A world where every woman is provided the opportunity to create her own economic future
Making business possible; Unlocking the potential in every woman to own her economic future.
Global Sisters is focussed on achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Impact as of June 2020
Global Sisters Impact 2020
Social Impact Indicators
B2B Transfer of Value
Global Sisters partners with global and Australian corporates, businesses and individuals who provide pro bono support, coaching, market access and connections for our Sisters.
One of the primary barriers to business for our Sisters are access to networks and expert support. Corporate staff and professionals donate their time, knowledge and skills to support Sisters to overcome blocks, move their businesses forward and increase income.
The immense contributions our partners have made this year include T2 (Unilever) stocking Goanna Hut tea, Coco & Lucas’ Kitchen sharing food manufacturing secrets with Minerva from Minjums, Minter Ellison monthly legal support for Sister businesses, Clemenger brand, photography, and website for AMOK Sisters, D.A.M brand creation for Outdoor Memories, AMP and Unilever staff skilled volunteering through our Momentum Coaching, Digital Working Bees and Industry Circles.
The transfer of value and impact is two ways. The employees and their companies gain substantial personal and corporate benefits including:
- Contribution to their CSR goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Staff engagement in meaningful skill-based volunteering where they can see direct and tangible impact
- An opportunity for employees to participate flexibly and online (from their office or home)
- A chance to practice their own coaching skills and further develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
The B2B stories on our Social Impact platform showcase Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in action, documenting the value transfer to Sisters and their businesses. This B2B transfer of value is currently valued at over 1.9 million dollars.
Goanna Hut Tea
Jo-Ann is a qualified chef and proud Wiradjuri woman. She is one of the few female Indigenous chefs in Australia, and she set up Goanna Hut to share her culture through bush ingredient inspired food. Jo is the sole breadwinner for the family and she is the primary carer of her children, one of whom has special needs. She balances this and still sees herself as a typical woman, juggling it all…
Yoga + Meditation
Glenis started her business journey in October 2016. She had a face-to-face yoga business and has been pivoting her business to online yoga, targeting people who are self-isolating and working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as older Australians in nursing homes and retirement villages. After a marriage breakdown and the trauma of losing her son, Glenis found herself unemployed and without secure accommodation. Loss of financial security as a result of divorce, unemployment, being a single mother or older woman, combined with housing unaffordability, are all factors that can lead to poverty and homelessness in Australia (Homelessness Australia, 2013)…
A few years ago, I found myself in no-man’s land, middle-aged and unable to find a path back into the workforce. I was in my 50s and, because I was caring for my children, I hadn’t worked for 12 years and my knowledge and skills were outdated.
My confidence was shattered, I had postnatal depression after the birth of my youngest child and my whole personality and self-belief had changed. My business idea came after my daughters were given some bath bombs. They stained my daughter’s skin and caused some skin irritation…
Celeste, a proud Darug women from the Barramattagal mob from the west Sydney region, now lives in AlburyWodonga. Miluny Beauty started in 2019, as a re-invention of a previous business. A lifelong passion for creating skincare and natural products from natural sources has led Celeste to set up Miluny Beauty, which offers a range of organic earth-sourced skincare and wellbeing items made from clays and plants known to Indigenous Australians, and which Celeste hopes will soon become popular with everyone else. Her products include mud/ clay, mineral, and native ingredient face masks, bath soaks, and soaps.
Jacqui is a single mum living in regional Victoria. Being a single parent, living regionally and having dyslexia and ADHD mean that accessing mainstream employment is challenging. But Jacqui is a self-described “go-er” and she is creating her own employment through her business. She is a woman on a mission to challenge stereotypes of women in the male dominated construction and carpentry industry. She has the technical carpentry and building construction skills and certification, and loves being on the tools! Her business is all about getting kids outside and creating memories in nature (rather than on a screen!)…
5 Year Strategy
This year we launched our 5 year strategy for 2020 – 2025. The strategy was developed taking into account 4 years of operations and insights gained from supporting women on the ground in 10 locations across Australia. The 2020 – 2025 strategic period is defined by our ambitious goal to scale across Australia, supporting the growth of 17,000 new businesses and impacting 43,000 women (Sisters) in Australia and their families and communities.
