Global Sisters

Annual Report 2016-17

Yasmin Elkassar, Yassie, Liverpool

Photograph: WonderLight Photography


Nina Kovacevic, Raw Honey Beauty, Sydney

Photograph: WonderLight Photography

We believe

Gender equality and financial independence for all women will make a better world for all of us. Not every woman can find a suitable job that fits around her life circumstances. Every woman should be able to stand tall in the knowledge that she is financially independent and free to make positive choices for herself, her family and community.

Loraini Duikorokoro, Domestic Cleaning, Sydney

Photograph: WonderLight Photography

What we do

We invest our resources where they will have the biggest impact – in women. We are a global innovator operating in Australia providing end to end business development support. We work with women whose circumstances prevent them from accessing mainstream employment.

Our brochure
Business journey roadmap

Cheryl Tomlinson, End of Life Consultant,
Albury Wodonga

Photographer: Manifeasto Photography

Snapshot 2016-17

On the ground

Global Sisters has expanded further and is now operating across five locations in Queensland, NSW, the ACT and Victoria. We are excited to be testing out our model in a variety of settings ranging from metropolitan to rural. Join us for an overview of what is happening on the ground in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, the Hume region in regional Victoria and Melbourne.


Joanne Diver, The Backyard Garden Enthusiast, Albury Wodonga

Photographer: Manifeasto Photography

Naima Aluia

The Secret Garden, Minto

“Sister School helped me make a business and showed me how to sell a product.”

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Program: GLO

As youth unemployment continues to rise GLO has been created to expose young women 16-24 years to self employment as a potential career path, changing the mindset where employed vs unemployed are the only options. GLO creates an entrepreneurial experience to empower young women to make a job rather than take one. GLO has been successfully piloted in Brisbane and Sydney with Melbourne next.

Watch the video

GLO Brisbane participants at Griffith University, Logan Campus

Photographer: Rachael Baskerville

Program: My Big Idea

Our My Big Idea workshop helps women to turn their passion and potential into a sustainable business idea. This half day workshop allows us to reach a large cohort of women motivated to be self employed but in need of extra support to land on a viable idea. Since launching 209 women have taken part in 17 workshops with around 70% moving their ideas forward to participate in Sister School.

My Big Idea participant at Wesley Mission, Brisbane

Photographer: Nicole Bray

Program: Sister School

Sister School equips women to start up or accelerate an early stage business. Specifically designed for women facing barriers to workforce participation it provides the practical knowledge, skill development and support needed to start or grow a business. In the previous twelve months 11 Sister Schools have run with 148 women participating. Our focus now is on digitalising the program to increase access and reach.

Read about Sister School

Ngapera Paki, Nezian Impact, Liverpool

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Cheryl Wilmot

Garlic Farmer, Benalla

“Sister School gave me permission to plant a seed of hope…My Big Idea and Sister School have opened up a door to a network of people who are willing to help me. It’s amazing! A member of the pitch panel was inspired by my business idea and offered me land to grow my garlic. This helped me realise that my idea is worthy. That offer of help was so empowering and reinforced that I am on the right business journey.”

Photographer: Manifeasto Photography

Business coaching

After completing Sister School, women can join the Accelerate program and access business coaching which is practical, project based and completely personalised. This can vary in format from one on one to group speed coaching and different expert coaches are accessed as needed ranging from technical to financial and strategic. This vital part of our model has a significant impact on accelerating business growth.

Coaching opportunities

Tigidankay Daramy, Gara Dyer and Kirsten Smith, business coach, Warwick Farm

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Program: Microfinance

Global Sisters business loans were designed to fill the gap in the market, enabling our Sisters to access safe business finance under $5,000. We offer a Start-Up Purse of up to $1000 and a Growth Wallet of up to $4000 to start up or early stages of business development. We are working to develop Australia’s first microinsurance product specifically for female entrepreneurs. We aim to provide access to affordable and simple business insurance for Sisters with early stage businesses.

MicroFinance Details

Nip and Gayana Wijewickrema
GG’s Flowers, Canberra

Photographer: Lorna Sim

Phaengta Sisouvath

Ma Ta’s Kitchen, Miller

“We watched such an astounding transformation in Phaengta’s confidence from the start of Sister School when she would not speak and kept her head down, to the completion five days later, when she pitched a compelling business plan in English, in front of her peers and a panel.”

Heather Thomson, Global Sisters COO

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Program: The Market

The launch of our social business has a dual purpose in offering a sales channel for some of our Sisters as well as sustainable organisational income. The Market offers a customer shopping experience to our line of over 70 products which fully express our brand values of handmade, ethical and luxe. We are currently supporting eleven Sisters and eight social enterprises by selling their handcrafted products and have just employed a product designer to work with Sisters to grow our range.
Experience The Market   Website:    Instagram; @lovethemarket

Joanne Wolles

Goanna Hut Catering, Kogarah

“Global Sisters opened up doors and connected me to some good opportunities. It’s given me confidence and supported me to progress quickly.”

