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Northern Territory Utopia Project Northern Territory Broken Hill

RARE: Remote and Rural Enterprise

"The RARE program has provided the most practical and engaging learning opportunity experienced throughout my 3 year association with the university.  This program is truly innovative in both its breadth and purpose. The two-way learning opportunity for enterprises in need as well as students, epitomises the programs and values a modern educational institution can exhibit when applying innovative and hands-on learning approaches." Jacqui Gilligan, Bana Yarralji Bulka and NSWALC property planning, 2012 

About RARE

Engaging with Remote and Rural Enterprise (RARE) is the focus of this program, ensuring the University's entrepreneurial activity benefits some of our more challenged communities and businesses.

RARE creates two-way learning and development exchanges between graduate students and enterprises in remote and rural Australia.  Through action-research projects and community placements, students are required to adapt their business skills to specific community needs and new socio-cultural contexts. The engagement with real business challenges and communities is intended to increase students' entrepreneurial capability as well as social and cultural empathy and respect. The aim is to benefit remote and rural businesses and communities, students, and The University of Sydney Business School.

As a venture of the Innovation and Enterprise Program, it complements existing teaching and research activities within the Innovation & Enterprise Program. RARE projects, like most entrepreneurial activity, benefit from cross-disciplinary input. Collaborations with staff and students from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, and the Master of Sustainability have enriched the RARE program's offering and diversified the approach taken to theses challenging projects. RARE will continue to encourage cross-disciplinary learning and problem solving with current collaborators and new disciplines.

Mission and Aims

RARE's mission is to raise the impact of entrepreneurial teaching on students in a way that benefits remote and rural enterprises and their communities.

The RARE Program aims to:

  • Place quality students with remote and rural businesses to research and develop an aspect of the enterprise of relevance for its sustainability. 
  • Participate in the initiation and development of sustainable business activity in remote and rural Australia.
  • Facilitate the development of relationships that enhance mutual social and cultural respect and empathy.
  • Provide a platform for engaged practice enabling students to apply their knowledge and skills in a challenging context and learn from experience.
  • To initiate and enrich relationships that will support teaching, research and outreach activity in remote and rural Australia.

Who it will benefit

Stakeholder Benefit

Innovation & Enterprise students

Provide a platform for learning and engaged practice complementing and surpassing those possible in a classroom setting.

Develop the students cultural awareness and understanding of remote, rural and indigenous life.

Remote & rural businesses

Strengthen the network and sustainability of remote and rural businesses.

Indigenous enterprises and communities

Develop stronger local Indigenous owned and run businesses, that will help alleviate unemployment and welfare dependency, improve the community's health and wellbeing, and provide training opportunities.

Researchers & policy-makers

Provide insights and data to drive research & analysis, which will be of particular interest to Federal and State Governments (that are increasingly demonstrating their focus on rural and remote issues).

Funding and Support

Start-up funding received from the Thyne Reid Foundation has underwritten the initial student exchanges and funded the crucial administration activities.

Joe Seisdedos and his team of patent attorneys at WRAYS have recently partnered with RARE, providing Intellectual Property workshops to RARE students, and pro-bono services to our remote and rural enterprises where opportunities or challenges have been identified.

Further opportunities exist to Get Involved and support our RARE program.

RARE Projects

The RARE Program engages with a range of remote and rural enterprises, across Australia. We intend to support a diversity of businesses, both indigenous and non indigenous, social and commercial. Our intention is to participate in the initiation and development of sustainable remote and rural enterprises that deliver economic and social benefits to their local community. We believe this process requires long term engagement with communities and enterprises.

RARE staff and students are involved in identifying opportunities, problem solving, strategic development, networking, and capacity building through a process of consultation, collaboration and action-research. It's a two-way learning experience, with students also developing social and cultural awareness, and learning practical skills from direct involvement with real businesses.

Each RARE Project runs at different stages throughout the year, depending on the needs of the enterprise. Student applicants are required to select their three preferences, and on selection are matched appropriately based on skills, experience, interest, degree requirements and availability.

