Making Business Possible

Global Sisters Annual Report 2017-18

“There are 1 million women in Australia who have high or severe financial vulnerability or stress”


An Le, Gifted + Fearless

Photographer: Briony Walker Photography

“There are 55,000 women who are discouraged job seekers in Australia”

(ABS 2013)

Joanne Wolles, Goanna Hut

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

“Don’t let your story define your ability to achieve.”


Kagi Kowa, Nubia Designs

Photographer: 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. Entrepreneurship should be a genuine alternative for all women. 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.

Our Brochure

Mona Mahamed, Community Support Services Inc.

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Global Sisters is focussed on achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Kazumi Rotapel, Kazumi’s Sweets N Treats
Kanako Nomura, Nom Design

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Who we support

Our model

Our model has been designed and tested across Australia to make business possible for all women. It is place based, collective impact work in action. We are bringing together a diverse group of exceptional people and organisations from the public and private sectors who share our vision and are committed to creating lasting community change. Connecting with Sisters through community partners is central to our model. It enables us to engage with women who want to become financially independent through business, whilst keeping them connected into the support needed around their specific challenges and barriers.

Our highly flexible and entrepreneurial approach allows us to embrace new opportunities and adapt quickly to circumstances and the needs of specific cohorts of women. We’re mobilising community resources to ensure that every woman who wants to be participating economically and earning an income to support herself and her family has that opportunity. We know we cannot do this alone and only by working together can we shift the dial around the complex problems of generational/ long term unemployment and disadvantage.

Read More

2017-2018 Snap shot

“With this support nothing is impossible”


Speciose Nshimirimana, Food business

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

On the ground

Global Sisters works in five regions around Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and the Hume region of Victoria. We set out to operate in both urban and regional areas, and in vastly different communities, so that we could test and adapt our model to those circumstances. We have found our model is flexible enough to work effectively in all these locations, as well as with groups of women from remote Indigenous communities and various Pacific Islands when partnering with The Nature Conservancy. Each location has it’s own ‘local flavour’ which comes from the incredible staff and coaches who live in the local area.

We focus on high unemployment, low socio-economic communities and connect with local partners to enable us to reach those most in need. In the urban areas we operate in defined ‘hubs’ so that we can create a sense of belonging and practical support network in large, sprawling and often dis-connected communities. In the regional areas, we work in towns where there are existing tight knit communities and are able to include those who are isolated and marginalised due to distance or other socio-economic factors.


Kasey Daye, RAWR Development

Photographer: Wonderlight Photography

Sisters in action

Vanessa McFarlend
Nessie Jane Designs

Somrudee Phonkhet
Canberra Shebah Driver

Houda Jebeile
Leave Eco Prints

Abuk Bol

Manmeet Kaur
Food Services

Speciose Nshimirimana
Food Services

Annelies Doecke
Eat the Sun

Carla Gardner
Molly Rose Heritage Harvest

Afadang Akuey

Kirsty McLarry
Sweet CinnaBun

Angela Paikea
Paikea-Luis Designs

Maryan Nabhan
Ma-aki Soy Candle

Raeesa Khatree
Edible Love

Jessica Hughes
Creating Cafe For A Cause

Cindy Barden
Lil Bug Love

Sharon Wright
Wings to Sing

Rosslyn Davidson
Stuffed cushion creations from rescued fabrics

Glenis Wilkinson
Yoga with Glenis

Felicity Golding
The Doggy Diplomat

Yoko Nakazawa
Cooking with Koji

Meet the maker

Yoko Nakazawa, Cooking with Koji

Our programs


Asifa Qarar, Tamanna Rugs
Heather Thomson, GS COO

Photographer: WonderLight Photography


GLO Youth Challenge is a two-day workshop designed to empower at-risk young women with the enterprising skills and confidence to create their own employment – to become entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs. In FY17-18, the GLO workshops in Sydney, Nowra, Brisbane and Melbourne, supported 258 young women. Through GLO, they were equipped with the skills of design thinking, brand and logo design, financial literacy, creating a business model and pitching.

