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A2ELP 2024 is now complete. Congratulations to all Alumni!

A2ELP brings together the next generation of young social entrepreneurs from across Southeast Asia and Australia to build leadership skills and networks for social impact.

During a three month online program delegates will build knowledge of scalable and sustainable business models, cultural intelligence and innovative start-up and enterprise methodologies. There will be chances to network with industry, academic and government leaders, and hear from innovators and investors tackling the region’s challenges.

The Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP) is an Australian Government initiative and a flagship program for the Australia-ASEAN Council (AAC), curated and run by Social Good Outpost.

A2ELP Program Aims

Bringing the region’s leading young social entrepreneurs together, participants will:

  • build their personal and business leadership capabilities in a safe, supportive space

  • develop skills to engage a range of stakeholders


  • receive training in cultural intelligence and share creativity, innovation and leadership across cultures
  • build networks across ASEAN and Australia through peer and alumni engagement

  •  receive mentoring, and build connections with industry leaders and academic institutions

  • discuss the latest thinking and ideas in social impact with academic experts and industry leaders
  • build knowledge of sustainable business models to achieve long-term change
  • build strong connections and possibilities across our region with this year’s cohort and with A2ELP Alumni
  • participate in networking events and cultural activities


  • pitch at a finale in front of high level judges and invited guests

Program Details

A2ELP 2024 ran from late January to April 2024.

The program included a one week visit to Australia. In 2024, Australia commemorated 50 years of ASEAN-Australia relations. A2ELP delegates had the opportunity to visit Australia and celebrate this historic occasion.

Participants gained expertise from leading regional experts, entrepreneurs, government, community leaders and business, plus high-level mentoring, access to the alumni network and more.

Application criteria

  • 18 – 35 years old
  • Social entrepreneur: Founder or Leader in a social enterprise
  • 5 Australian representatives and 10 ASEAN representatives will be chosen: one from each ASEAN country: Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei
  • You must be able to commit to the full program, including online programming and in-person workshops in Australia.
  • Must have a current passport with at least 6 months valid post-return to home country.
  • This program provides a welcoming and inclusive learning environment. This means we continually celebrate the diverse community different individuals cultivate. We encourage all to apply.

Learn about applying for A2ELP

Tune in to hear from Program Directors Elise and Lara on: what to expect, how to apply, and frequently asked questions about the program.

Program schedule

You will embark on:
Weekly online learning modules (self led)

We provide background readings, listenings, activities and resources on our online learning platform. There is also time to prepare stories and skills to share with your fellow A2ELP delegates at certain times.

Weekly online sessions on Zoom together

We meet weekly as a group over Zoom, in the lead up to and after the in-person part of the program. These sessions are about building connections, leadership and social enterprise skills, and cultural understanding.

A one-week visit to Australia

We will come together for a week in Australia, where we continue to build connections, skills and share culture.

During the week in Australia, you can expect to experience:

  • Cultural immersion and significant site tours
  • Learning from and conversation with leaders in academia, business, and social enterprise
  • The chance to pitch your enterprise and make your ask to a panel of high level judges and invited audience
  • Good conversation and food while dining together at social enterprise restaurants
  • The chance to expand your business networks and knowledge
  • Give back and share with your peers through an unconference-style session and continuing opportunities to “ask and give” knowledge with the group
  • You will get to be part of the Special Summit celebrating 50 years of Australia’s relationship with ASEAN
2024 cohort at Our Community House, Melbourne

Indicative Program (from 2024)

1 (Late January)OnlineSetting up for success
2 (February)OnlineCultural Intelligence
3OnlineLeadership and Communication
4OnlineDefining You as a Leader
5 OnlinePreparing for in-person A2ELP
6 (March)AustraliaIn-person Program
Running from 29th February – 7th March, we will come together for an in-person visit to Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne.
7AustraliaIn-person Program
8Self led / onlineMentoring Connections
9OnlineImpact Business Models
10OnlineStorytelling & Scaling Your Business
11 (April)OnlineMeeting A2ELP Alumni and Peer Mentoring
12OnlineWhat kind of Leader are you now?

Indicative program of the in-person week

This program is a generalised version of our programs based on what we’ve run in the past. This version is simplified, and doesn’t include the lunches and dinners, which are a key part of sharing food and culture.

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4 Day 5Day 6
Morning SessionGrand challenges in our region panelFinance, financial sustainability and fundingExport, studying and engaging with AustraliaUnconference to share your knowledge with your peersNature day – visiting a significant natural part of AustraliaPitch Finale event
Afternoon SessionMental resilience and growth as a social entrepreneurMeeting with local government leaders or officialsGuided tour – cultural experience such as Indigenous art gallery or significant building (eg. Sydney Opera House)Social enterprise tour of cityNature dayNext steps and alumni network workshop

“You have to apply. This program not only connects you to an amazing crowd of people who think differently across our region but it also gives you an opportunity to focus on you and your organisation. This is an incredibly rare opportunity and one that will change the way you view your work in the ASEAN region.”

