Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

SSE Annual Report 2019-20

Annual Report

Welcome to our 2019-20 Annual Report

In 2019-20, we were driven by creating impact across a range of new and reimagined activities.

Navigate the report using the links below and thanks for being a part of our diverse community of change-makers.




See how we're supporting a diverse mix of inspiring individuals and organisations.




"In a year of immense change, the skills of entrepreneurship and innovation are needed more than ever to help upskill the community and support the recovery of the state.

SSE has risen to the challenges of these unprecedented times, working across diverse locations and institutions to equip individuals and organisations with the tools and mindset they need to forge their path forward."


In a rapidly changing world, building resilience, creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset are key to continued growth and sustainable success.

See how we’re helping develop a culture of life-long learning and boosting the capacity of our participants and community across a range of industries.


Units of study and short courses

Our Units of Study and short courses are the start of an innovation journey. Designed in collaboration with the 11 NSW universities and TAFE NSW, our units give participants highly sought-after skills in innovation, design thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, networking and entrepreneurship.

In 2019-2020, 212 students completed SSE's Units of Study. 

  • 7

    27% REGIONAL

  • 9

    51% FEMALE

  • 8



I went from having no mentors to having a group of about 20 or so coaches and mentors who I can reach out to for advice and support

Jacob Lescove-Uduwalage SSE alum and co-founder of Unicornshift

2019-20 Units of Study

Sophie Klecja

Being from a rural town, people just think that getting into innovation and entrepreneurship is unachievable, but it’s not.

Sophie Klecha SSE alum from the University of Newcastle

Adapting our units in 2020

Adpting 2020 Widget (1) (1)

In response to the global pandemic in 2020, SSE accelerated implementation of its new digital-first strategy and brought its learning activities fully online.

Our reimagined units focused on meaningful interactions in an online environment that immerse participants in the world of innovation and applied entrepreneurship.

Find out more


Discovery is SSE's innovation program, tailored to the needs of forward-thinking educators and businesses to rapidly upskill staff, students or community members.

The program can be deployed to fit the needs of any organisation, helping boost staff skills, enhance student learning or solve a real problem.

Led by our Director, Entrepreneurship Emily Chang, Discovery is designed and taught by a diverse range of expert practitioners. Our team employs the latest in entrepreneurial learning techniques to deliver impactful outcomes and support participant success.

Daniel Smith Portrait

I think the key skill is to be ever-changing. The skill of figuring out what you actually need to learn is a hard one but one that is necessary for the fast-changing world.

Daniel Smith SSE Entrepreneur Facilitator, alumni and serial entrepreneur

Hear what our Macquarie University Bachelor of Arts students have to say

Virtual Startup internship program

Launched in July 2019, SSE's Virtual Internship Program is helping thousands of students from NSW and around the world to develop the practical skills they need to work in a startup (or launch their own!).

  • Midnight Sqe

    1,000+ signups in the first six weeks

  • 7

    7,000+ participants in the first year

  • Copper Sqe

    10,000+ participants to date

From left to right: Suzanne Campbell (Vennu), Jenna Leo (Home Care Heroes), Minister Stuart Ayers and Andreas Dzumla (Longtail UX). Caitlyn Tanaka (UTS student) with Minister Stuart Ayers.

Of participants who have completed the program:


SSE is committed to helping diverse individuals and cohorts create their own future with a range of new professional development programs and learning activities.

We collaboratively partner with leading organisations from a range of industries to equip participants with the entrepreneurial skills, approaches and mindsets they need to take the next step.


Building the Virtual Industry Placement Program and Catalyst

We’re developing new programs as part of a suite of innovation offerings for growing organisations seeking to attract and develop talent.


Adpting 2020 Widget (1)

Welcome to SSEQuad, our new online education environment!

Developed in partnership with learning management company Guroo Producer, SSEQuad provides a seamless experience for students that can be customised to fit the needs of a broad range of clients.

SSEQuad is a creative, interactive learning environment that is easy to navigate, intuitive and allows for action-based learning. It will be deployed for all future SSE learning activities to provide the highest-quality student experience

Supporting secondary schools

In 2020, we will roll out the first stage of our professional development Entrepreneurial Educator Program with the NSW Department of Education.

In this program, teachers from across NSW are given the unique opportunity to develop skills in creativity, problem-solving, adaptability and innovation, as they work on projects specific to them.

Through the program, teachers learn how to identify a problem, create new ideas, develop a solution and tell their story.

With the support of our expert facilitation team, teachers work together on an innovation project, and leave the program with entrepreneurial tools that they can apply in the classroom and pass on to their students.