Current and Upcoming RARE Projects

Project Location Activities
Artback NT Dance Borroloola, NT A visual and performing arts touring agency delivering art in regional areas of the Northern Territory linking communities, empowering artists, presenting quality cultural experiences and facilitating local and national outcomes.
Bundian Way Eden, NSW Developing staff training programs, building infrastructure, and marketing the Bundian Way, the first indigenous pathway to be listed on the NSW State Heritage Register.
Northwest Land Council Dubbo, NSW Seeking partnerships between regional indigenous bodies and leading industries in their region, such as mining, renewable energy, retail etc.
River Cottage Central Tilba, NSW Understanding the social, economic and environmental impacts on the local community as an international television program enters the region and begins a long term project in the remote Narooma area of NSW.
Ungooroo Aboriginal Corp Singleton, NSW Undertaking a strategic overview of a successful indigenous social and commercial organization to validate and potentially replicate their success.
Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Land Council/Rio Tinto Muswellbrook, NSW Seeking to create an indigenous enterprise which can benefit from a potential partnership with Rio Tinto in land regeneration and ongoing working on country services. Looking for opportunity to enable this model to be replicated and scaled across the state.
Bushlight Alice Springs, NT Ensuring isolated indigenous communities have access to reliable and affordable energy services the design and installation of high quality renewable energy systems.
Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) Alice Springs, NT Building solar energy farms in remote Northern Territory to bring energy independence to the region and its people.

Past RARE Projects

RARE endeavours to provide long-term support to its enterprise partners. This requires flexibility, commitment and time to review, plan and scope past and future projects to ensure our engagement is having the greatest impact, and adapting to compliment changing needs. The below projects are examples of past engagements, but are currently not available for RARE student placements.

Project Location Activities
Broken Hill City Council Broken Hill, NSW Utilising the city's heritage to propagate entrepreneurial opportunities, and establish a cost effective, retro-fitting enterprise to bring functionality back to the city's dilapidated buildings, while preserving culture and heritage. These projects will be run over Winter School in July 2013, in a cross-disciplinary unit with the Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning (BUSS 6509)


Western Division, NSW

Business planning to establish a commercial bio-fuel enterprise (IBUS6011)

Paddock to Plate

Brindabella Ranges (NSW/ACT)

Business modeling to support sustainable farmers selling directly to conscientious customers (IBUS6016)

Darwin Regional Indigenous Advancement & CDEP Inc. (DRIACDEP) x 2

Darwin region, NT

Establishing a community owned and operated café to provide training, employment and social inclusion benefits in the Belyuen community (IBUS6016)

Business planning for Bush Harvest to identify revenue streams to support local communities producing bush products from native vegetation (IBUS6016)

Three Sistas

Cairns, QLD

Supported accommodation social enterprise offering accommodation and support services to indigenous people away from community (IBUS6016)

Bana Yarralji Bulka

Shipton Flats, QLD

Planning to incorporate a visitor fee revenue model into current operations, including on-country hosting and cultural and conservation education for groups (IBUS6016)

Murrin Bridge Connections Murrin Bridge, NSW Australia's first Aboriginal owned vineyard interested in reinvigorating its operations (IBUS 6011)
Cultural Camps (Walan Jineras) Wollombi, NSW Cultural competency camps for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants, creating awareness and sensitivities to the issues facing Indigenous women, children and communities (IBUS 6016)

