Fellowships for social change
The Snow Entrepreneurs – fellowships for social change are a celebration of our own entrepreneurial beginnings, and those of our founder Terry Snow.
They strengthen our commitment to backing inspiring leaders and teams with innovative ideas to address social problems.
Many of the social entrepreneurs we have supported over time have grown and become significant change agents.
Meet the 2023 and 2022 cohort below.
2023 Snow Entrepreneurs
Foremind is a Canberra-based company that aims to eliminate suicide in blue-collar industries across Australia through a worker-centred digital mental health platform. The affordable program is focused on prevention and breaking down the barriers to seeking help. The platform includes information, lived experience stories and wellbeing check-ins as well as the option to choose a qualified mental health counsellor based on a profile photo and a bio to ensure it is someone they can relate to. In addition, the platform has an integrated tool for companies to manage Psychosocial Hazard training and management, after recent legislation has made it the responsibility of companies to ensure not only the physical but also the psychosocial safety of their workers.
Founder Joel Anderson, who worked in construction before completing an engineering degree, is driven by his own experience of attempting suicide. When his mental health deteriorated, it took him a long time to find the courage to seek help – only to end up with a counsellor he couldn’t relate to at all. As a result, he founded Foremind in 2021 with the goal to end suicide in blue-collar industries – full stop.
Hold Access in an Indigenous-led business that aims to overcome the barriers of missing or unverified documentation for First Nations and other people so that they can access employment, education, finance and government services. To this end, Hold Access has created WUNA, a digital wallet and physical card for end users and a software dashboard for organisations that empowers people to centrally hold and share identification such as birth certificates, licenses, qualifications and 100-point proof of culture and heritage (Aboriginality). Pilots to date point to the potential of WUNA to also solve documentation issues for students and those who are homeless or transient, affected by domestic violence, or don’t have stable email addresses that can be associated with typical digital IDs. Hold Access is a member of the RegTech Association and provides safeguards to companies, organisations and government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance across the digital economy.
Founder Jason-Urranndulla Davis is an Aboriginal man who has adapted the 60,000-year-old message stick technology to the 21st century, to validate identity and provide credentials. With multiple degrees in criminology and global public health and 30+ years in Indigenous policy and programs with state and commonwealth governments, Jason is well-placed to solve a problem that keeps people from accessing employment and services and contributes to intergenerational poverty and dependency.
Future Anything transforms young people’s creativity and curiosity into innovative ideas that make their world a better place. Working alongside primary and secondary schools, educators and students, Future Anything develops enterprising thinkers and doers. It does so by explicitly building creativity, critical thinking, project management and adaptive mindset – skills that are essential in a world that is rapidly changing with automation, AI and information accessibility. Future Anything supports teachers to deliver engaging and relevant learning aligned with the curriculum across almost any subject area. In the near future, young people will be able to take the driver’s seat in this process by ideating, prototyping and presenting their innovative ideas in a self-guided way via an ed-tech platform.
As a former secondary teacher and school leader, Founder and CEO Nicole Dyson saw the challenges for young people disengaging from education because they couldn’t see how their learning related to life. As a result, she founded Future Anything, an organisation that is led by educators who have a deep understanding of the realities of the classroom and teachers’ needs. She is motivated by seeing young people do things they didn’t think they could do and believes education should enable opportunities for every young person to surpass their own expectations of their potential.
ReLove’s goal is to break the cycles of poverty experienced by women and children impacted by domestic violence and homelessness as they access safe housing. The organisation walks alongside families to fully furnish their homes with everything they need to restart their lives.
ReLove provides people in crisis with a complete fit-out to move into a new home, including high-quality furniture, bedding, kitchen items and more. Clients fleeing from domestic violence, affected by homelessness or coming out of prison are referred by community services and can come to the ReLove ‘free store’ in Sydney to choose everything they need to set up their home, giving them the dignity to choose how they want to live. Furniture is donated by companies, enabling them to meet their ESG targets by redirecting furniture from landfill.
