SSI News Blog

It started with the notion that a thriving, resilient and diverse community is the indicator of a successful neighbourhood. So, add a newly regenerated urban area with a place-based business mentorship program, and see the community flourish.


client testimonial

bright* client testimonial.

This program was bright*, a two-year initiative based in Darling Square, Sydney, a new urban neighbourhood developed by Lendlease. In 2020, SSI’s small business start-ups program, Ignite, became its delivery partner. The program, which wrapped up earlier this month, was free for budding entrepreneurs or founders of existing businesses who either live, work or study in Darling Square, Ultimo or Haymarket.

Like SSI’s ground-breaking Ignite program, bright* is a Sirolli based program. This methodology is a community-based approach to entrepreneurship, with participants assigned a facilitator who works with the founder on every aspect of the business model in order to form a strong foundation. Facilitators treat every founder and business idea with unconditional positive regard and an eco-system of support is built around the entrepreneur which is drawn from the program’s community-based resource team.

Bright* was able to establish a resource team of 235 skilled local industry experts, business service practitioners, community affiliates and creatives. These people volunteered their time and expertise to assist bright* founders on their entrepreneurial path and provide real world experience and expertise to support founders to overcome any barriers they may be facing in building a successful business.

Bright* was offered free of charge to participants, was not time limited and was completely confidential.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic over the past year, the program made tremendous impact through:

• Over 190 facilitator sessions
• 46 local Darling Square catchment founders becoming clients over the life of the program
• 235 volunteers with broad business expertise
• 5 innovative support programs

On Friday 5 February a final virtual event was held to mark the completion of the program. The event included panel discussion highlighting the views of participants, affiliates, local stakeholders and industry experts around how bright* enabled human connection as well as an abundance of support through a local entrepreneurial ecosystem. As one panellist put it, the program “connected people to the right people”.

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis also addressed guests at the event. She commended Lendlease on the initiative and highlighted that it was a wonderful example of collaboration for social and community impact.

“When individuals do well, families do well. Initiatives like this activate people’s passions to live good lives. It is heartening to see the results and the outcomes. It’s extraordinary.”

For more information about bright*, visit 

Success stories

SSI Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Vile

Sue VileSue Vile was among the first to be inducted into the SSI’s Armidale volunteer program, bringing with her a wealth of experience and existing training gathered from her time in aid work, in Australia and abroad.

A retired school teacher and nurse, Sue has dedicated an enormous amount of her time in recent years on the front line of humanitarian services, helping refugees at many stages of their journey to safety.


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