise ecosystem. Leveraging her extensive connections in government and the social investment community, she excels at fostering relationships, bridging organisational gaps, and bolstering strength through strategic partnerships and collaboration.

Mark Daniels | Chief Operating Officer at White Box Enterprises

For two decades, Mark Daniels has been a prominent influencer in Australia’s social enterprise sector. As a co-founder and Executive Director of Social Traders for 13 years, he spearheaded the creation of their acclaimed social enterprise marketplace. This platform has evolved into an indispensable resource for corporate and government entities striving to incorporate social enterprises into their supply chains. Mark’s expertise and dedication have benefited hundreds of businesses and governmental clients in their pursuit of integrating significant social impact into their supply chains.

Margaret O’Brien | CEO & Co-founder at Young Change Agents

With a deep-seated passion for education, youth empowerment, and social enterprise, Margaret O’Brien co-founded Young Change Agents (YCA) in early 2016. This pioneering social enterprise, which operates on a hybrid model, has transformed the way young people perceive challenges, encouraging them to harness opportunities through social entrepreneurship. Funded by corporate grants from esteemed organisations like Telstra and Ecstra Foundations, philanthropy from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, and fee-for-service contracts, YCA has collaborated with over 1,200 schools and impacted 120,000 youths, aiming to reach 1.5 million. Margaret dedicated three years to working at the grassroots level in Colombia, establishing libraries and literacy programs, and was a key player in the Social Traders team, successfully running the inaugural NDIS Pitch Competition. Her recent endeavours include leading the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Melbourne 2023 as the Schools and Education Lead and serving as the Convenor of the Reimagining Grants working group. A proud mother and a firm believer in women-led businesses, she continues to invest in them through Coralus.

Mikey Leung | Co-Creator at Digital Storytellers

Renowned for his significant contributions to the world of social enterprise, Mikey Leung is the driving force behind Digital Storytellers, an agency dedicated to amplifying the narratives of purpose-driven organisations. His innovative web series, Enterprising Stories, unites industry leaders to craft a collective narrative for the impact economy. Behind the spotlight, Mikey also served as the volunteer convenor of the Alliance of Social Enterprise Networks of Australia (ASENA), fostering its development. The essence of his work lies in leveraging storytelling to galvanise action and instigate change. Through Digital Storytellers, he has created a platform that allows social enterprises to recount their transformative journeys, thereby widening their reach and bolstering their impact on society.

Pat Ryan | CEO at Dismantle

Pat Ryan is the dynamic force behind Dismantle, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering at-risk youth and combating long-term unemployment through hands-on mentoring. Through innovative, outcome-focused programs, Pat steers the social enteprise towards achieving significant social impact, while simultaneously driving revenue through profitable ventures like BikeDr. and ReNew Property Maintenance. Despite the challenges, his unyielding sense of humor and resilience has shaped Dismantle into a thriving entity that it is today. Pat’s passion for social work was ignited during his time working with the traditional owners in East Kimberley on community-led projects and youth services. He thrives in the youth sector, drawing inspiration from the remarkable resilience demonstrated by young individuals in overcoming their adversities. Pat finds profound fulfilment in working alongside a team of dedicated individuals at Dismantle, all committed to uplifting the most vulnerable sections of our society.

Rachel Whitworth  | Founder at Hello Good World

Rachel Whitworth is the forward-thinker behind Hello Good World, a tech startup and online marketplace committed to fostering a connection between consumers and businesses committed to social good. This unique platform allows individuals to shop in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, promoting conscious consumption. Rachel’s venture also serves as a catalyst for social enterprises, non-profits, and businesses with a positive impact, amplifying their sales and influence through a validation rating on her e-commerce platform. Known for her significant contributions within Queensland’s social enterprise sector, she’s also recognised for her marketing agency, House of Eden Studio, her efforts with the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC), and her recent role in equipping young people with digital marketing skills at Yourtown Social Enterprises.

Sally McGeoch | Senior Advisor at the Westpac Foundation

Sally McGeoch is a distinguished Senior Advisor at the Westpac Foundation, where her palpable passion for bolstering social enterprises to enhance their sustainability and impact shines through. Prior to joining Westpac, she served as the Partnerships Manager at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) for nearly seven years, operating at the crossroads of social enterprise, commerce, and philanthropy. A founding member of The Bread & Butter Project, Sally has an eclectic career portfolio, having held intriguing roles globally. Her expertise lies in strategic philanthropy, pro bono programs, social procurement, and social impact measurement. For the past half-decade, she’s been instrumental in designing and managing social enterprise grant and capacity building programs at Westpac Foundation. Sally’s work involves creating and executing grant programs that aid social enterprises in enhancing life quality and fostering education and employment opportunities for disadvantaged Australians. She leverages Westpac Group’s resources, skills, and networks to maximise the impact of grantees and provide unique development opportunities for its employees. With a decade-long experience working at the confluence of philanthropy, business, and social enterprise, Sally is a true trailblazer in the field.

Dr Sharon Zivkovic | Founder at Community Capacity Builders & Centre for Autistic Social Entrepreneurship

Dr. Sharon Zivkovic is an eminent academic and practitioner with a robust track record in social entrepreneurship, active citizenship, and systemic change. With a career spanning over two decades, she has been a driving force behind community capacity building projects and social enterprises in South Australia’s urban regeneration initiatives. Her pioneering efforts were acknowledged when she was bestowed with the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award in 2001. As the founder of Community Capacity Builders in 2004, she transformed her Master’s research into a successful Community Leadership Program, thereby demonstrating an impressive blend of theory and practice. Her PhD work resulted in a groundbreaking model for systemic change, further solidifying her reputation as a leader in the field. An advocate for neurodiversity and an Autistic individual herself, Dr. Zivkovic has recently established a Centre for Autistic Social Entrepreneurship, a testament to her commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship. Currently, she contributes her expertise as an Adjunct Research Associate at Torrens University Australia and as a board member of Emerald Publishing’s Impact Advisory Board.