In the first 6 months of 2018 alone there were 33 new business ideas created to solve real world problems in the young women’s communities. Citi Foundation funding enabled GLO Youth Challenge to plant the seed of entrepreneurship in these young women’s futures. Some are already going on to create active businesses.

Watch the video

My Big Idea

My Big Idea workshop continues to have outstanding impact across the country in making entrepreneurship accessible for women at the earliest stage of business ideation, and even for women who didn’t know that business was a genuine possibility for them.

Since we launched the My Big Idea workshop, 400 women have found their big idea in business or clarified their next steps in training or job seeking.

Santa Mandera & Holla David, Wild By Soulexplor3r
Jessica Santosa, Sydney Accelerator Lead

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Sister School

Sister School is our foundational business education program supporting women with the knowledge, skills and confidence to get their business idea off the ground. Almost 370 women have completed our Sister School program since we launched it just over two years ago. This year there were two exciting milestones for Sister School, impacting accessibility, quality and the ability to scale.

Online Sister School: Twenty-five women, from around Australia, joined our first online, facilitated Sister School. This significant step increases accessibility for women facing barriers such as regional and remote locations, disabilities or carer responsibilities.

Pilot with LinkedIn Learning: LinkedIn Learning are global leaders in professional education and our business education content is now available to Sisters alongside world-class e-learning modules that can be curated to their specific needs. The Global Sisters- LinkedIn Learning pilot is currently developing a model for learner engagement and enhancing the impact on business knowledge and applied skills. It enables our Sisters to access high quality business education in bite-sized modules via their mobiles then we support them to apply it directly to their business. It is perfect for all Sisters, whether ESL learners, new to formal or online education or unable to access our face-to-face programs.

Read more
Sister School brochure

Araksan Moussa, 7% with Anna Crabb, Melbourne Accelerator Lead

Photographer: LJM Photography

“Sally joined My Big Idea back in Feb and dreamed up the idea of fusing her passions…mental health challenges meant that she found the large group on the first day of Sister School overwhelming and she withdrew. Sally joined us again yesterday for MBI in a small group and thrived…she is looking forward to hopping on gig economy platforms to apply her skills while she completes Online Sister School…I love how our Sister roadmap fits with what women need to work towards financial independence.”

Anna Crabb, Melbourne Accelerator Lead

Rosslyn Davidson, Stuffed

Photographer: Manifeasto Photography

Business Coaching

The development of business knowledge and skills is vitally important for Sisters to overcome barriers to launching their business. But when the business is launched, being able to do ‘brave business’ – showing initiative, tenacity and perseverance to push through despite the fear and obstacles – is critical. Our coaching program is fundamentally around developing an entrepreneurial mindset, increasing confidence, creating networks and providing practical business support.

Coaching at Global Sisters is bespoke, consultancy style projects where an expert is matched with a Sister on a specific business need. The project could last 1 hour in a speed coaching session and address a discreet business need or be spread over several months to solve a more complex issue. Coaches work with individuals on a hugely diverse portfolio of projects – from connecting a Sister with manufacturing contacts to sourcing packaging to branding. Coaches also work with groups of Sisters on topics such as “styling your stall for markets” or “get set up on Wave accounting software”. Sitting alongside the practical support in the coaching program is the equally important mindset support.

Business coach brochure

Vikki James, Lewah Bowtique
Asja Svilans, Brisbane Accelerator Lead

Photographer: Briony Walker Photography


Through our experience of supporting women from the earliest stages of business ideation, we have found that access to microfinance is not the first type of business support that is required. Sisters have a strong preference for gradually growing their business by investing their own savings and resources, re-investing profits where possible and only seeking finance when their business model is proven.

