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Social Entrepreneurship Pitchfest at Pause Fest 2016

February 12, 2016

On Wednesday 10th February, eight social entrepreneurs made their way to Deakin Edge at Federation Square to take part in Social Traders Social Entrepreneurship Pitchfest at Pause Fest 2016.

The eight social entrepreneurs invited to present on the day showcased innovative approaches to a range of social issues, from opening new opportunities for recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers, connecting generations through technology and knowledging sharing and providing housing solutions for women fleeing domestic violence.

Each presenter had two minutes to present their social start-up idea live to the panel of judges and the Pause Fest Creative Day crowd, with no presentation aides.


Anna Donaldon pitching ‘Life Experience’ live at Pause Fest 2016

The judging panel comprised social enterprise, business and technology experts including:

  • Penelope Lewin – corporate entrepreneur and Cloud Productivity Lead from Microsoft (Asia and Australia)
  • Rohan Workman – Rohan Workman, Director of the Melbourne Accelerator Program at the University of Melbourne
  • Lisa Boothby – Head of Enterprise Development at Social Traders

From the eight pitches, Eric Agyman from PVBS apparel was selected as the winner of both the Major Prize and the People’s Choice Award.


PVBS is a Year 12 School Leaver jacket company “breaking the cycle of poverty one swanky jacket at a time”, with each jacket supporting education for children in areas such as in Africa and Cambodia.

“All the pitches were particularly good at demonstrating their commitment to solve social problems, but the challenge for most people was in articulating a sustainable business model.” commented Pitchfest judge Lisa Boothby.

“Eric from PVBS won the competition because he was able to demonstrate a business model that had the potential to scale.  He also fired up the crowd by delivering his pitch through a very clever rap!”

Watch Eric Agyeman’s winning pitch. 



The eight social entrepreneurs were selected from 27 social business that applied to take part in the Social Entrepreneurship PItchfest. The eight ideas presented in the session were:

  1. Carlton Multicultural Urban Farm

The Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC) is located in inner Melbourne and has a large garden space that can be transformed into a productive, money-generating, urban farm.  They address three core issues: – pollution and environmental sustainability – employment – working with migrants/refugees who are learning English and seeking employment.

2. Life Experience

Life Experience aims to address both youth unemployment and the social isolation and exclusion experienced by many elderly people in our community. We do it by designing and delivering services that connect generations, create meaningful employment opportunities for young people, and enhance the connectedness and inclusion of older people in the community.

3. Long Street Coffee

The café offers asylum seekers and refugees 3 – 6 month paid hospitality traineeships, after which time we assist our trainees to secure ongoing employment elsewhere. The traineeship not only provides young asylum seekers with a much-needed income, it also helps them to improve their self-confidence, practice their English skills, and is a vital first stepping stone to re-building their lives in Australia.

4. Thai Street

‘Thai street’ will bring the best of Thailand’s renowned culinary arts to the streets of Melbourne, hiring and housing the most talented of Thai street cooks, supporting them through language, while they benefit directly from Australian work conditions and wages. Profits then being used to establish culinary schools in Thailand aiming at breaking cycles of poverty by granting young street cooks greater options and opportunities for employment in lucrative tourism and hospitality industries.

5. Homeless Help

Homeless Help Project is primarily focused on helping women fleeing domestic violence and rough sleepers with a permanent, supported housing solution.  Our aim is to partner with Baptcare, Salvation Army and others via Joint Ventures to develop cutting edge medium density properties with social housing peppered throughout.

6. Dinner on the Table

Vulnerable families, including those living with disability and mental illness, are the biggest consumers of food aid in Australia, and tens of thousands go hungry every month because there is not enough food aid to go round.  Dinner on the Table does delicious family-style dinners delivered across Sydney. Some of our customers, families living with disability/mental illness, order dinners to feed their families every week and we pick up the tab.


Education is the most powerful weapon used to change the world and has the potential to eliminate poverty. PVBS is a social enterprise that exists to break the cycle of poverty with custom apparel. We create premium custom leaver Jackets for Year 12 students, each jacket provides access to quality education to young children in Cambodia and Ghana, who would otherwise be selling things on the side of the road.

8. The Field Trip

The world is one big gatekeeper, determining who gets the jobs, the funding, the contacts, the cash, the care and love (and who doesn’t). The Field Trip demystifies the power of gatekeepers and empowers kids to feel confident that their lives and futures are in their hands. It offers young people employment to run a weekly program for younger kids focused on members making their mark in the world and each realising their own unique extraordinary potential.


Find out more about Pause Fest 2016 at

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