We are also developing new programs to support high school students in 2020-21, partnering with Spark Festival to boost entrepreneurial education capabilities across the state and working with a number of schools in NSW to drive entrepreneurial education among their cohorts.

Lauren G

“[EEP was] such a great opportunity to build connections and networks. My entrepreneurial spark is lit, the fire has ignited, and it will continue to burn bright.”

Lauren Goritsas Entrepreneurial Educator Program participant and teacher at Sydney Secondary College

Supporting regional audiences

SSE is Sydney in name only and we remain committed to boosting innovation across the state in regional and rural areas.

From left to right: Jillian Kilby (The Exchange), Emily Chang (SSE) and Hugh Taylor (UNE Smart Region Incubator)

In August 2020, SSE will partner with the University of New England’s Smart Region Incubator and The Exchange in Dubbo to create a learning experience that supports development of digital capabilities for staff working across the NSW public sector.

Emily Chang (SSE) and Jillian Kilby (The Exchange) will design and deliver six-hour online facilitated workshops to support regionally-based public servants to better understand local customers’ needs and design better, simpler ways of meeting their challenges.

Through these workshops, participants will gain a set of takeaway tools and direct experience in applying human-centred design methodology in their work and form a community of practice that can continue to support their learning and development.


Supporting women

SSE is committed to supporting women in an area where they are often under-represented.

In late 2019, we partnered with International Connector and the University of Technology Sydney for the Future of Women in Tech event.

Supported by the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, the event helped co-design solutions to boost female participation in technology and entrepreneurship, which were shared at workshops around the country.

In 2020, we are continuing to design programs to empower female entrepreneurs.


Rose Lewis WSU

The confidence that SSE gave me really changed things for me. People underestimate themselves, but every person is capable of making change. SSE helped me to believe that for myself.

Rose Lewis WSU student and SSE alum

Supporting the ecosystem

SSE is committed to supporting individuals and organisations within the ecosystem to adapt and thrive in times of immense change.

Emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence can help create resilient businesses and skills in these technologies are essential for resilient careers.

That's why, in July 2020, SSE is partnering with AI innovation experts David Goad and Steve Blunt to equip over 300 participants from Transport for NSW with the skills, mindset and capabilities they need to solve complex problems with these advanced technologies and approaches.

More new professional development and innovation capacity-building programs will be coming online in 2020-21, including partnerships with NSW councils to support the growth of innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurial skills, as well as collaborations with our education and corporate partners.

David Goad

I hear the concern all the time that AI is replacing jobs and will create broad-based unemployment. It isn’t and it won’t. What AI does is automate tasks.

David Goad AI expert and facilitator of SSE Innovation in AI masterclass sessions

Supporting the community

Our diverse community continues to grow as we collaborate and connect across the ecosystem.

This year, we launched the SSE Innovation Community on LinkedIn, which has already welcomed 200 alumni, experts, founders and educators.

We are also providing pathways for our alumni and students to gain practical experience and join our facilitation team, through an SSE facilitator training program currently in development.

Over the next year, we are focused on welcoming new cohorts through our professional development programs, including our micro-credentialled short courses, a new capstone program and Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.

And, as always, we look forward to celebrating the successes of our alumni and participants as they continue to make their mark on the world.


From the leaders on our boards and committees to our talented team, accomplished Brains Trust and inspiring alumni, our community drives everything we do.

Thank you to our diverse team, Boards, Brains Trust and community of alumni for helping drive growth, innovation and entrepreneurship in NSW


In 2019-20, we welcomed four new members to our team. Check out their profiles below.

Emily Chang Cropped

"I believe entrepreneurship empowers people to embrace change and the possibility of a better future.

Emily Chang Director, Entrepreneurship

I see entrepreneurship as a creative endeavour. You create, test, and shape something completely new.

Lucas Hakewill Growth Program Lead
Annual Report Icons (1)

I was attracted to working for an organisation that’s got a startup feel with a great bunch of people who are not afraid of tackling the implementation of the next idea/program.

Frances Lee Director, Operations
Krithika Ramakrishnan Headshot

I’m excited to be working with a talented and passionate team and contributing to the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship in NSW.

Krithika Ramakrishnan Information and Business Systems Support Officer

Board and committee

Thanks to our Board, Committee and Advisory Board for their support, guidance and leadership throughout the year.

In 2020, we welcomed Emeritus Professor Annabelle Duncan as SSE's new Chair of Board. We also welcomed Zoe Williams and David Caspari as members of AFRC.

Welcome also to the newest member of our Advisory Board, Maryam Tabari. Maryam brings a wealth of experience working in the university commercialisation sector to SSE.

We would also like to thank outgoing board and committee members:

brains trust

Thanks for reading and being part of our continued success.

Download this report as a PDF below.