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.
Whilst working for Timbertop Geordie was lucky enough to gain employment with the Australian outdoorgear manufacturer One Planet whilst studying environmental science at Deakin University. A perfect combination for a young man with a love for the outdoors!
After a few years with One Planet Geordie decided it was time to get back to nature and was offered a position at Mittagundi Outdoor Education Centre. Mittagundi allowed Geordie to combine his love of the mountains and wild places with young people in a practical way and played a key role in running a small pioneer style farm, in a unique education style and providing an incredible lifechanging experience for young people.
Her experience spans two continents and a range of industries. Most recently, Hanna was working in Indonesia leading the establishment of a 12-month accelerator program.
Hanna brings a lens of curiosity and critique in order to understand and identify strategic opportunities for programming.
Hanna grew up on a beef and cropping farm in Queensland, before moving to Melbourne for University. She is excited to work with rural communities so that young people don’t need to leave their towns and communities to gain access to the opportunities and resources they need to thrive.
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.
Imogen is our first trainee and has joined the team on a part time basis. Imogen has lived in Beechworth for the past couple of years whilst studying a Bachelor of Education at Swinburne University by correspondence.
Imogen brings a great energy to our team and plays an important role in the administration of our organisation.
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.
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.