Settlement Services International (SSI) CEO and 2017 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year Violet Roumeliotis on May 28 launched a scholarship program through which four women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds will receive a 12-month package of business start-up support.
During the group mentoring morning tea at Summer Hill’s “Four Brave Women” café, women of influence from organisations such as Allianz, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Woolworths and the Sydney Business Chamber were paired with refugee young women while making a scented candle through the SSI social enterprise Humble Creatives.
Ms Roumeliotis is a strong advocate for aspiring young women, particularly those of CALD backgrounds. Launching the scholarship program, she said for the vast majority of new arrivals work and making a meaningful contribution to society was the most significant marker for settlement.
“The skills, experience, innovation and motivation new arrivals bring needs to be harnessed. Migrants are entrepreneurial and have a wealth of knowledge to share,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
Commonwealth Bank Head of Strategy – Multicultural Community Banking and SSI business partner Malini Raj participated at the event as a mentor and found the experience of forming new connections with aspiring women of refugee backgrounds inspirational.
“I feel honoured to have been included in such an authentic and meaningful event, encouraging dialogue and connections among these refugee women who are going to do great things,” Ms Raj said.
“The event highlighted the importance of engaging with refugee communities at a grassroots level, and the importance of sharing stories to understand the journey and the challenges of these amazing women.”
Ms Raj sees mentoring as a valuable opportunity to gain insights into how the financial services industry can better address concerns, issues, gaps and needs to improve financial inclusion.
“Mentoring is critical to foster greater cultural awareness and inclusion, and ultimately fostering greater social cohesion,” she said.
Under Ms Roumeliotis’ leadership, SSI is activating a vision for a society that values the diversity of its community and supports meaningful social and economic participation to assist individuals and families reach their full potential.
“Women doing it their way in business is a key theme close to my heart, and we hope this scholarship will help our newly arrived women to have the confidence and support to know we back them in,” she said.
“Together, we can continue to make this country great and empower young women to reach for the stars and pursue their business dream.”
Each Ignite Multicultural Women’s Business Scholarship is valued at $20,000 worth of professional and specialised support. The package includes working with an individual business facilitator and mentorship from a team of Ignite experts.
The scholarships will provide direct access to a resource team to provide advice on financial management, administration and compliance, effective marketing strategies and business planning services.
Recipients will be selected through a merit-based expression of interest.
For more information and to apply, click here.
To visit the Humble Creatives eBay store, click here.
For information about Four Brave Women, click here.