Our microfinance offering is meeting Sisters business finance needs and filling the gap in the market of loans under $5000, specifically designed to be safe, affordable and accessible for early stage businesses.

More than access to finance, the biggest barrier to entry for business start-up for our Sisters is business insurance. Global Sisters and Suncorp have worked together throughout 2017-18 to design Australia’s first business microinsurance product. This affordable, tailored insurance product will allow our Sisters to launch and grow their businesses with all the basic business insurance essentials covered. The microinsurance product will be available specifically for Sisters before Christmas in 2018.

Read more
Microfinance brochure

Satomi Shimizu, Tomi Art Studio

Photographer: Wonderlight Photography

Sales & Marketing

Support around sales and marketing is a vital ongoing aspect of our long term program. Confidence, skills, knowledge and practical opportunities are constantly developing. During Sister School our entrepreneurs are introduced to CANVA where they develop their own branding and can order their first set of business/postcards free. We work to maximise access to the technology driven opportunities available via online marketplaces and sharing/gig economy platforms such as Airbnb Experiences, Myer Marketplace and etsy. At the completion of Sister School participants take part in a closed pop up market as a soft launch to test out their business in a supportive environment.

Our online shop The Market is a vital first step for many Sisters with products, to make their first sales and build confidence, as they see their products styled, photographed and promoted on social media. The microinsurance product we are about to launch with Suncorp is essential in enabling Sisters to sell by removing one invisible barrier. Sisters continuously access expertise in these areas from monthly Business Meet-ups, Tuesday teachings via Facebook Live for our Sister Tribe, individual and group coaching. We also have an ever expanding network of businesses tapping into our Sisters for their services and products whether a Sydney boutique buying hand painted Aboriginal eggs, a local Melbourne café buying organic miso or Clemenger BBDO hiring catering from a Sister.

View the video

Cindy Barden, Lil Bug Love

Photographer: Briony Walker Photography

“Before I was scared about selling my products at the market, I have never done this before. I like to sew but when I finish sewing, I fold it and put it in the cupboard. But then I tried and went to sell at my first market. I do it together with other Global Sisters. We went together and we tried …this helped me alot. We laughed that if we were not together at the first market we would be hiding under the table. When a customer bought my bags I am so happy. Now I enjoy going to the market and I want to keep doing this.”

Pa Ywel Paw

Shazatul Sheila Yeop Ibrahim, Sheila’s Kitchen

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

The Market

The Market was established with a dual purpose of supporting Sisters directly through sales and promotion but also as an income generator for Global Sisters to fund more support for Sisters such as the fabulous work by our product developer Vic who has worked with more than 30 women in creating stunning marketable products. 40 Australian Sisters are now selling through The Market and we are selling products made by women from 7 international social enterprises with approximately 350 beautiful gifts for sale! It has been a slow process with limited resources for the broad set of requirements needed to establish and operate.

The Market is finding its feet and we are excited to see what happens this Christmas with online sales, as well as corporate sales for our beautiful Artisan Christmas Boxes. We will soon be launching our transparency equation which shows the true cost for all Australian made items. We strive to ensure our Sisters are paid fairly and only mark up our items 50% to achieve this – it’s a transparency challenge we think is important. We are also about to introduce our impact icons for Sister products which help tell the story and the value in every beautiful hand made item we sell.

Our transparency equation:

Impact icons

Meet the maker

Sharon Wright, Wings to Sing

Social Impact

The Global Sisters social impact framework was designed to integrate with our roadmap of support, measuring change over a three year journey for each Sister in each region. We are now starting to see trends in terms of the progression of Sisters from ideation at the My Big Idea workshop to setting up their business during Sister School to launching their business during ‘incubate’ and then starting to grow a sustainable business in ‘accelerate’.

The progression from Sister School to incubate and then accelerate is where we want to see strong results. The social impact data we are collecting at 11 points along the roadmap is now starting to build up a picture of impact across our five impact domains of business acumen, enterprise, financial resilience, empowerment and influence (ripple effect) – and we look forward to sharing our first social impact report at the end of 2018.