Renuka Fernando co-founded ReLove with Ben Stammer during the COVID pandemic, when they saw a rise in domestic and family violence and an increase in furniture waste from the “Great Covid Spring Clean.” As an architect and investment manager, Ren and Ben used their corporate knowledge to tackle these social and environmental problems, and their vision is to expand beyond Sydney and enable more people to move into their own homes quickly and with dignity.
Scriibed provides skilled employment for vulnerable women, particularly survivors of domestic and family violence, offering digital services to corporate and government clients. Women are offered training and wrap-around support via a virtual hub, including digital skills training, personal and professional development, facilitated peer support and connection, all in a trauma-informed context, accessible anywhere anytime.
Founder Melanie Greblo has been working in the social impact space for several decades, including being the founding CEO of Home Hospice (now The Violet Initiative). She is driven by her own lived experience, which highlights the challenges women face and the long-term financial impacts of domestic abuse. Her mission is to create sustainable, flexible, skilled employment opportunities for these women along with supportive wrap-around support to ensure they can successfully establish a new life.
RoboFit offers rehabilitation to mobility-impaired patients (stroke, MS, Cerebral Palsy, quadriplegic, etc) using neuro-controlled exoskeleton devices. RoboFit has exclusive distribution rights to Cyberdyne devices from Japan, which are the only ones using active biofeedback to adjust to the patient’s needs, allowing the potential to forge new neural pathways and dramatically increase mobility and independence. Patients can access the devices through local clinics and hospitals. RoboFit is also advocating for NDIS reforms to increase the number of people eligible for the treatment. Current clinic locations are Wollongong and Sydney, with a new clinic set to open in Brisbane later this year.
Maryanne Harris, an exercise scientist, co-founded RoboFit with her husband Daniel Hillyer in 2021. In 2010, a balcony collapse left Daniel paralysed and he was told he would never walk again. They were able to travel overseas to access the Cyberdyne device and see first-hand the difference it made to Daniel’s independence. Their hope is to make this technology more accessible to improve the quality of life for thousands of people.
SpendAble provides pre-paid debit cards and education to people with a disability and the elderly to increase their own independence and reduce the risk of financial abuse at the hands of a support worker or family member. SpendAble debit cards have features that enhance the safety and autonomy of its users. They can provide more access to funds with structured budgets or drive accountability amongst support workers with receipt capture and enhanced reporting. The organisation works through service providers (incl HireUp, Australian Unity) as well as direct to consumers, and has so far issued 900 debit cards nationwide. It has also recently introduced financial management education for people with various disability types.
Founder Reece Miller is an entrepreneur who previously founded and successfully grew a disability-led NDIS service provider, Support Your Way. He repeatedly saw the risk of financial abuse and, with no effective solution on the market, he founded SpendAble to address this risk.
Youngster.co is a social enterprise that addresses the critical societal issues of the widening intergenerational gap, loneliness among young and old, and the challenges posed by rapid technological advances. Youngster.co creates work and volunteering experiences for young people who assist seniors with their tech needs. Free tech-help sessions are delivered by young people for seniors in shopping centres and libraries, or for a small fee at home.
Tony Rothacker, a qualified civil engineer, has previously founded an internet service provider and led the Coffs Coast Innovation Hub. Alongside his son Finn, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, he aims to provide purpose, employment, and technical assistance across generations, using technology as a tool for genuine human connection to build stronger, healthier communities.
Deadly Runners is a grassroots running club for First Nations people, working in collaboration with local community leaders and Aboriginal Health Organisations to improve physical and mental health outcomes and enable people to make life changes. Her vision is to grow the network of local running clubs by upskilling and employing local community leaders.
Georgia Weir is an Aboriginal woman who experienced the transformative power of running first-hand. She had been struggling with addiction and mental health issues and says running saved her life. She wants to enable First Nations people across Australia to experience the power of running, as well as the social connections that come from being part of a local group that gathers around a positive activity.
