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Westpac commences search for Australia’s leading social innovators

11 July, 2018

  • Applications now open for 2019 Westpac Social Change Fellowships.
  • 10 Fellowships valued at $50,000 each, including a Leadership Development Program and bespoke six month development plan.
  • Open to people from all sectors, not limited to social enterprise or not-for-profits.


Westpac is calling on social innovators from all sectors across the country to apply for the Westpac Social Change Fellowship, a program that invests in the growth and development of inspiring individuals who are committed to creating positive social change in Australia.

10 Fellowships valued up to $50,000 each will provide recipients with tailored support to help develop the skills, knowledge and networks needed to accelerate their growth as a social innovator.

2017 recipient Sarah Gun, founder of GOGO events, says the Westpac Social Change Fellowship was transformational, both personally and professionally.

“When I embarked upon my Westpac Social Change Fellowship I could never have imagined it would result in creating a much bigger source for change than GOGO events in South Australia.”

Sarah converted her corporate events business to a social enterprise in 2012 with a vision to create employment opportunities for people at risk of homelessness. She used her Fellowship as an opportunity to expand her networks and understanding of various social enterprise models.

“Visiting social enterprises across the world helped me gain an understanding of the uniqueness of each enterprise, the many and varied models, and the ecosystems in which they have evolved and been nurtured. I realised just how much more could be done in Australia, particularly in my home state of South Australia,”

Since completing her Fellowship, Sarah has gone on to launch Social Change HQ and Collab4Good to help drive more cross sector collaboration and positive social change in South Australia.  

“Westpac believed in me and my vision. They had my back. They saw the significance and value of what I was fighting for. And they have committed, not just for one year, but for the long haul through the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.”

Another drawcard to the Westpac Social Change Fellowship is a four month Leadership Program, which includes the option of securing a business mentor through Westpac. Victorian 2017 recipient Naba Alfayadh, founder of Happy Brain Education, spent six months working on her leadership and management skills with Silvana Pizzino, in Westpac’s Human Resources team in the Commercial Bank.  

“After the mentoring with Silvana, Happy Brain Education went from a simple tutoring charity with one program to an impactful social change organisation with six programs in two states.”

According to Susan Bannigan, CEO of Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, “The Westpac Social Change Fellowship is highly impactful and supports both established and emerging social leaders.”


“In addition to the Leadership Program, recipients design a bespoke six month development plan that caters directly to their needs. So whether someone has only recently established themselves or they are 10 years into their social initiative, the Westpac Social Change Fellowship can provide them with the resources, networks and opportunities they need personally to grow as a social leader.”


This year Westpac is giving people the opportunity to nominate an individual who is creating change through their work, with the hope of expanding its reach beyond the social sector.


“Social innovators aren’t always working in the social sector. We want to reach those individuals outside the sector who are working on highly impactful programs that are addressing a social issue facing Australia.”

For more information about the Westpac Social Change Fellowship, and to nominate or apply, visit


Media contact:

Penny Mahon, Westpac Media


M: 0434 185 590


About the Westpac Social Change Fellowship

The Westpac Social Change Fellowship is one of five scholarships offered through the Westpac Scholarship Program. As part of this program 100 scholarships are awarded every year, forever, to individuals who have the drive and ideas to shape the future of Australia. Every Scholarship recipient gains lifelong membership to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.