SSE & BT Social Entrepreneur Incubator heats-up

2 min read

SSE Australia & BT kicked off their first joint incubator program to transform Australia’s next group of change-making social enterprises.

The program, also supported by the Westpac Foundation and ideated earlier this year, has recruited 23 entrepreneurs who have an idea for or an existing socially conscious start-up with a high propensity for lasting positive community change.

From encouraging impact investing, gourmet popsicles with a social conscious, addressing gender inequalities through mentoring to providing access for disadvantaged youth to sporting facilities, the 2014 cohort is set to drive social change across Australia.

One of the 23 students, Kate Row, is the founder of DiffAbilities Education – a venture aimed at empowering the understanding of disabilities in school-aged children across Queensland.

“This exclusion too often happens, not because people intend to offend, but due to a lack of understanding of people’s differing abilities. There’s a need for people to interact without invisibility or awkwardness” said Row.

Another student of the 2014 Program, Sheree Rubenstein was inspired step away from her career at one of Australia's top tier commercial law firms to start a community-based movement for Gen Y women called Think BIG and has joined the Incubator Program to help drive her venture forward.

Think BIG creates a space where like-minded women can establish meaningful connections and inspire one another. It encourages women to own their careers, love what they do and get involved in projects that drive social change” said Rubenstein.

At the program launch last night Celia Hodson CEO, School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia outlined that the unique value the program brings to participants such as Kate and Sheree is the learning experience coupled with the collective networks of BT Financial Group, the Westpac Foundation, and SSE Australia.

“We’re delighted to be working with BT Financial and the Westpac Foundation on this exciting program. The key to creative innovation is bringing together people and processes that are traditionally perceived to be on opposite sides of the spectrum – such as social enterprise education and financial services. I’m excited to showcase through our Program that we have achieved this to foster and mentor this amazing group of social entrepreneurs,” said Ms Hodson.

Jane Watts General Manager Private Wealth, BT Financial Group said BT’s fundamental purpose is to help to prepare people for their best possible financial future – and the SSE & BT incubator initiative is a great example of working in partnership to help a group of social entrepreneurs to prepare for and create an exciting future.

“BT is committed to forging an enduring and productive partnership with SSE where we help the next generation of talented social entrepreneurs in this country to survive and thrive,” Ms Watts said.

- End -

Available for Interview
Celia Hodson, Chief Executive Officer, SSE
Australia Jane Watts General Manager Private Wealth, BT Financial Group

Media Contact
SSE Australia: Joshua Stockwell - 0478 626 988 -
BT: Lisa Parrett - 0432 933 796-

About SSE Australia
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) Australia ( inspires and equips change-makers and social entrepreneurs to establish, scale and sustain social ventures that foster social and economic participation, and create a lasting impact within disadvantaged communities. The SSE Australia vision is to create a community powering positive changemakers for a more inclusive and sustainable world. Unlike a traditional school, SSE Australia is non-academic and based on a ‘learning by doing’ approach. Students gain practical business and life skills that they can apply directly to their ventures.

About BT -
BT has been helping Australians prepare for the best since 1969. Today it helps thousands of Australians find superannuation, investment and insurance solutions to suit their personal needs and goals. BT is also a specialist in financial advice.


Information current as at 15 September 2015.

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Diana Saad is a representative of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL & ACL 233714.

For illustrative purposes only. Based on a real life examples.