There is growing interest in social enterprises in Australia as a way to address some of the most wicked issues facing our community, support the sustainability of the not for profit sector and create employment opportunities for the most disadvantaged. Corporates in Australia and around the world as well as governments are developing an increasing appetite for social procurement while social entrepreneurs are challenging the traditional concept of enterprise: doing good business while creating sustainable social impact.
Join us as our panel inspires you to consider social procurement as a conscious choice to create social impact while doing business.
Luke Terry, Founder, Vanguard Laundry Services and White Box Enterprises
Luke Terry is known as one of Australia’s most awarded ‘serial social entrepreneurs’. Over the last 15 years, he has founded several large-scale employment-focused social enterprise projects that create meaningful work pathways for individuals who would otherwise be excluded from the labour market. In 2017, Luke created Vanguard Laundry Services, an AU$8 million commercial laundry with an in-built mental health career and training centre employing more than 140 people since commencement. Vanguard is currently working on its replication with two new sites planned.
In July this year Luke co-founded White Box Enterprises which has the goal of creating and scaling 15 large scale employment focused social enterprises to create 5000 jobs for vulnerable young Australians by 2030.
Luke has been recognised as a Westpac Social Change Fellow, the 2015 recipient of the SVA David Clarke Scholarship, a Queensland Citizen of the Year finalist, and winner of the 2015 & 2016 Australian Social Enterprise Awards.
Laura O'Reilly, CEO, Fighting Chance Australia
Laura O’Reilly, 31, is a social entrepreneur who is working to create change in the Australian disability sector. Inspired by her experiences as the sibling of a young man with cerebral palsy, Laura co-founded Fighting Chance Australia in 2011, a not-for-profit organization which has raised over $3.2 million and today supports more than 250 young adults with disability in Northern Sydney.
In 2014, Laura and her brother Jordan co-founded HireUp, an online platform which gives people with disability the power to find, hire and manage their support workers. Having successfully raised capital through an impact investment round in 2015, and with a staff team of 30 and thousands of users on the platform, HireUp stands well positioned to revolutionize the attendant care space in coming years.
Laura graduated from Cambridge University in 2010 with first class honours, and more recently graduated from UNSW with a Juris Doctor with Distinction. In September 2014 Laura was awarded the Australian Woman’s Weekly Woman of the Future and was a finalist for NSW Australian of the Year 2016.
Andrea Comasti, Executive Manager, PAYCE Foundation
Andrea is a not for profit professional with over 20 years’ experience in the sector, gained through a variety of directorships, executive and consulting roles. In 2016, Andrea joined PAYCE, a Sydney-based leading property development and investment company, to set up and manage the PAYCE Foundation. The brief was to develop the PAYCE Foundation as an innovative example of best practice in philanthropy focusing on social disadvantage, thinking outside the box and building the capacity and sustainability of its charity partners.
Since 2016, Andrea has been instrumental in the development of the PAYCE Foundation’s own social enterprise, the Kick Start Café, a construction site mobile canteen and corporate catering service, which provides hospitality training and jobs for young people facing barriers to employment.
Personally, Andrea is also the co-founder of social enterprise start up Project Etico Australia. Etico aims to open the first Australian hotel that trains and employs people with intellectual disabilities, ultimately facilitating independence and open employment opportunities.
David Brookes, Managing Director, Social Traders
David leads Social Traders. David brings extensive experience leading strategic business-community partnerships at Rio Tinto, Toyota and Amcor; as well as industry and government policy development and key stakeholder engagement experience.
Appointed Managing Director of Social Traders in 2009, David is an Executive Director on Social Traders’ Board and has responsibility for development and implementation of the organisation’s strategy, staff recruitment and engagement with key government, philanthropic, business and research partners.
David has been closely involved in the development of social enterprise development initiatives in Australia, including the annual Social Enterprise Conference, the Victorian Social Enterprise Strategy and social procurement advocacy across the public and private sectors. David is also a Director of the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) Community Interest Company (CIC) established in July 2015.
Moderated by Louise McCoach, Special Counsel, Gilbert+Tobin
Louise is Special Counsel and lead Securitisation, Debt Capital Markets and Derivatives lawyer in the Banking + Infrastructure team at Gilbert + Tobin. With over 25 years of in-house counsel and private practice experience in the financial services sector, Louise is consistently recognised as one of Australia’s leading debt capital markets, securitisation and structured finance lawyers with significant expertise in derivatives.
Louise regularly acts for banks, financial institutions and other listed corporations in their debt and equity capital markets transactions, with substantial experience in both asset-backed and issuances into the domestic, US and Euro markets. She is also the recipient of a number of awards relating to her work. Active in the impact investing and green finance sectors, Louise has been a presenter and moderator at the 2018 and 2019 KangaNews Sustainable Debt Summits and regularly publishes thought leadership on emerging topics and products, such as green bonds. Louse has held a number of non-executive, not-for-profit board positions including the NSW Benevolent Society and Women in Banking & Finance.
Louise has a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Commerce & Bachelor of Laws from the University of Canterbury.