Green Business

At Global Sisters we believe deeply that every action has a far reaching impact and that everyone and everything is connected. We aim to tread as lightly on the earth as possible and to encourage our Sisters to live this ethos in their businesses also. From our flexible, remote working style to maximising use of technology, no organisational ownership of hard assets such as computers, furniture or even phones – we minimise cost, duplication and waste and we maximise every resource. As stewards to hundreds of small, new Australian businesses we aim to lead by example, teaching & encouraging our Sisters to explore every opportunity to recycle, upcycle, minimise packaging and make it recyclable.

Kadijatu Sesay, Sierre Leonean and Guinean cuisine

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Sister Tribe

As our third year has progressed it has become increasingly clear that one of the most critical elements to the success of our model, alongside its long term nature, is the community it brings with it. Our Sister Tribe is a safe space of positive reinforcement, hope, business opportunities, learning, celebration and love. Starting and running a home based business can be lonely, frightening, frustrating and disheartening.

It’s a challenging roller coaster to ride for anyone – but is particularly so if you are facing additional life barriers. It’s hard to put the magic of our Sisters connecting into words but #AllWomenAreSisters sums a lot of it up. From face to face monthly business meet-ups, to our closed facebook group daily chats, every Sister knows that support is never far away if she needs it. This is often the hand that makes the difference in choosing whether to get back up again and keep on going.

“…(Sister Celebration) truly changed a lot of things for me. I have, for the most part, isolated myself a lot the last few years and it meant so much to me to be around and connect with such beautiful and genuine women. I have not laughed and had such good conversation in a long time and that alone has left a big impact on me. Though I left with heaps of ideas for the business, it was the connection with these women that really changed me in a big way. Thankyou.”


Lois Wadelton, Careworks Sewing

Photographer: WonderLight photography

Thank you - Partners

Our approach to partners has always been the same – to find those who share our vision and who want to work closely with us for the long term. We aim to form deep relationships and give our partners back even more value than they give us. The trust that is placed in us by the giving of precious resources is appreciated by our entire team as well as our Sisters. The only way we have been able to achieve a model with the potential to achieve significant social change is by a concerted partnership between government, business and philanthropy believing in us and supporting our work.