Utopia Project

Numerous outstations near Arlparra, NT

Remote Indigenous art centre governance, operations and economic sustainability

Tjutjunaku Worka Tjuta Inc. (TWT) Ceduna, SA Youth hub and online learning centre for disengaged youth
Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation (MPREC) Walgett, NSW Establishing a laundromat to employ local Indigenous people, and provide a sustainable business for the community
Paupiyala Tjarutja Aboriginal Corporation (PTAC) Tjuntjuntjara, WA Rabbit meat harvesting for trade within the local community
Barkly Shire Council Ali Curung, NT Coffin manufacture and decoration in traditional indigenous art
The Green, Resource Recovery Tuncurry, Forster, NSW Analysing opportunities for e-waste recycling in the region
Analysis of the market opportunities in the area for compost produced from the green-waste on site
Bana Yarralji Bulka Shipton Flats, QLD Providing an on-country hosting experience to visitors, incorporating indigenous environmental and cultural education - Business Plan
Providing an on-country hosting experience to visitors, incorporating environmental and cultural education - Marketing Plan
Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council Batemans Bay, NSW Sustainable Logging and Firewood enterprise, owned and run by the local indigenous community
NSW Aboriginal Land Council Bourke and Coonamble, NSW Business planning for rural property management including agricultural and cultural activities
Darwin Regional Indigenous Advancement & CDEP Inc. (DRIACDEP) Darwin and surrounding region, NT Supported accommodation for indigenous trainees and interns staying in Darwin, away from their community
Gary Lang NT Dance Company blending both profession dance performances, with classes for the community and youth in the region as an approach to improving wellbeing
Aboriginal Bush Traders - retail outlet for indigenous produced arts, bush foods and products, and other community produced goods.
Aboriginal Bush Traders - Tourism Hub representative of local indigenous tourism operators, and offering hospitality services at events
Broken Hill City Council Broken Hill, NSW Reinvigoration of the community's old power station in cross-disciplinary groups including architecture and business students
Broken Hill Art Exchange Broken Hill, NSW Scoping and developing opportunities to expand Broken Hill's creative industry enterprises
Lithgow Micro Franchising Lithgow, Blue Mountains (NSW) Developing a blueprint for Micro Franchising
Two eight two eight Gulargambone, NSW Integrated facility including a cafe, tourism information, arts and craft sales, and other community events

Student Placements

The RARE program: Overview

RARE provides the opportunity to engage in a two-way learning exchange with real enterprises in remote and rural Australia. The program enables students to complete action-research projects addressing challenges and opportunities particular to each enterprise partner, and includes a week placement with the community to deepen understanding, social and cultural awareness and build relationships. Each project requires specific skill sets, cultural sensitivities and levels of engagement.

The program is open to all adventurous, resourceful self-starters enrolled in postgraduate studies at the University of Sydney Business School.

Participants are selected on the basis of strong academic results, relevant past experience and demonstrated understanding of and appreciation for community development and entrepreneurship. If selected, participants elect to enrol in a unit of study that can accommodate the flexibility required by a RARE project. Further details and the application form are below.

RARE placement: The RARE experience

What to expect

A RARE Experience offers the unique opportunity to visit a remote and rural community (whether indigenous or not) and work collaboratively with a local enterprise to develop their vision. You will investigate, develop and implement sustainable business practices, adapted to the community's local socio-cultural and market needs. The experience will provide a two-way learning exchange in a rich community environment, whereby your 'world view' and societal assumptions will be challenged and enriched, and your class-room learning and skills will be put to the test.

The placements will be between 7 to 14 days, and for some projects you will have the opportunity to visit your remote and rural enterprise community twice. There are a variety of RARE projects each requiring different skills sets, and commitment levels, and where applicable you will be working with students from other disciplines. The facilities and accommodation will vary across project, from swags and tents, to budget hotels.


RARE will assist in covering the major costs associated with travelling to these remote and rural enterprises. The majority of RARE placements will be covered for accommodation, and flights. Due to discrepancies in the allocation of external funding for particular projects, some placements will include car hire, petrol and taxi costs. Living allowance is almost always the responsibility of the student. Funding is sourced from a variety of sources including the Business School, foundations, and government, amongst others.

Credit towards your degree

Business School credit:

These projects can be completed for credit if students are able to enrol in the units below. These units can be taken as electives for Master of Commerce (specialising in Strategy and Innovation), Master of International Business, and Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Enterprise.

  • IBUS6016 Social Entrepreneurship (Sem1, Summer School)
  • IBUS6015 Innovation and Enterprise Special Project (Sem1, Sem2, Winter and Summer)
  • IBUS6017 Creative Industries and Enterprise (Summer School)
  • BUSS6509 Business Project (Sem1, Sem2, Winter and Summer)

What if I am studying a Business School Masters other than what is mentioned above?