As a result of extensive research, market analysis and operational insights we have a refined focus on sole parents, carers and older women. These groups are simultaneously the most excluded and underserved in the sector, a significant section of society and desperately in need of support and wanting to generate income. This is where Global Sisters believes we can have the greatest impact. By focusing on single mums, we will assist in breaking generational poverty. By focussing on women 50+ we aim to prevent mature age poverty amongst women.
In this strategic period we also seek to influence Government policy to address structural and systemic inequality in the welfare system which is not only a disincentive but a barrier to business creation. Global Sisters intends for business to be an accessible alternative to women in Australia who experience barriers to mainstream workforce participation and decent work.
Global Sisters In-A-Box
Global Sisters has created a scalable model that allows for national reach and accessibility via our online and Hub (face-to-face) programs. We’ve successfully launched and delivered our programs in communities across the eastern seaboard to regional Victoria and offer our online program to women all across Australia.
We wanted our solution to be available to women in every community in Australia that is invested in supporting women’s business development as a catalyst for increasing economic participation and local economic regeneration. So we created the Global Sisters In-A-Box, a social franchise approach to scaling our model across Australia. It’s a solution that we hope will help women to become self-employed in 60 locations across Australia.
The Global Sisters In-A-Box platform enables communities themselves to bring the Global Sisters model to their area, establishing their own Hub that can support approximately 60 women each year. Hubs are communities in urban, regional, and remote Australia that we support. The Hubs are diverse and have their own distinct identity, and are driven by a local community, for their own community.
The Hubs are supported by Global Sisters with easy, online access to all the resources, tools, and assets needed to create a groundswell of women-owned businesses in that community. Global Sisters In-A-Box is a complete package, with all the assets and resources ready to pick up and use.
As of June 2020, Global Sisters had 11 Hubs across 5 States & Territories, with many more across Australia in development. If you would like to know more about Global Sisters coming to your area, please visit the Global Sisters In-A-Box website.
Global Sisters Online
National Scale Program
In late 2019, Global Sisters embarked on its national scale program, including a digital transformation of our flagship programs and development of a tailored program and support structure for women in areas where Global Sisters doesn’t have a physical presence.
The primary intention was to reduce some of the most prevalent barriers to business creation by providing online access to Global Sister’s programs – reaching women regardless of where they live or their circumstances.
To do this, we built a team focused on digital transformation and delivery including a dedicated Digital Programs Lead and Concierge to support the customer (Sister) experience.
Our digital transformation involved:
- The re-development, pilot, and launch of our flagship Business Education programs. ‘My Big Idea’ is now available as an evergreen online workshop. ‘Sister School’ has been revitalised with improved content, delivered through a full suite of videos combined with vast additional resources.
- Our Incubate (First 10 Customers) and Accelerate (Industry Circles) coaching programs are being re-designed, digitised, and automated to standardise the Sister experience and enable national access.
- Launching all of our digital content and programs on a new Sister website/portal and Learning Management System including automated communications and processes throughout the Sister journey.
In 2020, the combined impact of Global Sisters digital transformation work, investment in digital marketing and the increase in demand due to COVID (loss of casual jobs and need for flexible income generation for women), led to a rapid take-up of our online and digital programs and exponential growth in this cohort.
“I now have much more knowledge and with Global Sisters assistance I am putting myself out there by offering my products for sale online.”
Geana, Online Sister
Our Programs: Good Business
Global Sisters core value of “Business Done Differently” means that we champion good business, both as an organisation ourselves and as an organisation that supports women-owned businesses. We believe in business that is:
- environmentally sustainable: reducing our impact on the environment with a key focus on energy efficiency, water stewardship, and the reduction and recycling of waste.
- good for people: ethical sourcing by driving positive social and environmental change through our supply chain.
- kind to animals
- considered and deliberate in its growth.
Raising awareness of the importance of these core values is built into the Global Sisters business education programs and reinforced through our Roadmap of long term support, thereby contributing to the attainment of these goals.
The Marketplace by Global Sisters is Australia’s first online marketplace for women’s businesses and includes products, services, and experiences. We aim to highlight the brands that have taken steps to do good business.
To help consumers purchase from brands that align with their values, we have created four values: women-led, community-minded, kind to animals, and eco-conscious.
