Social Enterprise Network Meeting

Thu, 24 Aug 2023 12:00pm - 01:00pm

The session aims to:  

  • Explore how social enterprises and foundations are incorporating lived experience and participatory governance within their models 
  • Demonstrate what best practice can look like from the experience of a social entrepreneur 
  • Share how CAGES Foundation have embedded this approach within their core strategy as they walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisation. 


The Social Enterprise Network (a sub-group of the Jobs & Skills Funders Network) is open to all foundations and funder members of Philanthropy Australia, and convenes with the objective of growing awareness of and philanthropic practice within the evolving social enterprise sector.  

This session explores the context of participatory governance within the social enterprise sector and how lived experience expertise is driving stronger and more targeted impact and enabling self-determination within some of our most excluded communities. 

The session will be kicked off by Usman Iftikhar, Co-Founder and CEO of Catalysr, whose award-winning charity runs intensive entrepreneurship programs for migrant and refugee entrepreneurs – aka Migrapreneurs – who want to find success in Australia by building their own startup or social enterprise. Lived experience is deeply embedded within their organisation and Usman will share how his personal journey has shaped their participatory governance frameworks. 

Rachel Kerry from CAGES Foundation will share how their approach has been centred on supporting First Nations inspired, led and controlled organisations and then funding with autonomy. They will highlight the work they are doing with their partners to develop a community led UMEL (Understanding, Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning) framework to demonstrate the efficacy of funding this way. 

As always there will be lots of time for Q&A, discussion for group discovery and opportunities to share co-funding opportunities and updates. 


Usman Iftikhar, Co-Founder and CEO, Catalysr 

Usman is a systems entrepreneur, passionate about utilising the power of entrepreneurship to collectively solve global problems such as global climate emergency and the global refugee crisis. He is the co-founder and CEO of Catalysr, an award-winning startup incubator in Australia, which empowers migrant and refugee entrepreneurs (aka migrapreneurs) to launch their own social enterprises and tech startups. Since 2016, Catalysr has supported over 900 migrapreneurs to learn enterprise skills, to launch their own business for meaningful employment.  

Usman has received numerous awards for his work, including being named the 2018 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year by HRH Prince Harry. In 2019, he was named as one of the top 50 on Kochie’s Business Builders Power list with Google, on Smart Company’s 30 under 30 list, and also won the Western Sydney Leadership Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement. In 2020, Usman was declared a winner in the ‘Entrepreneurship’ category, for the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Leadership Awards. In 2021, Usman was given the prestigious Western Sydney Champion award by the Committee for Sydney

Rachel Kerry, Executive Officer, CAGES Foundation

Rachel Kerry has over twenty years’ experience in philanthropy and corporate responsibility with a background in financial services and responsible travel. Rachel joined CAGES in 2011 focussing on strategy, measurement, partnerships and overall administration of the foundation. Rachel was formerly on the Board of Curious Works and has spent time consulting to non-profits around strategic philanthropy. She is an enthusiastic member of the Early Childhood Impact Alliance and the International Funders for Indigenous People network. Rachel was born and raised in Sydney on the land of the Bidjgigal people, after much exploration she now lives there with her husband and two teenage sons. 


This event is for Philanthropy Australia funder members only. If you want to join this session and become a member of Philanthropy Australia, please reach out to [email protected]

To register, please email [email protected] .