If you still have elective units to complete we can work with the coordinator of your masters degree to gain approval for enrolment in alternative units.

Masters of Sustainability - thesis (SUST5007):

Students completing a Master of Sustainability can choose to complete a RARE project as a thesis in unit SUST5007. We have a close relationship with the sustainability staff, with many of these complex enterprise challenges requiring an integrated and cross-disciplinary sustainability approach.

Students from other disciplines:

RARE projects often present challenges with cross-disciplinary components, enriching student learning through exposure to new problems solving approaches and ways of thinking. We will work with you and your faculty to find a flexible unit of study appropriate for action-research projects. Each faculty is different, and unfortunately this is not always possible.

Projects: selection, allocation & types

Working with real enterprises and communities requires flexibility in our planning to accommodate specific needs, and the pace and level of enterprise development. We ask students to choose three enterprise projects they are most interested in, as it is not always appropriate for RARE to engage consistently every semester. New projects and enterprise partnerships are always being scoped and developed in a variety of sectors, and are not always displayed on the website during the initial planning stage. Placement dates are arranged once students are selected. We work to accommodate student academic and work requirements, while also aligning with the enterprise's availability.

Projects can be completed during either semester, or over the summer and winter semester breaks as a six-week intensive unit.

Projects include (but are not limited to) business plans, feasibility studies, information memorandums, or specific analysis of a particular issue or opportunity relevant to the enterprise i.e. analysis of particular markets, technology, business models, and governance.

Activities and involvement

Stage Requirement

Prior to the placement

Participate in cultural awareness preparation (if visiting an indigenous community), which will include a reading pack covering indigenous history and culture, podcasts, and films.

Attend a briefing session with the RARE coordinator and past RARE students to discuss your expectations, plan the research objectives, run through the travel logistics, and ask any questions. You will also be required to complete some forms regarding conditions of participation, and insurance.

Conduct background research on the community and the enterprise.

Liaise with the identified contacts in the community to arrange meetings, activities, visits and generally prepare for your visit.

Plan your research approach and questions, and be clear on your objectives. Identify key areas that need addressing once on your placement and the possible sources of this information.

While in the remote and rural community

Consult and interact with the local people, and participate in their daily activities when invited.

Be culturally sensitive, patient and prepared to learn through attentive listening and watching.

Reflect on your experiences, both as a group and individually, through group discussions, and journal keeping.

Engage in your action-research project, and be prepared to talk to as many people as possible both formally and informally, and be creative in your methods and thinking.

At the conclusion of the placement

Once back in Sydney, brief the next RARE Experience cohort and be an ambassador for the program.

Provide feedback to the program organisers via a debriefing session and feedback questionnaire regarding:

  • The running of the RARE Experience and the organisation of the trip,
  • Your research findings and insights, and
  • How the experience contributed to your professional development and learning.

Finalise and complete the agreed project output to a high standard, and be willing to answer any questions the remote and rural entrepreneurs might pose.

All RARE projects require students to commit to a one week placement with the community, a high quality of work, and a curious and creative approach to the complexity you will face. A RARE project provides a rich learning experience, and an opportunity to have a positive impact on some of Australia's most challenged communities. These are real projects, engaging with real people to support the initiation and development of remote and rural enterprises.

The application process


Eligible students must be currently enrolled, completing postgraduate study, and either local or international.

Selection criteria

Consideration will be given to a student's:

  • Extra curricula activities
  • Academic performance
  • Reasons for wanting to take part
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm
  • Interest in community development

Application process

The application process requires students to submit:

Please email these three items to Noah Stewart, with the email subject "RARE Experience Application".

If you are unsure of whether you are eligible for credit and don't want to formally apply yet, contact the RARE Coordinator via email.



