The not-for-profit organisation Violet Roumeliotis leads has grown from $9 million to a massive $110 million in revenue in just four years, expanding from 70 to almost 600 staff and 250 volunteers.
Last night she was named the 2017 Telstra Australian Business Women of the Year for her efforts in dramatically scaling Settlement Services International (SSI), which supports the personal, social and economic advancement of people seeking asylum, refugees and migrants.
The organisation partners with large corporations to deliver Sustainable Employment Programs that support refugees and migrants entering the workforce, and in turn provide businesses with rich talent.
It’s award-winning small business start-up program, Ignite, has supported 90 participants to financial independence and developed over 45 jobs.
Violet’s using her recognition in the awards program to call for corporate Australia to look to the NFP sector to find innovative solutions to entrepreneurial thinking and for addressing workforce shortages.
She believes the NFP sector is thriving with social entrepreneurs who are driven by passion and determination. The sector, she says, can offer excellent lessons, innovation and thinking to the corporates.
“I call for leaders from across corporate Australia to look at the innovation and commercial impact of the work of the not for profit sector. We want more partnerships, so we can expand our reach and help to solve commercial and social challenges of Australia.”
She told our friends at SmartCompany that the win’s a reminder that you can still have heart and values in business. “You can bring heart to a business and still get great results. Everyone is a winner in that context.”
Other winners from last night’s event in Melbourne included:
For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award: Violet Roumeliotis, CEO, Settlement Services International Limited, (NSW)
Entrepreneur Award: Hana-Lia Krawchuck, founder, Love to Dream, (NSW)
Public Sector and Academia Award: Professor Leah Bromfield, Co-Director: The Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, (SA)
Corporate and Private Award: Jennifer Franceschi, Managing Director, Fresh Produce Alliance, (WA)
Young Business Women’s Award: Elise Apolloni, Managing Partner, Capital Chemist Wanniassa, (ACT)
Business Woman in Asia Award: Saskia Groen-in’t-Woud, COO, Damco (Singapore)