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Social impact

Global Sisters is measuring progress against our mission of helping women to become financially independent and stand tall through business. We are testing our theory of change and tracking progress at both an individual and group level over three to four years. As Sisters move along our roadmap of enterprise incubation and acceleration 5 social impact domains are measured; Business Acumen, Financial Resilience, Empowerment and Influence. Our framework is integrated with national financial resilience measures.

Impact infographic

Cindy Chen, AMOK Cambodian Catering, Bonnyrigg

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Our Sister Tribe

Every day our community grows and with it so does our movement of collaboration, celebration, support and achievements. Many of our Sisters are isolated and our Sister Tribe is a powerful part of our model. Women connect face to face in the education programs and at our many events ranging from photo shoots to group coaching and pop up markets. They continue to connect, share and cheer each other along online in our closed Sister Tribe facebook group always reinforcing #AllWomenAreSisters.

Moana Strickland & Naima Aluia, Sister School, Minto

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Thank you

We are extremely excited, greatful and proud of the partnerships we hold which allow us to continue this exciting journey every day. Our ‘big 4’ multi year partners Citi Foundation, Myer Community Fund, AMP Foundation and the Department of Social Services give us the foundations upon which we operate. We are also incredibly fortunate to have the belief and commitment of a number of private foundations, some incredible pro bono business support and of course our brilliant business coaches!

Meet our partners

Pamela Mujica, PAMdesign, Melbourne

Photographer: LJM Photography

We’re incredibly proud of our diverse, dedicated, passionate, socially conscious human beings with big hearts and equally big brains which is particularly helpful in an extremely fast moving innovative organisation with big goals like ours. With the support of our Ambassadors and Board we think the sky is the limit.

Our Team

Mandy Richards

Heather Thomson
Chief Operating Officer

Elizabeth Henegan
Head of Finance

Karen Miles
Head of Retail

Jessica Hyde
Logistics Lead

Lauren Wilby
Admin Lead

Anna Crabb
Accelerator Lead, Melbourne

Sandra Lloyd
Accelerator Lead, ACT

Charlotte Mellis
Accelerator Lead, Sydney

Joanne Khoo
Social Impact Lead

Lisa Edinburg
Head of Engagement

Janine Lee
Accelerator Lead, Brisbane

Sandy King
Accelerator Lead, Hume

Mary-Anne Scully
Accelerator Lead, Hume

Asja Svilans
Accelerator Lead, Brisbane

We’re incredibly proud of our diverse, dedicated, passionate, socially conscious human beings with big hearts and equally big brains which is particularly helpful in an extremely fast moving innovative organisation with big goals like ours. With the support of our Ambassadors and Board we think the sky is the limit.


Mandy Richards

Olivia Loadwick

Caroline McLaughlin
Vice Chairperson

David Barnes

Torek Farhadi
Board Member

Adelle Jackman
Board Member

Ian Lockhart
Board Member

We’re incredibly proud of our diverse, dedicated, passionate, socially conscious human beings with big hearts and equally big brains which is particularly helpful in an extremely fast moving innovative organisation with big goals like ours. With the support of our Ambassadors and Board we think the sky is the limit.


Nicole Eckels
Sapphire Group

Pearl Chan

Alex Riggs

Mirabai Winford
Purebaby Organic

Kate Sutton

Cristina Re
Cristina Re

Diem Fuggersberger
Berger Ingredients

Louise Curtis
Lollypotz, Hamperesque and Pink Frosting

Terri Winter
top3 by design

Jo Dampney
Skin Juice

Traza Brag

White Nile Women

“When we come to Sister School we realise we are not making money. This is important.”

Photographer: Dayna Johnson

What next

We are half way through our initial three year strategic plan and it has been a breath taking ride of achievements for such a short period. Our business accelerator model continues to evolve with the launching and refining of a solid offering of business education and coaching combined with microfinance, market access and technology. We have launched our social business The Market which is part of our sustainability plan. Our focus is on being 25% self sustainable by the end of 2018 and we are beginning work on developing a tech platform to scale access to our business education and coaching.

Ting Wu, Ti Apparel Designs, Sydney

Photographer: WonderLight Photography


Our investment in organisational sustainability has resulted in raising a total commitment of $2.8m to date placing the organisation in a secure financial position for the next two years. Our 2016/17 income came from a diverse pool with just under 50% coming from our three major corporate partners followed by Government 28%, private philanthropic foundations16%. Our 2016/17 expenditure of $800k is made up of programs 70%, organisational sustainability 14%, social impact and infrastructure both 8%.

Financial report 2017

Yasmin Farhart, Disability advocate and artist, Bankstown

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Follow us

Join us

Mandy Richards, CEO:
Heather Thomson, COO:

Pakao Sorn, Red Owl, Canberra

Photographer: Lorna Sim

ABN 36 162 363 180
PO Box 4077, North Curl Curl 2099, NSW

Saba Abraham, Mu’ooz Eritream Restaurant & Catering, Brisbane

Photographer: Simeons Svilans