What was most enjoyable about the RARE Program? "The slow building of trusting relationships, [and] feeling those relationships deepen over time and becoming more valuable and fruitful as this occurred??? The feeling of working towards something with direct impact on individuals and communities who not only need but passionately want the outcomes being sought."  Jacqui Gilligan, Bana Yarralji Bulka and NSWALC property planning, 2012

I found the RARE experience invaluable in helping me to clarify where my interests lie and to begin to see ways in which my skills can be applied towards creating social impact." Jacqui Gilligan, Bana Yarralji Bulka and NSWALC property planning, 2012

"The hands on, action learning through the two RARE projects has had far more impact on my learning, understanding, interest, engagement and targeted research than any prior learning opportunities or styles." Jacqui Gilligan, Bana Yarralji Bulka and NSWALC property planning, 2012

"Without RARE, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, CSR can all sound like just another buzz word to be used in a resume or a corporate website." Annie Truong, Batemans Bay Firewood and Logging, 2012

"The RARE program at Broken Hill is a great way to gain an understanding of the outback Australian lifestyle, meet unique characters and eventually use your existing skill-base to assist them as well as learning new skills. This [project] is great for self development" Tony Hao Huang, Broken Hill, July 2012

"This style of learning produces much greater results than class room learning as it reduces group-think and forces people to deal with real-life complexities and limitations rather than simply working under ideal assumptions and scenarios" Tom Tramby, Business student, Broken Hill, July 2012

"The program was a unique opportunity to engage with the community and produce meaningful work...I liked the way it challenged my ways of thinking and helped me ask the right questions to reach strong conclusions" Elisa Chan, Business student, Broken Hill, July 2012

"The journey was full of uncertainties, obstacles and dead ends much like a maze. Having concluded this unit of study I've exited the maze and equipped myself with a much more refined set of skills" Tony Hao Huang, Broken Hill, July 2012

"Real learning should be about investigating, questioning, adapting and making meaningful connections and achievable solution. Broken Hill has not given me answers, but rather begged more questions... there is no singular way of doing things and often the best results arise through compromise and collaboration" Lilian Tuohy Main, Broken Hill, July 2012

"Amazing experience!... I had the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal culture and challenges that rural enterprises face." Emin Ilyas, Ceduna Youth Hub, 2012

"[RARE] exposed me to the issues that Indigenous Australians face today I was also able to meet some great people and travel through country towns I had never heard of" Hal Hissey, Walgett Laundromat, 2012

"I think [RARE] has made me realise how different the [Indigenous] cultures are in different areas and there needs to be greater sensitivity whenever people want to generalise.."  Annie Truong, Batemans Bay Firewood and Logging, 2012

"[The program] really reinforced my value of social justice. Hearing of the social issues here, in particular, from the indigenous community, gave me a better understanding of the depth and complexity of [the] struggles caused by inequality" Angus Henson, Broken Hill, July 2012

"The Social Entrepreneurship unit and the RARE Program had a profound impact on the direction I'm considering following graduation later this year. I would love to meet more social entrepreneurs / advisors to learn more about the emerging field." Brittany Roper, Ceduna Youth Hub, 2012

"The RARE program exposed me to a lot of amazing individuals who are doing a lot of great work for Indigenous Australians and it was good to see that businesses can be sustainable with a social mission at heart. In future I hope to factor social priorities into my career decisions... I am now more interested in volunteering and helping other social enterprises." Hal Hissey, Walgett Laundromat, 2012

"The first hand experience in working with people living in remote areas is very rewarding. It is challenging but also life changing." Christine Davis, Central Desert, 2012

"RARE inspires you to give a lot. I invested a significant amount of emotional and intellectual energy in this unit of study. In addition the time commitment was double that required by other subjects for the same academic credit. With RARE projects it is hard to retain a sense of perspective and balance. A line seems to be crossed making it hard to retain distance and perspective as the people and the cause become significantly more important than the academic credit sought. RARE projects are personal and they hurt." Christine Davis, Central Desert, 2012

"The RARE program provided me with the most interesting challenge and learning experience. Through meeting people, listening to their problems and experiencing the remoteness of a rural community, the RARE experience enhanced my understanding of the term social value and its importance for such communities" Gia Yen Tran, Broken Hill, September 2011

What was most enjoyable about your RARE Experience?

