Enhancing links with Asia

By Sunny Liu

CBD resident Natalie Kyriacou founded social enterprise My Green World when she noticed the disconnection between children and nature. 

My Green World is a provider of children’s education programs focused on the protection and preservation of wildlife and the environment.

The organisation has launched a mobile game, World of the Wild, the theme of which is to protect and save wildlife, in contrast to the prevalent hunting and shooting themed games.

“I want children to engage with fun technology that would really teach them about wild life and nature,” Ms Kyriacou said.

“I realise children can have a high level of engagement with environmental issues and all they need is for us to provide the tools and resources so they can continue fighting for nature and sharing their experience with others,” she said.

Ms Kyriacou was one of the four Australians selected to be part of Asialink’s eight-day Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP), which last month in Melbourne and Sydney attracted great young minds across Asia and Australia to build their networks and present their business ideas.

Asialink provides information, training and professional networks and aims to strength ties between Australia and South East Asian countries.

Some 15 A2ELP participants were chosen from 600 applicants from all 10 ASEAN countries and Australia. All participants are founders of their own social enterprises that advocate for and address issues surrounding poverty, health, education, technology and the environment.

Ms Kyriacou and other participants engaged in discussions with Asialink CEO Jenny McGregor at the CBD-based Henley Club on International Women’s Day.

Erin Watson-Lynn, Asialink director, led the talk at the Henley Club, where A2ELP participants asked Ms McGregor questions on: building social enterprises; lessons she learnt from her past experiences; and female entrepreneurship.

Consistent with the theme on International Women’s Day, the session focused on women entrepreneurs and the challenges they potentially faced in starting and expanding their businesses.

According to Ms Kyriacou, the A2ELP offered a platform for young entrepreneurs like herself to connect with like-minded peers, learn from others’ successes and challenges and gain more understanding of the cultural differences between Australia and Asia.

“My goal is to be able to deliver our services to children across Australia and eventually Asia, with support from the government, corporates and non-for-profit organisations,” she said.

Ms Kyriacou is also involved in local animal-welfare organisations in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

“I think it’s absolutely imperative that Australia and all the ASEAN nations work together to address issues like climate change, species extinctions and animal abuse,” she said.

The A2ELP receives funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is supported by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

“I congratulate all participants on their selection for this program, which will forge new partnerships with businesses and other organisations, and further enhance Australia’s relationships with the countries of South East Asia,” Minister Bishop said.

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