Achol Aguer, White Nile Women

Photographer: WonderLight 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

Sharon Fraser
Chief Financial Officer

Natasha Rees
Head of Sustainability

Lauren Wilby
Admin Lead

Lisa Edinburg
Strategic Coach

Asja Svilans
Accelerator Lead, Brisbane

Christine Corcoran
Accelerator Lead, Brisbane

Jessica Santosa
Accelerator Lead, Sydney

Sandra Lloyd
Accelerator Lead, ACT

Mary-Anne Scully
Accelerator Lead, Hume

Anna Crabb
Accelerator Lead, Melbourne

Sugandha Chapman
Accelerator Lead, Melbourne

Mikhara Ramsing
GLO Lead

Sophie Tran
Head of Retail

Victoria Keitel
Product Developer

Kylie Petts

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 Board

Adelle Jackman, Chair
Director People & Performance, Deloitte

Mandy Richards

Deanne Weir, Director
Weir Anderson Foundation, Chair Ai-Media

Michelle Dixon, Director
CEO & Partner, Maddocks

Caitlin Iles, Director
Partner Capital xx

Nick Garrett, Director
CEO Clemenger BBDO

Torek Farhadi, Director
International Trade Centre, UN

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 Board

Nicole Eckels
Sapphire Group

Pearl Chan

Alex Riggs

Mirabai Winford
Purebaby Organic

Kate Sutton

Cristina Re
Cristina Re

Diem Fuggersberger
Berger Ingredients

Terri Winter
top3 by design

Jo Dampney
Skin Juice

Our team making business possible

Meet the maker

Pamela Mujica, PAM Designed

What next

The remainder of 2018 will see out our initial three year strategic plan successfully completed. Our aim was to develop, implement and refine our programs, and prove our model is capable of achieving deep, long term, sustainable impact. We believe we have done this, and are now focussed on strategic planning for the next five year growth period. The next year will see us completing implementation of the technology to scale and we will be piloting our distance program with women in rural and remote communities across Australia as well as extending our reach and depth of impact in our current five locations. We will continue building mechanisms for long term organisational sustainability as well as advocating for change in the national employment services model so that it supports the flexible alternative of home based business for women facing barriers to mainstream employment.

Isabel Jackson, Arts and Cultural Services

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Organisational Sustainability

Global Sisters was established with the goal of eventually being completely self sustainable, with a number of solid income streams to diversify risk. In January Natasha joined our team as Head of Sustainability and has been working on various initiatives such as offering the opportunity to supporters to fund individual education programs. She has also been working to bring on new 1% partners alongside the wonderful Zetaris in the tech space. As we head into our growth phase it is a critical time for us to establish stable, long term, passive income streams and we are working with our Board to explore some initiatives to make this a reality- including establishing an FMCG brand partnership to launch a social business to fund our work. We now have a clear business model and the scale of our impact is limited only by resources.

Penny Bingham, Reminiscence Quilts

Photographer: WonderLight Photography


Our financial information reflects our ongoing commitment to transparency and efficiency. Our generous partners coupled with careful financial management has resulted in another year of increasing our retained surplus.

Our investment in organisational sustainability has resulted in steady growth in yearly income. We continue to increase our sustainable revenue and passive income while diversifying our income streams.

Our 2018 expenditure was spent primarily on programs that directly support our Sisters. We keep our infrastructure costs low by engaging services at pro bono or discounted rates where possible.

Financial report 2018

Somrudee Phonkhet, Shebah Driver

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Meet our sisters

Our Sisters come from all walks of life and their stories are more diverse than can be imagined. However they all share a dream for a future as a financially empowered woman in control of her destiny. The barriers to mainstream employment are countless and range from caring responsibilities as a single mother or daughter of elderly sick parents to language, culture, mental health after domestic violence or just living somewhere with low employment opportunities.

Case Studies

Kirsty McLarry, Sweet CinnaBun

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

“I’m in a good position now. I’m feeling like a business woman not a poor woman. I’m at the same level of us Australians.”


Isabel Jackson, Arts and Cultural Services

Photograph: WonderLight Photography

Get involved

There are many high impact ways you can support our work and our Sisters. Join the Global Sisters movement for change by:

Corporate Partnerships
Global Sisters sits at the rare intersection of gender equality, education, job creation, skill development and community partnership with a lean, innovative model that has attracted partnerships with Citi, MYER and AMP amongst others.

Become a 1% Champion
The simple, low touch but highly effective 1% model started by Atlassian is ideal for tech companies that are start-ups or with a start-up product. Leverage the benefits of a partnership with minimal input.

Fund one of our education programs and give 15 women an opportunity that will have a resounding ripple effect.

Social Business
As part of our sustainability plan we will be partnering with a significant FMCG or financial services company brand who wishes to maximise their social impact doing what they do best-using the model promoted by Nobel laureate Professor Yunus as the key to eliminating global poverty.

Business Coaching
The opportunity to use expert skills one on one, or corporate speed coaching sessions which have been hugely successful with companies like McKinsey, MYER & Deloitte.

From The Market for unique and truly special gifts that come with a story of far reaching impact and the opportunity to connect to the Australian maker. Every purchase provides direct income to a Sister as well as funding our work to support more women to financial independence.

Gull Nargis Azim Awan, Careworks Sewing

Photographer: WonderLight Photography

Join our movement

Mandy Richards, CEO
Heather Thomson, COO
General enquiries

Follow us

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

Photographer: WonderLight Photography