"Five days of complete and utter confusion as to how to make a sustainable business model, then finally the idea on the train trip back home. And it was not a 'brilliant, out of nowhere' idea, it was a combination of many things that had been said and discussed over the week, that all came together in the form of a new idea. Very rewarding…"Tom Pastro, Broken Hill, September 2011

"The RARE programme is an incredible opportunity to get hands-on experience and direct engagement with unique development initiatives in remote communities. RARE gives you the ability to meet interesting, experienced professionals within the field, and enables you to gain a high level of cultural awareness within a targeted community." Phoebe Goodwin, Utopia June 2011

"Personally, the Urapuntja visit inspired me to consider further studies in social development and community project management, which I may be able to commence in 2012. It offered me the motivation to look deeper into my career priorities from social impact point of view and strengthened my feeling of personal responsibility as an Australian resident towards the country's Indigenous population in a significant manner." Jaana Kervin, Utopia June 2011


"Your students have been very impressive; intelligent, engaged, engaging and well-educated. They have been very responsible and hard-working and are a credit to your program. They've understood us, challenged us, informed us and inspired us. We've learned a great deal from them and with them." Sue Ogilvy, Co-founder, My Farm Shop, 2013

"The whole RARE project from start to finish was enjoyable and informative process to engage provided an opportunity to look objectively at the enterprise development and operational activities." Rene Wykes, MPREC Training Manager, Laundromat 2012

"I had high expectations of the work that students would produce and I was not disappointed. I would consider the business plans suitable to be adopted for use." Peter Jericho, Youth Hub Engagement Officer, 2012

"This was a very valuable experience for all parties including MPREC, Walgett Community and RARE Students...The students were of excellent calibre" Rene Wykes, MPREC Training Manager, Laundromat, 2012

"Some of the ideas and perspectives that emerged from the students' work were very interesting and new for us...The program has provided mentoring, support and a new perspective which is very helpful when developing an enterprise and managing the unforseen challenges that arise." Fiona Pemberton, PTAC General Manager, Rabbit Meat Harvesting, 2012

"Combining my 20 years of setting up businesses with the academic brilliance of the students [was most enjoyable]. We reached solutions and pathways that I had not previously thought of." Louis Katsikitis, Barkly Shire Council CDEP Executive Officer, Coffin Manufacturing, 2012

"I wanted to extend my thanks to [the RARE students] for your input…Working on a project like this alone and one day a week can get you thinking down straight tracks…Your involvement was refreshing and challenging to what I was doggedly ploughing on with…I think the project will [be] vastly improved by your work. And that offers the prospect of making some substantial difference to the lives of many people… in this little dot on the map." Peter Morris, Enterprise Connect, Lithgow 2011

"Universities have the capacity to effect real results through research within the homeland context. Their involvement on-country supports homeland communities to establish enterprises and fosters educational relationships tailored to community needs." John Mofflin, GM of the Jack Thompson Foundation, 2012

"Our not for profit, waste management business has benefitted enormously from the partnership with the RARE Program. The enthusiasm and expertise of the Coordinator,…and the two students who selected our organisation have significantly boosted our organisation's profile, morale and financial prospects…The Sydney Uni students and Coordinator are great role models for the young people who work at Resource Recovery and have inspired me to further develop my own levels of expertise. As a result of their visits, questions and research, we are learning so much more about where we want to take our business." Lisa Strudwick, Project Manager, The Green - Resource Recovery, 2012

RARE Mentors

Peter Bradd

Founding and Executive Director, Fishburners.
CEO and Founder, ScribblePics

Peter Bradd Peter Bradd is founder of ScribblePics, a business that makes web sites and iPhone apps to let you turn your photos into real postcards. Their clients include Qantas and Jetstar. When Peter isn't dreaming about the holiday fun he sees in all all the postcards, he's running Fishburners, which is perhaps asia pacific's largest tech co working space, home to over 100 tech businesses.

Kate Carruthers

Kate Carruthers is a business leader who has delivered strategic IT, marketing, web and e-commerce solutions for diverse organisations across the private sector and government. She is deeply involved with social media and the digital revolution. Over the past few years Kate has worked with business, web, and marketing teams to deliver integrated digital and marketing strategies.

