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2018, © LaunchVic & Thrive Conference

Matt Pfahlert

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.

In partnership with Scotland’s world leading Social Enterprise Academy, ACRE operates the Social Enterprise Academy Australia, centred on training young people and communities to build sustainable enterprises and achieve greater social impact.

Matt has recently been a speaker and expert panel presenter at the Social Enterprise World Forum in 2018 in Scotland and was one of only four co-convenors of the inaugural Social Enterprise Rural Symposium to coincide with the world forum.