All the businesses on the Marketplace are encouraged to progress towards all four of these Good Business attributes and rate their brand’s progress against each of these. We celebrate and focus marketing efforts on businesses that are living these values.
Women led business, supporting women’s financial independence.
The business provides “decent work” (UN Sustainable Development Goal 8) for the founder and those they employ, upholds the welfare and fair working conditions of their workers and those in their supply chain, and is committed to engaging and supporting the communities their business exists to serve.
Kind to animals
Brands that use cruelty-free production methods and ingredients that do not harm animals. Product made using non-animal alternatives or methods associated with good animal welfare.
The business sources with care, has a transparent and environmentally conscious supply chain, produces with a reduced environmental impact, recycled/ upcycled and uses natural, sustainable materials.
Global Sisters is aligned with Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, and Goal 8:Decent Work & Economic Growth, which are mapped to our Social Impact indicators. Through our program Roadmap, we actively encourage Sisters to take time to incubate their business and grow slowly and sustainably. We intentionally push back against the culture of speed in the entrepreneurial and start-back sector that leads to profit and growth at human and environmental costs.
Our Programs: Business Education
Global Sisters made the strategic decision to open up access to our vocation discovery program, the My Big Idea (MBI) workshop, to any woman across Australia. By making it open source and evergreen, women all over Australia can now access it flexibly and online. We saw the value in the workshop helping all women who are unemployed or underemployed to work out how they can earn an income, whether that be business (self-employment) or a job. Since launching the online MBI in March 2020, there has been an exponential increase in participation and business made possible for women who continue onto Sister School and our suite of business support.
Sister School, our foundational business education program, had a major upgrade based on a Sister centered design thinking process. It is now available in a facilitated online format as well as in person. This has been critical in supporting women who could not come to face-to-face programs due to COVID restrictions and other barriers. Launching our Sister Portal based on LearnDash Learning Management System has enabled Sisters around Australia to access our business education content and programs, and supports Sisters to engage with our long term Roadmap of business development support.
During COVID we designed and delivered the Digi Pivot program to support existing and new Sisters impacted by COVID. On-going business education content is being continually created to meet the evolving business education needs of our Sisters.
Our Programs: Business Coaching
Business Coaching at Global Sisters is designed to address barriers and blocks to Sister’s launching and growing their business. The business coaching programs are deployed at strategic points in our Roadmap of support including:
- Incubate phase: Access to a Momentum Coach in the First 10 Customers program to launch their business and make their first sales
- Accelerate phase: Access to an expert sector coach in Industry Circles and pro bono consulting (“Sister Projects”) from specialists to support Sisters to move from break even to a profitable business, and overcome specific barriers or blocks.
“First Ten Customers is really making everything gel. I know there’s a lot more work to do but it’s been useful to bring everything together.”
Irene, First 10 Customers program participant
COVID-19 has changed forever the way that we work and how companies engage their employees in CSR. Global Sisters provides a unique opportunity to engage corporate staff with a skill based program that creates measurable, positive impact.
Our Business Coaching engages corporate employees in contributing their specific expertise, and this can be done from their laptop, in their homes or office. Individuals or teams can make a difference remotely and digitally by skilled volunteering with our Sisters.
This creates an economic and social transfer of value from the corporate to our Sisters, and this backing creates an immediate, tangible impact on Sisters and their businesses.
Corporates and individual businesses have joined us to #BackHerBrilliance this year, with Unilever, AMP, ActionCOACH, Clemenger, MYER and Minter Ellison all donating staff time and expertise. Since the start of 2020, over 60 people have contributed more than 700 coaching sessions with a pro bono value exceeding $150,000.
Read some of the powerful, life-changing stories of Business to Business impact achieved through corporate CSR volunteering with Global Sisters coaching.
Our Programs: Sales & Marketing
The first not-for-profit marketplace supporting Australian women who are underemployed or unemployed to seek financial independence
The Global Sisters Marketplace provides a transformational solution for women-owned micro and small businesses in Australia who need it most. It removes the barriers to women becoming financially independent by offering an instant e-commerce facility coupled with sales and marketing exposure they otherwise might not have access to. Initial launch is Australia, followed by New Zealand then scaled further internationally. The Marketplace was funded by the Snow Foundation as an immediate response to Covid-19.