2022 Snow Entrepreneurs
Performl is an online platform that gives for-purpose organisations access to data and analysis in order to build effective services. The platform is easy to use and lets customers self-service answers about where there is an unmet need, what works and how to measure impact. Data is kept up-to-date forever thanks to proprietary technology, machine learning and a fully configurable codebase. Insights are accessible through a subscription model offered at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional consultants.
Growing up, Loki didn’t have access to many opportunities, and at age 15 he was unable to enrol at the local high school after years of no formal education. Through TAFE, he later attained a university entrance score and was offered an equity pathway to study law at the University of Technology, Sydney. Since then, he has worked as a management consultant for KPMG, as Chief of Staff to three NSW Ministers responsible for social services, and in child rights and refugee policy at the Australian Human Rights Commission, as well as serving on several not-for-profit boards. Loki is motivated to ensure that decision-makers anywhere can access the insights and analysis they need in order to achieve better outcomes for the community.
The Warrior Woman Foundation
The Warrior Woman Foundation supports vulnerable young women living in or preparing to leave the out-of-home care system to successfully become independent. The organisation provides life-skills education, mental health support and connection to a safe and nurturing group of female mentors, with a strong focus on financial literacy and job readiness as well as trauma healing, self-awareness and personal growth.
Jessica has a background as a school teacher in South-West Sydney, where she saw many students with trauma dropping out of school and falling through the cracks. In 2003, she founded the Life Changing Experiences Foundation, and its flagship SISTER2Sister program. When her brother was killed by someone who had been in and out of 11 foster care homes, she felt compelled to support young people in out-of-home care, who are currently expected to ‘fend for themselves’ as soon as they turn 18, without the skills and support networks that other young people can rely on. Thus, the Warrior Woman Foundation was born.
Clean Slate Clinic
Clean Slate Clinic is the only organisation offering home-based home-based detox from alcohol and other substances fully via telehealth across Australia, enabling people to safely go through withdrawal within the comfort of their own homes, supported by a specialist clinical team. Excessive alcohol use is widespread, with 1 in 4 people in Australia drinking at risky levels. Being able to access withdrawal within your own home helps to overcome barriers of cost, and access as well as stigma and shame. An independent evaluation has shown the service to be highly adaptable, safe and effective, and service data to date indicates that relapse rates are significantly lower than comparable face-to-face programs at 6 months post-completion.
Clean Slate Clinic is currently raising capital via a SAFE round to enable the scaling up of operations and proof of concept.
Pia is a health economist who worked with Deloitte and has extensive experience in the National Health Service in the UK. She also has lived experience of excessive alcohol use and is now recovered, thanks to going through the Clean Slate program. She teamed up with Dr Chris Davis (GP specialising in alcohol and other drugs (AOD)) and Chris Raine (founder of Hello Sunday Morning) to found Clean Slate Clinic in 2020, hoping to make alcohol rehab accessible to all who need it, especially those in rural and regional areas.
MoreGoodDays is an evidence-based pain management program to help people living with chronic pain better understand their condition, reduce symptoms and improve emotional wellbeing, all from the comfort of home. The need is huge: One in five Australians, including children and adolescents, will suffer from chronic pain in their lifetime, yet up to 80% of people living with chronic pain are missing out on treatment that could improve their health and quality of life due to a lack of information, high costs and long waitlists.
In 2022, MoreGoodDays raised $3.5m in venture capital equity funding to scale operations and expand the program offering from fibromyalgia to cover all types of chronic pain.
Neala and her family fled persecution in Indonesia and found refuge in Australia in 1998. Inspired by a long line of entrepreneurs in her family and grateful for the opportunities she was given, she always aspired to be a social entrepreneur to make a positive impact on other people’s lives. She gained skills as a management consultant for KPMG and Boston Consulting Group and experience in impact-driven work while working for not-for-profit organisations in New York and London. After watching her father suffer from unexplained chronic pain for many years, she embarked on an extensive research project and built MoreGoodDays to help people manage the impact of chronic pain on their lives.
