3 Top Social Entrepreneurs from Australia in 2011

As an Aussie myself, I’m proud to present to you 3 Australian social entrepreneurs who were recognized in 2011. Check them out!

1. Australian Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Australian social entrepreneur Simon McKeon is the recipient of the Australian of the Year 2011 award for his work in supporting a variety of Australian and international charities. Simon is a prominent investment banker and an avid yachtsman, but he didn’t want to sacrifice his passion for the community sector in favor of his career.

To reconcile this, he cut down his executive role to a part time position in 1994 in order to focus more on his charitable work. He joined the board of World Vision Australia, and currently serves as Chairman of the CSIRO and Business for Millennium Development. This organization encourages businesses to engage with and support development in emerging markets. McKeon recently retired from his role as chairman of MS Research and president of the Federal government Takeover Panel.

2. Sydney Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Julian Lee was recognized as the Sydney Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2011 by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). Lee was honored for his work in establishing the first fair trade, organic fresh food deliver service in Sydney.

His social enterprise called Food Connect Sydney began operating with around 20 subscribers in 2010 and has quickly grown to deliver over 250 boxes per week to City Cousins across Sydney. The company has also donated over $1000 in fresh food to those in need through their foundation, and they are currently assisting in flood relief work to help farmers in Queensland. Julian is a recent graduate of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and he notes how influential the education and support they provided was to the success of Food Connect.

3. Melbourne Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Laura Egan was recognized as the Melbourne Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2011 by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). She is the founder of the social enterprise Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP), which promotes and supports the development of small business in rural Aboriginal communities in Australia.

Laura received the award at her SSE graduation ceremony, where she and 18 other students celebrated their completion of the 9 month SSE professional development program for social entrepreneurs. ELP designs all of their business projects in partnership with the aboriginal communities to ensure that they are tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of these communities. They have so far assisted in the development of microenterprises including a soap making business, a healthy take way business and a community op shop.