Global Sisters Marketplace supports ANY woman in Australia who is searching for financial independence by removing the barriers to setting up an income stream and gaining traffic online.
This charitable solution stands apart from other Marketplaces:
- Women founded for women – the only marketplace dedicated 100% to the financial independence of Australian women
- Not-for-profit funded by philanthropy
- Comes with a complete wrap around business program of support via Glocal Sisters – business education, coaching, Microfinance and sales & marketing support
- Our marketplace supports women selling products, services & experiences
- Our focus on #GoodBusiness encouraging & supporting all businesses to be ethical, socially & environmentally friendly
- We’re also supporting our first 100 sellers with professional photography provided by pro-bono support
Global Sisters Marketplace gives Sisters:
- an immediate, user-friendly, quality digital experience requiring no tech management
- ongoing exposure via social media marketing campaign, #BackHerBrilliance to drive customer traffic supported by a larger framework of publicity
- access to a transfer of value via external support with opportunities for Sisters to work with established corporates/SME’s including business coaching, pro bono services and sales/collaboration opportunities
- access to our flexible, long term business program including education, incubation and acceleration
- inclusion in our Sister Community
To remove barriers to entry yet balance a commercially sustainable model Marketplace sellers will have the following launch rates: no set up fees, no ongoing monthly fees and a super low commission of 7.5% + 30c per transaction (5% commission to Global Sisters + payment gateway and marketplace tech charges). Other marketplaces charge between 10-20%.
Our model is to partner with many other organizations in particular NGO’s and provide them with what is needed to provide business support to vulnerable women across the world.
To date, Global Sisters has made 5 loans with an enviable 100% on-time repayment rate. Our business loans are supporting Sisters to start up and grow their businesses.
Additionally, we refer Sisters to organisations that offer larger amounts of business finance. This is part of our model, which connects Sisters into mainstream business support ecosystem support, including access to business finance.
Sisters told us that, whilst business finance is needed, the most important financial product for launching their business is insurance. Without business insurance, Sisters cannot market test their business and make first sales, and a simple, affordable, and accessible solution was required. However, unlike overseas markets, Australia did not have microinsurance and Global Sisters has worked with Suncorp to develop Australia’s first microinsurance product.
This small business insurance product, delivered by AAMI, covers product and public liability. It is accessed via a phone call and is specifically for Sisters who are just getting started in business.
Our Programs: Community
Many Sisters face barriers to business including being socially isolated and lacking networks. The heart of Global Sisters is our community. Business cannot succeed without connection and backing. The networks and connections that mainstream entrepreneurs take for granted are intentionally created for Sisters, locally and nationally. Global Sisters facilitates the transfer of value from established businesses to those emerging in the form of time, knowledge, networks, services & sales.
Connection and community have been consistently articulated by our Sisters as one of the primary motivations for joining Global Sisters and the value they receive from engaging with us. So how do we connect with Sisters and create our Global Sisters Community?
- We connect with Sisters through targeted digital marketing, organisational referrals and word of mouth
- Our Concierge supports their on-boarding and navigation through our Roadmap of programs
- Our team provides direct support to Sisters, walking alongside them through their business journey
- We connect Sisters to the local business ecosystem, expert coaches and pro bono support
- We provide opportunities for Sister’s to engage, support and learn from each other.
On average, our Sisters report having meaningful contact fortnightly with Global Sisters, either online or face to face. We connect our Sisters to business coaches, networks, and pro bono support. In fact, we have facilitated over $1.9 million in pro bono support to our Sisters.
“It still blows my mind how much support and involvement you offer and create. I feel like I’ve barely begun to utilise everything available. Thank you so much for what you have collectively created. Tomorrow marks 1 year for my business. Party time!!! Yet so much more work to do to.”
Heike, Memory Box Design
Financial Inclusion and Wellbeing
Improving financial inclusion and wellbeing is foundational to our model and built into all aspects of our programs. The diagram below shows how we have embedded financial product accessibility (inclusion) and financial education and practical application throughout our Roadmap of long term support. We exist to make business possible for women, supporting women to become financially independent and resilient through their businesses.