Confit Pathways provides mentoring to young people in youth justice centres and post-release in order to reduce recidivism (= re-offending). The program combines a nine-week program in custody – focusing on exercise, building self-esteem and preparation for employment and education – with a further 12 months of support in the community. Through fitness instruction, a focus on a positive mindset around the value of employment and education and a strong sense of community, mentors with lived experience of incarceration help young people to successfully reintegrate into society.
Joe Kwon was sentenced to 13 years in prison at age 21 for directing a criminal enterprise. During that time, he met a mentor who helped get him on a different path. He has since obtained a Commerce degree from UNSW and runs Convict Fitness (a social enterprise) and Confit Pathways (a charity). He wonders what would have happened if he had met a positive role model and mentor earlier in life, or what would have happened if he had never met one. He is now determined to ensure that all young people have an opportunity to find that positive mentor and turn their lives around.
Kindship is the first and only social networking app for parents raising children with disabilities. It offers parents a safe space to connect with others who go through similar experiences, matched by diagnosis, age group, interests and location. Built to inform and ultimately empower decision-making through peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, Kindship’s vision is to spearhead a world that champions the contribution of parents and their children living with disability.
In October 2022, Kindship raised more than $1m in crowd equity funding from over 600 investors, many of them users of the Kindship platform. This funding has enabled the organisation to launch Kindship Premium, NDIS plan management tool to help parents manage and make the most of their child’s NDIS plan.
Wife-and-husband co-founding team Summer and Andrius Petrosius founded Kindship after Summer’s experience as a speech therapist, where she found that parents often relied on her and other staff for emotional and practical support. Andrius, a tech entrepreneur, brings with him 20 years of tech and product management experience. Before Kindship, Andrius led a Dutch product agency, supporting two startups to successful exits. Andrius also built a Dutch social networking app, which grew to 50,000 users in its three years of operation.
He and Summer have recently teamed up with three co-founders who are all mothers of children with disabilities and thought leaders in their own right to further amplify Kindship’s reach and impact.
Ripple Opportunities is an online platform and community that facilitates meaningful careers and civic engagement for young people. Through Ripple, young people find opportunities, build skills and confidence, and grow their network of support to help shape the world around them and transition into secure, future-focussed work. Ripple helps young people build a portfolio of experience, tapping into a focus on values and purpose, as well as active participation in society.
Skye grew up in a small rural community on Kangaroo Island, where the values of participation and collective action as a lever for impact were role-modeled to her from a young age. From selling cups of tea from the end of her farm driveway, she became a Youth Ambassador for World Vision and worked in non-profits, the music industry, government and at Airbnb. She also founded Y Vote, which galvanised significant increases in youth voter enrolment and participation in the 2016 election. Skye and fellow Ripple founder Tim Middlemiss were listed by former US President Obama as two of 60 Next Generation Leaders. Skye is motivated to empower all young people, regardless of their backgrounds, to contribute to society in meaningful ways.
Australian Spatial Analytics
Australian Spatial Analytics (ASA) employs and trains neurodiverse people in big data analytics, such as geospatial mapping, engineering design data and artificial intelligence data. More than 55% of autistic people under the age of 30 are unemployed. By harnessing their cognitive talents, ASA helps fill Australia’s digital skills shortage and creates long-term change in communities.
Geoff is a data analyst by trade who wanted to make a difference and took on a senior position in a disability employment service. After witnessing the difficulties many neurodiverse people encountered in finding and maintaining jobs, he put up his hand to lead ASA, a work-integrated social enterprise incubated by White Box Enterprises. With offices in Brisbane, Melbourne Cairns and soon Adelaide, ASA is also looking to expand to Canberra .