The Studio Team

Libby Ward-Christie

Studio Director

Libby is the original architect of The Studio and leads The Studio’s methodology and research agenda. Informed by many years working with social enterprise, particularly in the areas of business strategy and implementation, governance and social finance, Libby is keen for The Studio to support social enterprise startups and to grow our knowledge and understanding of how that’s done.

Kate Saporta

Studio Manager

Kate is the main point of support for our Studio Enterprises. Drawing on her deep experience of working with social enterprise and her formal training as a chartered accountant, Kate guides each enterprise through The Studio’s four stages of development and supports them to acquire the elements needed to develop impactful and sustainable ventures.


Julie Tucker

Programs Manager

Julie provides all of Studio coordination and works closely with each member of the Studio team to support the delivery of the Studio’s programs. She brings the knowledge gained while working within the not-for profit sector, her experience as a post-doctoral researcher and a passion for co-creating and sharing new knowledge to her role. Julie provides the main point of support for the Studio’s partners and stakeholders and has a special focus on building and growing these critical relationships.


James Kelly

Studio Support

James assists with research, support and collaboration in The Studio. James has joined the team as The Studio has continued to grow. 

Working closely with our social enterprises in his capacity as a Research Assistant, he is engaged in ecosystem mapping, industry research and building the social enterprise evidence-base.

Emma Riseley

Studio Co-Ordinator

Emma keeps The Studio on track and ticking along. She is a research assistant with specific
knowledge of work integration social enterprises and a growing knowledge of Victorian social enterprises and business model innovation. Emma also brings to The Studio experience in the application of co-creation, making sure we uphold our Studio Principle of ‘with not for’.


CSI Swinburne

The Social Startup Studio is an initiative of the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne (CSI Swinburne). CSI Swinburne is part of the CSI network. CSI Swinburne works towards a stronger society for all, through research and scholarship that engages the wider community. CSI advances knowledge about the people, systems and practices that produce positive social impacts. Keep up-to-date with CSI Swinburne and subscribe to their mail list. 

Swinburne logo

Studio Partners

Founding funding partner: Equity Trustees, SIP program

The Social Startup Studio would like to acknowledge and thank Equity Trustees for their financial support, which has been provided by the following trusts in Equity Trustee’s SIP program: Alfred Edments Trust, Truby & Florence Williams Charitable Trust, Harold Moreland Oldham Perpetual Trust, VCF – ANZ fund, VCF – Clare Susan Gardiner Trust, Victorian Community Foundation – General Bequests, CH & CE Waddell Trust, managed by Equity Trustees.

Victorian Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

The Swinburne Social Startup Studio is grateful for the support of the Victorian Government as part of their Skills Development Program for Social Enterprises. This funding supports the Studio Clinics and the development and delivery of the Social Enterprise Fundamentals.

Also in partnership with: