Rethinking Entrepreneurship A Focus on Neurodiveristy event banner

Pictured above from left: Dr Sharon Zivkovic, Kayt McGeary and Kyriakos Gold.

These are exciting times for neurodiverse entrepreneurs – the Victorian Government’s Autism Plan has recognised business ownership and entrepreneurship as a way for autistic individuals to achieve economic independence, and the recent Senate Select Committee on Autism Inquiry report has recognised supporting autistic individuals to start their own social enterprise as an approach for addressing autistic unemployment.

In this online session, we will hear first-hand experiences of autistic social entrepreneurs as they share the strengths and challenges that they have encountered in establishing their social enterprises and how they believe the entrepreneurial ecosystem could better support autistic entrepreneurs.

The panel features:

Dr Sharon Zivkovic, Founder and CEO of Community Capacity Builders

Kayt McGeary, Founder of ACE Gear Bags

Kyriakos Gold, Founder and CEO of Just Gold

The audience will be given an opportunity to ask questions during the event.

Rethinking Entrepreneurship: A Focus on Neurodiversity
Date: Thursday 16 February
Time: 5.30-7.00pm
Venue: Online via YouTube
Free and all are welcome to attend.

Bookings are essential, please register to confirm your place.

Please note: Auslan interpretation is available on request for StartSpace events. Our staff require two weeks to plan and book this service. If you would like to request Auslan Interpretation, please let us know by Thursday 2 February when you register for the event, or email the team to request it: [email protected]

About Sharon

Dr Sharon Zivkovic is an autistic scholar–practitioner. She is the Founder and CEO of the social enterprise Community Capacity Builders which delivers active citizenship and systems social entrepreneurship programs, and the Cofounder and Chief Innovation Officer of the social enterprise Wicked Lab which has developed a software tool underpinned by complexity science that assists communities to address complex wicked problems.

Wicked Lab also delivers a Complex Systems Leadership Program and a program for Systemic Innovation Labs. She is currently studying a Master of Autism at the University of Wollongong to inform a range of autistic social entrepreneurship programs that Community Capacity Builders is developing. Sharon is also an active researcher.

She is a Visiting Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at Northumbria University, a member of Emerald Publishing’s Impact Advisory Board, and is recognised as a leading theorist in the Map of the Complexity Sciences for Applied Complexity.

About Kayt

Kayt McGeary is a proud Autistic Social Entrepreneur and lived experienced Social Enterprise Startup Founder of ACE Gear Bags.

Referred to by business and community leaders as ‘the missing link’, Kayt’s background is as a dynamic, multi-talented Workforce Development Professional and Systems Optimisation Specialist. She leverages a distinguished entrepreneurial background and spent nearly 15 years driving workplace and career development programs across the country and delivering accredited business and employability skills training to a diverse range of marginalized groups. Pivoting her career in 2020 she pursued her passion and special interest in Social Enterprise.

In 2022 Kayt was formally recognised as a Forgotten Australian care leaver (one of 500,000 children who were placed, abandoned, and abused last century in state institutionalised care), this was followed by being professionally identified as an autistic person with cPTSD.

Discovering why she was ‘always different’ reaffirmed her drive and mission to create long-overdue social change, by developing a community centric, strength-based organisation to make a positive impact in the lives of the most vulnerable young people in the country who have been adversely affected by the out-of-home-care (OoHC) system in Australia.

About Kyriakos

Kyriakos is a polymath whose work and research focuses on communicating social impact and the value of shared resources in doing so. Kyriakos’ career has been driven by creating positive social impact through real-world research and enabling people and organisations to participate in shared value ecosystems. Kyriakos is the founder and CEO of Just Gold, Australia’s first management consultancy that is a social enterprise.

He previously led the multicultural portfolio communications and events team for the Victorian Department of Premier and has a long-standing international broadcasting career. In Australia, he is best known for his award-winning work with the multicultural public broadcaster SBS. During his PhD research at the Centre for Social Impact, Kyriakos focused on creating a branding blueprint for the social sector.

He is an Australian lawyer (non-practising) and holds a Juris Doctor and an Executive MBA from RMIT, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University, a BA in International Studies from the University of Adelaide and multiple awards and scholarships including a commendation from NSW parliament.