Global Sisters has partnered with Ecstra to build the financial confidence, resilience, and economic wellbeing of the women we support. Specifically, a major grant is being used to build our capacity to deepen, track, and report on the financial literacy and capability of Sisters around Australia.
In 2020, the combined impact of our digital transformation of programs, digital marketing to reach new Sisters and the increase in demand due to COVID-19 (loss of casual jobs and need for flexible income generation for women) led to a surge in demand for our programs. We launched all our digital content and programs on a new Sister website/ portal and Learning Management System and supported their journey through support from new roles and automated communications.
The impact on improved digital and financial literacy and capability is being measured via our Social Impact system, particularly the impact domains that focus on Business Acumen, Enterprise, Financial Resilience, Empowerment (Confidence) and Influence. Read more on our Social Impact platform.
“I am so grateful to be a part of this program. I feel for the first time ever I have a real shot at my business because of this program. It’s not like the workshops you can sign up for that give hacks to get you through, or how to spend money to make money. I am learning stuff that you have to go to uni or TAFE for…but get to apply it in the real world with my business. I am feeling empowered, educated and inspired. Plus…it’s free. Still blown away by that. Also so glad it’s now online as I would never have had access to this program otherwise. The other great thing about it being online is there’s no reason to miss a session. I can still get dinner sorted etc, be on time for class, and kiss my family goodnight without compromising on my education or having to factor in another 1-2 hours travel time. This truly is a great opportunity.”
We support women’s financial inclusion by providing microfinance.The launch of Australia’s first microinsurance via Suncorp (AAMI) has been an important milestone in increasing access to affordable insurance specifically for women’s micro-businesses.
What’s next? We have commenced partnership conversations to secure Sister access to a full suite of financial products and services, designed to support their businesses needs and financial wellbeing. These include business banking, savings, super and home loans.
The economic impact of COVID has been felt across all areas and sectors of Australia, with regional towns that rely on tourism and leisure industries being hit particularly hard. The COVID induced recession in regional and rural Australia comes on the back of years of drought and bushfires, which have already crippled livelihoods and impacted community wellbeing.
The regional regeneration work Global Sisters does in communities across Australia is not only focused on recovery from each of these crises and disasters, but in supporting them to create a more sustainable and resilient future.
The Regional Australia Institute has highlighted the importance of business recovery in community recovery and regeneration in regional areas impacted by disaster- and Global Sisters is doing this by supporting the creation of new businesses and self-employment.
Each of these regional communities has unique needs, assets and opportunities. And that’s where the Global Sisters In-a-Box model comes in. This model is a social franchise approach that is driven by the community, for their community. Each Hub has its own “local flavour” and distinct identity, and is supported by Global Sisters with the resources, structures and support needed to back a groundswell of women-owned businesses. Our intention in Hubs is that we co-create a thriving community of female founders of new businesses who:
- Create jobs and income for themselves, their families and others in the community
- Meet local socio-economic needs, create valuable products and services and contribute to the development of a new post COVID economy.
We are currently working in 11 Hubs around Australia, with many more in development.
“The reason we offer face-to-face programs in community Hubs is that when you see ten, then twenty, then fifty, then one hundred plus women-led businesses in a geographically defined area, you will see communities transform. You will see not only an increase in jobs, but also the social good that is created through businesses that are meeting local needs and the social capital of women running businesses.”
Heather Thomson, Chief Operating Officer, Global Sisters
Our work with Aboriginal women
At Global Sisters, our values lead us to have a special partnership with our Aboriginal Sisters. Our value of “Standing Tall” means lifting each other up, dignity, equality, a level playing field, valuing diversity, inclusiveness, and respect. When we are invited into new locations to offer Global Sisters programs, we must be invited in by the Traditional Custodians of the land and connect with the local Aboriginal community and organisations, and work to better understand the history and culture of that land.
Global Sisters supports Aboriginal women through our online and face-to-face programs all over Australia, making up 4% of our cohort (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 3.3% of the Australian population).
Over the last year, we have had the opportunity to work more intensively with several communities of First Nations women in NE Victoria, Redfern in Sydney and Fish River in the Northern Territory.
For these Sisters, it was culturally important to do the programs with women from the same mob, especially family. Sister Chats (social impact interviews) with this group of women, highlighted the importance of participating in the process together, with the aim of giving back to the community collaboratively through all the different businesses and making sure that all the business ideas were connected to healing the earth and respecting culture. The businesses that are emerging are highly diverse, including native seed banks, culture consulting, wildlife photography, and wearable art.