Kate has completed postgraduate studies in management, marketing and e-commerce. In addition to consulting, Kate has also delivered business management training (Diploma of Business and Certificate IV in Business) and coaching to clients including NSW Department of Commerce and Office of Fair Trading. Previously she lectured at Macquarie University in the Graduate Accounting Program.

She has worked in senior executive roles with a broad range of organisations including - Westfield Ltd, NSW State Treasury, General Electric, AMP Limited, Citibank, and the National Trust of Australia.

In recent years Kate has also become involved in start-ups and the local entrepreneur community. She co-founded Social Innovation Sydney with the goal of bringing change-makers together for collaboration and creation of new businesses.

Kate is a longstanding member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), was the Chair of the IEEE Computer Society (NSW), and is a Senior Member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Kate can be found online: her personal blog is and Twitter @kcarruthers

Kylie Charlton

Managing Director and Cofounder, Unitus Capital

Kylie Charlton is Managing Director and Co-founder of Unitus Capital, a financial services company dedicated to working with entrepreneurial businesses serving low-income communities. Working at the intersection of mainstream capital markets, social impact investing and philanthropy since 2004, Kylie has arranged capital for microfinance institutions and social businesses, structured specialised impact investment funds, advised banks, investment funds and governments, and written widely on the topic of impact investment. She has been an active contributor to the emergence of impact investing in Australia authoring submissions and participating in roundtables for commissioned studies of the Australian Government Productivity Commission and Senate Economics References Committee in regard to the development of a social capital market in Australia, consulting to and serving as an ex-officio committee member for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations in regard to Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund (SEDIF), and co-authoring reports for the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) on the NSW Government Social Impact Bond Pilot and Understanding Social Impact Partnership in Western Australia. Kylie is actively committed to developing the market for impact investing and mobilising capital to enable innovative solutions to local and global challenges.

Kerry Grace

Founder, Evolve Network Australia

Kerry founded Evolve Network Australia in 2003 and has managed the business since, offering coaching, strategic planning and facilitation to small businesses, specialising in organisational change.

Kerry has maintained a career in adult education, experiencing her first coaching and training role with Persuaders Concepts Australia Sydney (1997) then working with a variety of Registered Training Providers between Wollongong NSW and the Mid North Coast of NSW. In 2012 Kerry worked in a senior leadership role for North Coast TAFE as a Business Capability Consultant for the Community Development and Aboriginal Engagement portfolio.

Kerry's earlier career was spent in Sydney and Wollongong and included marketing manager and coordinator for Work for the Dole projects. She also owned Recorded Industry Press Entertainment (RIPE) (2001-2008), working primarily as an artist development and event management business.

Selena Griffith

Co-founder, Social Innovation Sydney
Lecturer, UNSW COFA

Selena Griffith is a designer and academic interested in the roles that designers play in mapping our futures. After 15 years working in the design Industry she is now applying her experience to teaching at UNSW, COFA.

She believes that design thinking can be used to solve most problems in innovative ways and that designers make significant decisions in their work that, due to the potential scale of production, impact on the collective footprint and consumption patterns of those who use their products. If well informed these decisions can make very positive change such as reducing resource usage, providing considered end of life options and extending usage. Designers cannot, however, make effective change decisions in isolation. They need to collaborate and innovate with other disciplines.
Her interest in creating positive futures through transformative design thinking has led her to produce teaching tools and methods to assist with the development of innovation, collaboration, co-creation and design thinking skills.

Selena researches in Design Management, Sustainability, Collaboration, Social Innovation, Futures and Education. She is very interested in helping organisations effectively utilise design thinking to deliver more sustainable products and services. Co-creation and nexus, where people from different backgrounds and professions come together in collaborations that result in innovation or new perceptions, fascinates Griffith and she not only researches in this area but has also developed courses to teach the skills needed to run multidisciplinary creative collaborations.

