The Launch of The Swinburne Social Startup Studio

Tuesday 27 August 2019

We officially launched The Swinburne Social Startup Studio on Thursday 15 August 2019. Over 50 people braved a cold Melbourne evening to join us in celebrating the start of what we hope to be an innovative and valuable contribution to the social enterprise ecosystem.

A welcome from CSI Swinburne Director, Professor Jo Barraket.

If you missed it, here’s a quick recap…

After a stirring Indigenous acknowledgement by CSI Swinburne’s very own Dr Emma Lee, Swinburne’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Fellow, we were warmly welcomed by Professor Jo Barraket.  As Director of CSI Swinburne and a leading social enterprise scholar, Jo detailed the story of how The Studio grew out of a conversation with philanthropy and particularly Equity Trustees, who were proactively looking for innovative opportunities to strengthen the social enterprise ecosystem.

Libby Ward-Christie, our Social Startup Studio Director, then spoke about The Studio’s approach to strengthening the social enterprise ecosystem by delivering on our three objectives:  

Studio Director, Libby Ward-Christie, presenting findings from our foundational research.

1. Provide quality, evidence-based support to early-stage social enterprises

2. Create opportunities for business students to work with and learn about hybrid, for-purpose business models in practice

3. Share publicly knowledge of what does and doesn’t work for social enterprise startup support

Libby also outlined the foundational research that The Studio Team has undertaken to inform our Studio Principles and Approach.  You can read more about our approach and the research that informed it on our website.

Studio Manager, Kate Saporta, then stepped the gathered crowd through the application process to join The Studio and what Studio Enterprises can expect from our support.

Some of the delicious food from Free to Feed.

…And then there was the food!

We were so lucky to have the social enterprise, Free to Feed, provide a delicious grazing table for our enjoyment. This was topped off by Nikki Dolling, Free to Feed’s Program Manager, sharing with us their own startup story and the incredible work of their cooks who are all refugees, people seeking asylum and new migrants.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone that has supported the journey of The Swinburne Social Startup Studio so far, including all those that could and couldn’t make it to our launch, the fabulous social enterprise founders who participated in our foundational research, students and staff of Swinburne and, of course, Equity Trustees.