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Financial Officer
People and Culture Lead
Growth & Commercial Director
Policy and Advocacy Advisor
Coaching Program Activator
Regional Cluster Manager (NSW & ACT)
Regional Cluster Manager (North East Victoria)
Project Management Lead
Social Impact Coordinator
Richard Denniss, Director
The 2019/20 financial year saw our retained surplus increase due to the support of our generous partners along with careful financial management.
Government funding increased with the commencement of a new social impact grant to improve social outcomes. We have continued to focus on diversifying our income streams & building successful partnerships with corporate, philanthropic and government organisations in order to build and maintain sustainable revenue and passive income streams.
We are committed to the majority of our expenditure being incurred on programs that directly support our Sisters and we were able to achieve this objective once again during 2019/20. Our infrastructure costs are low due to the generosity of our partners providing services at pro bono or discounted rates.
For every dollar spent this financial year:
What next? 2020-2021
Global Sisters will be operating on the ground in 13 communities
What next? 2020-2021
- Expand the Global Sisters In-A-Box community based program
- Launch a fully self paced online Sister School
- Grow our coaching program and platform
- Establish and grow the Marketplace as a supported sales channel for Sisters
- Develop a strategy and plan then act to elevate micro business, reform relevant aspects of the welfare system and ensure availability along with access to needed financial services/products.
- Secure $10M in funding for the next three years via Corporate, Government and Philanthropic sources to enable Global Sisters to scale and reach our 5 year goals
- We are looking for 2 new values aligned major corporate, long term partners. Our unique skills based employee engagement opportunities, as well as the opportunities for ethical customised procurement- mean Global Sisters offers a “standout* CSR opportunity for corporates looking to genuinely engage in a highly relevant cause. Global Sisters offers the opportunity for partners to achieve environmental, social and governance(ESG) goals as well as supporting 8+ of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals(SDG’s) in a meaningful manner that drives both internal and external impact.
The Backyard Garden Enthusiast
I’m Joanne Diver. I live in regional NSW with my husband and two children and my business is The Backyard Garden Enthusiast. I grow flower and vegetable seeds and sell them at markets and through social media. I come from a background in natural resources management. I was forced to end my career in that field and when I was looking for something else, I had so many ideas and didn’t know how to work out what was right for me…
When I started Sweet Cinnabun, I was a mum to five sons. I didn’t have babysitters, I didn’t have family support, there was no way for me to be able to afford to have a 9-5 job with daycare, after school care, before school care, as well as trying to raise five children.
There were a lot of things I didn’t know, especially when it came to small business. You leave Sister School with a business in your hand, with a plan, something you can then take and go out and use to make some money…
Events by Aysha
My name is Aysha Navlakhi and I run a catering business called Events by Aysha. I live in Brisbane and I’m South African Indian. I studied beauty therapy and massage therapy in South Africa and, when I moved to Australia 22 years ago, I had the equipment to start a practice. I fell pregnant and decided to stay at home to take care of my kids – I thought I would start a practice while I had them at home but, without immediate family nearby, it was just too difficult. Three years ago, I was at a crossroads in life…
Corina is a proud Yorta Yorta woman and founder of ethical children’s label, Amber Days. Her children’s clothing ranges are made from original fabrics and collection designs are in collaboration with Aboriginal artists. She produces her garments and is growing her team with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, refugee, and migrant women because she believes women are the leading forces behind healthy communities and society. Corina is the sole carer of her two year old daughter and deeply values the flexibility that being self-employed brings. Her daughter is integral to the business inception, mission, and values…
While studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Food Science, Minerva realised her passion for food product development. She dreamed of having her own food business one day, with a mission of changing the way people eat by creating healthy and delicious products. After 15 years working in the food industry, moving from the USA to Australia, and having her first baby, she found herself unemployed in a new country. When her daughter was diagnosed with an allergy to cow’s milk and soy, medical professionals recommended that her daughter stay away from any foods containing these allergens…
Find out more
ABN 36 162 363 180.
PO Box 4077, North Curl Curl 2099, NSW