In 2011 Selena cofounded Social Innovation Sydney, she hosts the quarterly Sydney Design Management Night Out events and annual Global Service Design and Global Sustainability Jams in Sydney. She is also Co-Director of the annual LiveFutures2020 Festival. Selena is currently working on a live experiment exploring sustainability at a domestic level.

Selena is a councillor at Pittwater Council.

Sandra Kemp

Director of Operations, SEFA

Sandra has worked in the finance industry for 15 years, the last 11 of which were with Macquarie Group in the role of Operations Manager, Macquarie Research. Sandra has extensive project management and operations experience in Australia and internationally. She has worked across the commercial and community/NFP sector and commenced her career with NSW Department of Land & Water Conservation as an Hydrologist.

Sandra will be joining the panel to which RARE students will present their final projects at the end of semester.

Joanne McNeill

PhD Candidate, University of Western Sydney

Joanne is currently on a leave of absence from Parramatta City Council, where she manages the Social Enterprise Program which she established in 2007. She is working on a PhD titled: Enabling social innovation - opportunities for sustainable local and regional development. In 2012 Joanne joined Social Enterprise Finance Australia's Credit Committee and the Management Committee of Multicultural Enterprises Australia. Until recently she was a member of the Social Innovation Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Alliance, and also co-founded Social Enterprises Sydney and the NSW Social Procurement Action Group. Joanne co-authored Australian Stories of Social Enterprise, and in 2009 was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to undertake a study tour exploring public sector support for social enterprise development. Previously, Joanne was the Network Relations Manager for the pilot of the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership, a corporate social responsibility initiative. She has worked in consulting, briefly in the nonprofit sector and in community theatre, and also spent two years living and working in Central America with her then young family.

Alice Palmer

Co-founder and Co-CEO, Zookal
Project Manager, The Malpa Project

Alice is passionate about social justice and community-led development. She has had a long association with Indigenous people across Australia, particularly in Central Australia where she is known as Napaltjarri. Alice was Project Manager for The Malpa Project, designing and developing holistic health promotion projects in collaboration with remote Aboriginal communities and engaging in project delivery with remote and rural communities.

She was a member of the inaugural Australia’s Brightest Young Minds Conference and was a delegate to the Federal Government 2020 Youth Summit. Alice has worked in a school in Gomoa Manso, Ghana and was active in the Make Poverty History campaign, as a leader with the Oaktree Foundation, and has also worked in refugee case work with Amnesty International. She was co-founder of SHOUT, an organisation to support children and young women’s rights in developing countries. Currently she works with vulnerable asylum seekers, delivering complex casework support. Her formal qualifications include a Bachelor of International Studies (major in political economy) and a Masters in International Law from the University of Sydney.

David Rickards

Managing Director, SEFA

David was the Head of Research and an Executive Director at Macquarie Bank for the past 16 years, coordinating a team based throughout Australia, Asia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. David is an authority on global equities and capital markets, with particular expertise in strategic analysis and risk assessment. He is now devoting himself to the establishment and growth of SEFA a social enterprise finance company, where he is managing director. Before joining Macquarie he was responsible for establishing the risk management company BARRA International in Australia. David is also a Director, and Treasurer, of Bush Heritage Australia.

Tia Saunders

Co-founder and Co-CEO, Zookal
Founder, Social Startup48

Tia Saunders is the prior Co-Founders and Co-Ceo of Australia's largest and fastest growing textbook rental company, which after two years she has successfully exited. Tia was instrumental in helping secure venture capital at a $5m valuation after 9 months of launch the company, this lead the founders to Silicon Valley and landed Zookal as one of the top ten startups of the year for BRW magazine. Along with this Tia has also founded Australian Collaborative Entrepreneur Society (ACES) and Social Startup48 a kick starter weekend event to help increase the number of social enterprises in Australia. For her work in the startup community she won 30 under 30 entrepreneur of the year award by Anthill magazine, was nominated for G20YES summit in mexico and has been featured in a variety of media outlets including; Financial Review, The Australian, The Age and among others.

Tia believes in business models that make an impact above their profit line, loves great food and great conversation and believes some of the best ideas are those scribbled on a napkin over coffee.