“This is one of the most amazing programs I have been participating in – the high quality of the contents and the way we were looked after showed how much the organisers cared about us – you have to be in it to win – apply.”

“Aside from being introduced to Australian social enterprise and startup ecosystem and how we can leverage Australian ASEAN relations for our enterprise , A2ELP also provided a community of founder friends where I found support and camaraderie in.”

“I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone seeking personal and professional development. It has been a remarkable journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it.”

“The experience of meeting and learning from social entrepreneurs from both Australia and the ASEAN regions has had a profound impact on me. It has reinforced my belief in the power of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change and inspired me to be more proactive in pursuing my own social entrepreneurial goals.”

“It’s a great way to network and to re-learn! Meeting people who share your purpose and can understand the struggles and loneliness of your journey has been a refreshing experience. I felt more revived coming back from the programme and is motivated to do more for my community.”

2024 Alumni at the Purpose Precinct at the Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, you don’t have to be a certain kind of organisational structure, and you don’t have to be registered or accredited as a social enterprise in your country. Your business can be any structure such as sole trader, company, organisation, non-profit. It can be for profit, or non profit. We don’t limit the definition of social enterprise, as long as you are creating social or environmental benefit.

You can have a social enterprise that is in concept stage, all the way through start-up, to established business.

A2ELP is a fully funded opportunity from the Australian Government. This means your airfares, transport, accommodation and meals are paid for, along with any entrance fees to places we go during the week in Australia. 

From late January when we start, there is a 2hr a week commitment to our online Zoom sessions together. These will not be recorded so you need to attend live. Some weeks there will be small ‘homework’ tasks or supportive resources which could be another 1 – 2hours. There is a commitment to attend the in-person program from 29th February – 7th March (plus one day either side for arrival and departure).

You must be able to commit to the full program, including online programming and in-person workshops in Australia.

Because we are operating over several timezones, we will close the applications the morning after the closing date, in GMT+10. However, we recommend applying as soon as you can, and not at the last minute.

Yes, once you have submitted your application you can edit it. Look for the email confirmation that comes to you, and there will be an “edit my submission” link down the bottom of that email.

We can only select participants who meet all the eligibility criteria.

The eligibility criteria are:

  • 18 – 35 years old
  • Social entrepreneur: Founder or Leader in a social enterprise
  • From Australia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, or Brunei
  • Must have a current passport with at least 6 months valid post-return to home country
  • You must be able to commit to the full program, including online programming and in-person workshops in Australia.

In 2024, we are starting out in Sydney then Melbourne for the in-person element of the program.

Program Partners and Sponsors

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The history of A2ELP

The Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP) was launched in 2016 by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australia-ASEAN Council with three clear outcomes at its core:

  • enhance the leadership potential of participants;
  • strengthen and expand people-to-people, professional, and institutional networks between Australia and Southeast Asia; and
  • showcase contemporary Australian and Southeast Asian creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Since its launch, A2ELP has been an in-person three month program with ten participants from across the Southeast Asian region (one participant per ASEAN country) joining five Australian social entrepreneurs from across the country.

A2ELP was delivered through Asialink and the University of Melbourne in 2016 – 2019, as a program over three months each year. From 2021, Social Good Outpost proudly took over running the program, working with new and existing partners, alumni, networks and leaders to deliver leading engagement in our region.

If you would like to get involved, please contact us for information on becoming a content partner, mentor, or anything else.

2022-23 A2ELP Delegates and Alumni with Assistant Foreign Minister, Tim Watts
2024 A2ELP Delegates with Assistant Foreign Minister, Tim Watts

About the program directors,

Social Good Outpost

Social Good Outpost (SGO) is an Australian strategic and creative communications studio. We work with social enterprise, business and government with impact measurement, communication design, strategy and curation of international diplomacy programs. Founded in 2016 by two sisters, Lara Stephenson and Dr Elise Stephenson, Social Good Outpost is a women-led team, and proudly brings a young approach to this diplomacy program. SGO ‘Curates’ leads our public projects, creative diplomacy, strategy and events implementation.

We’re social entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and strategists who have fallen progressively more in love with the ASEAN region and its people, so we bring a lived commitment to developing Australia-ASEAN enterprise and leadership, with a particular focus on empowering women, LGBTIQ+ and connecting with and supporting Indigenous and ethnic minority communities.

We have deep roots in Southeast Asia and have run more than 76 workshops with communities, business and government across Southeast Asia spanning topics like gender equality and entrepreneurship, LGBTIQ+ inclusion across Southeast Asia, climate action and dealing with climate change, social enterprise, and leadership.

Co-Directors Dr Elise Stephenson and Lara Stephenson during the 2024 A2ELP in Melbourne.
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