Meet the Team
Our founders and leaders are experienced entrepreneurs who understand the challenges facing rural Australia and see the potential that entrepreneurial activity and social enterprise presents for improved rural prosperity.
One of Australia’s pioneering social entrepreneurs, Matt is helping to shape regional and rural Australia through igniting entrepreneurship in young people and their communities.
Matt started his first social enterprise in 1993 at the age of 23, working with ‘at risk’ young people in wilderness settings. His passion and drive for positive social outcomes saw him receive the prestigious Young Australian of the Year Award in 1996.
Motivated by a desire to create prosperous, healthy, thriving communities, in 2016 as co-founder and CEO of the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE), Matt led a $2.5M community buy-back of the Old Beechworth Gaol. A neglected Australian heritage icon famed for its connection to Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang and located in Matt’s hometown. The site is being re-purposed as an exemplar of social enterprise, impact investment and rural rejuvenation through community owned assets.
You can hear about Matt and his social enterprise journey in this ABC Radio interview:
Clayton moved to North East Victoria in 2007 to take up the Cycle Tourism Development Manager role with the local council and become a trusted advisor on this issue nationally. Clayton is an avid cyclist and has a strong background in economic development, tourism, events, business development and business finance.
Clayton brings experience and skills in community development, stakeholder engagement, rural development and entrepreneurship and is leading the community buy back of the Old Beechworth Gaol.
Growing up in country Victoria, she is passionate about community development to help keep the much valued youth in the region. Cassie is working for ACRE 2 days a week and is assisting in the development of the upcoming programs available.
He is also founder and practice principal of Ekstedt Consulting, an innovative coaching and consulting practice focused on the needs of senior leaders and creative entrepreneurs.
From 2011 to 2016 Pete was CEO of a start-up charity dedicated to the development of young rural leaders in Victoria. Before that, Pete had a 20-year management career working in the insurance, banking and IT sectors. Pete has been certified to deliver entrepreneurship development programs by the Micro-Enterprise Acceleration Institute and social enterprise programs by Social Enterprise Academy Australia. He developed a passion for social enterprise in 2009/10 when he was executive sponsor of a network of 51 micro-enterprise development centres spread across the Asia-Pacific region.
Pete grew up on the Bellarine Peninsula and in Geelong. He has lived with his family in Victoria’s central highlands region for more than a decade.
Caz has worked in the government sector for over 15 years and has an excellent understanding of project delivery, strategic planning and stakeholder engagement.
Caz has also worked with a diversity of sectors across the community and has experience in team leadership and internal communications.
Caz has also worked as an educator, locally and abroad and provided support to many volunteers across the region.
A local to the region, Chris attended Xavier High School in Albury and then went on to complete a Bachelor Applied Science in Outdoor Recreation and Ecotourism.
Chris and his partner Lleweller relocated to the King Valley in 2021 and are excited to support the activation of the Typo Station site over time.
Peter’s role is to facilitate the delivery of entrepreneurial learning and development programs aimed at accelerating and supporting youth entrepreneurship throughout rural and regional Australia.
Peter, is currently working with 22 schools across the north east of Victoria, using social enterprise as a vehicle to engage young people to develop enterprise skills and to put their ideas into practice.
Peter is inspired by the creativity and innovation found within the ideas of young people of all ages and enjoys working with communities to support young people to achieve what they are passionate about.
Mary Anne Scully
Co-developed by ACRE and Second Muse (a global innovation agency), the Breakout Accelerator is a new way of connecting rural and regional creativity and drive with the power and reach of international networks, experience and expertise.
Mary Anne loves working with and supporting regional people who are striving to build thriving businesses and organisations. She is an experienced business strategist, educator and communicator.
As our Social Enterprise Schools Learning Coordinator, Tom is supporting young change makers by ensuring high quality delivery and ongoing expansion of the program nationally, and tapping into professional links and resources available across the global Social Enterprise Academy network. The role is a perfect fit for Tom who is passionate about young people being empowered in their learning and believing in their ability to make the changes to the world that they see as important.
Tom grew up in Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula. He and his wife relocated to North East Victoria in 2020 as they wanted their children to grow up in a connected rural community.
As Learning Coordinator, Coran supports delivery of learning and development programs offered by Social Enterprise Academy Australia, links with key industry partners and facilitates the growth of the social enterprise community.
With experience in working for a number of multinationals, Karla prides herself on her work ethic, clear communication and ability to form strong relationships with her team and stakeholders to align on a solution.
Karla will be responsible for providing organisational accountability for the pipeline of work across ACRE to ensure that all commitments and obligations for customers are met. Karla will also play a critical role in the successful development, design and implementation of bids, applications and proposals over the next three months.
Karla grew up in Melbourne and she and her family relocated to Beechworth at the end of 2020. She shares ACRE’s passion to drive the renewal of Rural communities for her children and future generations to come.
A Monash University Environmental Science graduate who originates from Maffra, Brady brings a wide breath of experience in science communication, research, leadership and social enterprise education to the ACRE Board.
As Program Coordinator of Youthrive Victoria, Brady delivers leadership and mentoring programs to empower rural young people to lead great lives.