Eight budding social entrepreneurs across Australia will benefit from financial support and a wrap-around mentoring program as part of the Snow Foundation’s new Social Entrepreneurs fellowship program.
The new fellowship program was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Snow Foundation.
Each recipient will receive between $100,000 to $200,000 in funding, but will also receive a mentor for a year and be invited to participate in a session to identify strengths and areas of further development with the Snow Foundation’s Social Impact Hub, CEO Georgina Byron said.
Ms Byron had been overwhelmed by the response to the program, with more than 145 people applying for the fellowships, which she said were designed for early-stage leaders who are one to three years into their career.
“They’re designed for really passionate, inspiring leaders with experience who have that strong motivation and really know what works in terms of solving problems in new ways,” she said.
“These fellowships honour our own entrepreneurial beginnings and our founder Terry Snow.”
Ms Byron explained this was a natural step given the Snow Foundation’s long history of supporting up-and-coming entrepreneurs and maintaining partnerships with them.
“We are inspired to support people who have walked the walk and are now talking the talk in very real and meaningful ways. We are also keen on backing leaders who have strong community support and have an alignment with our values of humility, social justice, collaboration, commitment, transparency and empathy,” she said.
“They are all very bright and tackle social issues in new ways. Many are motivated to, through their own adversity and hardship, develop initiatives that help address the very issues they have lived within their own lives. They know what works.”
According to Ms Byron, this is the first time the Snow Foundation has put a public call-out for proposals and formalised its support for up-and-coming social entrepreneurs.
“Our aim is to bring these eight on and back them properly, and while receiving funding and wrap-around support from us for 12 months, we want to continue backing them to ensure their success as we have in the past with other entrepreneurs,” she said.
One of the eight recipients this year was Australian Spatial Analytics.
CEO Geoffrey Smith described the company as an integrated social enterprise that hires people with autism who can bring their unique neurodiverse qualities to the field of data analytics.
“We are super grateful because we’re a registered charity, so we don’t have huge funds and we also only opened in 2020, so we’re quite a young start-up,” Mr Smith said.
Currently Brisbane-based, Mr Smith said he had applied for the fellowship so they could look at expanding to other areas around Australia.
“We wanted to expand to Canberra and we needed some help, and we see it as a great place to set up an office and employ an additional 50 staff,” he said.
Mr Smith said receiving the grant had given the team confidence for the future and solidified their belief that they are “building a great social enterprise that Australian organisations want to buy from”.