Well, what a year. As 2011 draws to a close I thought I would reflect on what we achieved over the past 12 months – incredible really! Thank you to all of you for making this happen. We are a small staff team and big community, with a passion and commitment that most large companies would be jealous of.
Our 2011 successes, highlights and other happenings:
- We graduated our 1st Melbourne program in February with an incredible group of social entrepreneurs and projects.
- We graduated our 3rd Sydney program with an equally inspiring group of people.
- We awarded Jan Owen AM and Steve Lawrence AO with Honorary Fellows Awards for the service to SSE Australia and lifetime commitment to social entrepreneurship.
- In March we received the inaugural Macquarie Australian Social Innovation Award. Through this award, three student projects also received Macquarie Kickstarter Grants of $10,000 each – David and Chantelle – One Girl, Sebastian – Batyr and Don – Malpa.
- Hosted “Celebrating Women Social Entrepreneurs” event at part of International Women’s Day in Melbourne in partnership with the Ian Potter Foundation
- We commenced 4 new programs across Sydney and Melbourne – 2 in March, and a further 2 in August. A total of 70+ new students joined the ranks across these programs, taking our combined students and graduates to 140.
- We welcomed new funders and supporters – ING Direct, Baker & McKenzie, Ian Potter Foundation, DHS Victoria and other private sponsors
- We were delighted to be selected to become a Strategic Partner of The Trust Company
- Received a Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation 50th Anniversary Grant – thank you to the team there for your ongoing support.
- We conducted Residential programs in Newcastle and Albury-Wodonga
- Launched pilot of the new Community Creators program Melbourne, working with housing tenants from the Richmond, Fitzroy and Collingwood housing estates. This was supported by the Victorian Department of Human Services and the Ian Potter Foundation. Well done Stef and Nick!
- We welcomed to the team this year Ariana Bourke, Sarah Martin, Wendy Hopkins, Sofiah Mackay, Nick Wallberg, Jessie Williams, Sharon Stratton and Linda Uzonovski (joining our old-timers Amy, Janine and myself)
- Long-term (well, since the start) Associates Peter Lightbody and Meredith Turnbull joined the Learning Team in Sydney – thank you for your contribution
- Our amazing team of facilitators and coaches keep on rocking our students’ worlds – Sean, Stef, Will, Rosie, Steve, Louise, Nic, Tracey, Kerrie, Peter, Meredith, Jana
- We welcomed two new staff babies – Amy brought us Millie, and Sally brought us Evie. We are already planning for our SSE 2029. In the meantime we are pumped to have Amy back, and looking forward to having Sally back in the new year
- We said farewell Bjorn Sofo, Beth Worrall and Carmen Montierro
- We have been joined by Nare and more recently Sam, who have volunteered to help us out with some important projects
- We enjoyed the ongoing and important support of Social Ventures Australia – thanks to Genelle, Michael, Lisa and team
- We saw Courtney and Kirsten go travelling. We have been lucky to keep hold of Courtney, and hope to see Kirsten back again
- We took our recruitment to a whole new level with the 2012 program having the strongest demand of any program to date.
- Ran first Changemakers Lab with Spark*
- Hosted joint Fellows events with CSL, Green Steps and RMIT SEEDS
- Delivered workshops and sessions in 8 local government areas across Western Sydney as part of the Community Builders program
- Ali toured Australia, and Jessie and Benny toured the UK (or England at least).
- We enjoyed the support and encouragement of some inspiring individuals including Linda Scott, Roger West, Jaap Jonkman, Lisa Cotton, Kerry Graham, Cameron Burgess, Eddie Harran, Corrinne Armour, Mike Josephson and more – THANK YOU!
- SSE turned three in December – well, 3 years since our first staff started. Be sure to tune in for more 3 year milestones in 2012.
And what does 2012 have in store for us?
- Two new programs – one in each of Sydney and Melbourne – another 50-60 people to join our ranks
- Graduating a total of six cohorts of social entrepreneurs – 3 in Melbourne and 3 in Sydney – yes, that is a lot!
- Launching as an independent company, acknowledging and celebrating the support of SVA in our own incubation process
- Bringing on new, passionate and committed funders and supporters
- Acknowledging and celebrating the continuing support we receive from our existing funders
- Creation of our Leadership Council
- Launching the “Supporting Social Entrepreneurs Across Australia” Report
- Conducting our first formal independent evaluation of our impact and learning to date
- Refining strategy and business model
- Taking Community Creators to another level
- Attracting more people from across Australia, to see new social entrepreneurial activity happening in places like Adelaide, Alice Springs, Geraldton, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Perth, Wodonga and more
- and other exciting adventures I am sure we are yet to dream up or be surprised by.
Thank you all for an amazing year. It has been packed full of incredible learning. I may have missed some important milestones to celebrate, so please add these to the list.
And a massive shout out to our incredible students who keep us inspired and on our toes each day. Your passion, drive and commitment to bring to life what you are doing is the stuff that fuels us and our world. We feel honoured to know you and walk the journey with you.
Travel well, and see you for an action-packed 2012!