Sven Stenvers | Founder & Director at Impact Seed

Possessing two decades of experience in building early-stage businesses, Sven Stenvers has left an indelible mark across various growth sectors such as impact finance, clean energy, and technology. His entrepreneurial journey spans both privately held and multinational companies, including those listed on the ASX. Driven by a passion for systems change finance and entrepreneurship, Stenvers co-founded Impact Seed in 2015, WA’s only social enterprise and impact investment deal-focused intermediary and market builder. His vision revolves around regenerative finance where social, environmental, cultural, and financial benefits converge seamlessly. Stenvers played a pivotal role in the establishment of Australia’s inaugural place-based impact investment fund, the $20M WA Impact Fund. He is also a founding board member of the WA Social Enterprise Council (WASEC) and the Impact Investment Alliance of WA (IIWA), serves as a Panel Judge for the Macquarie Kickstarter Program, and was honored at the 2020 Australian Impact Investment Awards for Individual Outstanding Achievement. His leadership extends to directorial and advisory roles in several social enterprises.

Tara Anderson | CEO at Social Traders

With a fervour for harmonising business with intent, Tara Anderson’s career trajectory is deeply embedded in the for-purpose sector, investigating diverse approaches to construct a just and balanced world. As the CEO of Social Traders, she has been at the forefront of cultivating a flourishing social enterprise ecosystem while aiding conventional businesses in infusing purpose into their operations via social procurement and ESG. Tara’s forte lies in strategy, business development, marketing, and cross-sector collaboration within the for-purpose sector at executive and board levels. Her wide-ranging experience encompasses work with charities and social enterprises of varying scales across Australia, the UK, and Europe. Besides her role as CEO at Social Traders, Tara co-founded The Dragonfly Collective, a consultancy that assists for-purpose organisations in erecting sustainable and high-impact business models. She also serves as a Director at Social Enterprise Australia. Her international expertise spans social enterprise, charities, social innovation, and for-purpose intermediaries across the UK, Europe, and Australia, having led extensive collaborations, strategised organisational growth and diversification, and rebranded for enhanced impact.

Tom Allen | Founder & CEO at Impact Boom

Tom Allen, the visionary Founder and CEO of Impact Boom, is a prominent figure in the global social impact media landscape. He has dedicated his career to empowering entrepreneurs and innovators, helping them unlock their full potential for global betterment. Impact Boom, with its international reach spanning over 200 countries, is a pioneer in fortifying the social enterprise ecosystem through capacity-building, raising awareness (featuring over 500 global leaders on its blog and podcast), and adopting a holistic approach to sector development. The agency has significantly contributed to over 301 social enterprises. Tom’s commendable leadership secured the Australian bid for SEWF, and he holds prestigious positions on several boards. His remarkable work has earned him two Australian Good Design Awards.

Tom Dawkins | Co-founder at StartSomeGood & LendForGood

As a seasoned social entrepreneur, Tom Dawkins has been leveraging technology and business to shape a superior world while inspiring others to follow suit. He is the co-founder and CEO of StartSomeGood, a global pioneer in building the social enterprise ecosystem. For over a decade, Tom’s platform has been a beacon for budding social entrepreneurs worldwide, aiding them in designing, testing, launching, and scaling social impact projects that accelerate social change. StartSomeGood’s ventures include the crowdfunding platform, the Good Hustle social enterprise design program, and the StartSomeGood Network community. Additionally, they craft and execute innovative, capacity-building, and funding programs for partners spanning businesses, foundations, and governments. Tom is also a co-founder of LendForGood, a platform that bridges the gap between social enterprises and impact investors, and serves as a non-executive director for the Centre for Social Impact, Australia’s premier social impact research and teaching entity. As a prominent speaker and advocate for social enterprise, he imparts his knowledge on community-building and fundraising skills at global events and workshops, including SXSW, SOCAP, The Social Enterprise World Forum, among others.

Usman Iftikhar | Co-founder and CEO of Catalysr

Usman Iftikhar is the pioneering co-founder and CEO of Catalysr, an esteemed startup incubator that champions migrant and refugee entrepreneurs in launching their own businesses. Since its inception in 2016, Catalysr has bolstered the entrepreneurial journeys of 684 ‘migrapreneurs’. In addition, Usman serves as a commercialisation facilitator for AusIndustry’s Entrepreneurs’ Program, enabling early-stage startups to access up to $1m in grant funding for commercialisation. As a distinguished leader in his field, Usman is a Stanford GSB alumnus, an Obama Leader, an EHF Fellow, WEF Global Shaper, Westpac Social Change Fellow, AMP Tomorrow Maker, Singularity University’s GSP Fellow, and an FYA Young Social Pioneer. His accolades include being named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year, featuring in Kochie’s Business Builders Power list with Google, Smart Company’s 30 under 30 list, and winning the Western Sydney Leadership Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement. In 2020, he was recognised as a leading figure in the ‘Entrepreneurship’ category at the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Leadership Awards.

These individuals are just some of the MANY who are building a brighter, more sustainable future for all. We salute them for their dedication, innovation, and the positive impact they’re making through social entrepreneurship.

As we celebrate Social Enterprise Day, let’s remember that every one of us can contribute to this incredible movement in our own unique way. Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, a supporter, or simply someone who believes in the power of business to effect positive change, we invite you to join us in Australia’s growing social enterprise movement.

Happy Social Enterprise Day!

Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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