Stepping Stones to Small Business is a program tailored for women from refugee, migrant and asylum seeking backgrounds. It provides opportunities for women to achieve financial wellbeing through starting a small business, finding employment, training pathways, mentoring and support.

Financial wellbeing is key to women’s security and safety

Stepping Stones to Small Business offers participants the opportunity to learn in an environment which is supportive, gender aware, friendly and actively reduces the barriers that prevent women from mainstream business training. English as an additional language (EAL) is supported.

For more information, get in touch with the team at


We are not currently recruiting for volunteer mentors. If you are interested in future rounds of recruitment, please contact 
Emma Gale – .

Find out how to become a Stepping Stones mentor .

Stepping Stones Empowerment Programs

Eligible women from any region can participate in any program. 

  • 6 classes over 3 weeks

Melbourne Wide | October - November

  • Tues 26th 2nd 9th
  • Thurs 28th 4th 11th

Melbourne Wide | November - December

  • Mon 22nd 29th 6th
  • Wed 24th 1st 8th

Regional Wide | November - December

  • Tues 23rd 30th 7th
  • Thurs 25th 2nd 9th

Wimmera/North Grampians/Mallee | February-March 2022

  • Mon February 14th, 21st, 28th
  • Mon March 7th , 14th, 21st

Thinking of starting a small business?

Stepping Stones to Small Business is now accepting applications.

What our participants say

The most important thing I learned from the program was to believe in myself. I am making my own money, I have financial independence and feel socially connected.


One of the things I liked about the program is that they did not push any of us to start a business. They encouraged us to look at other pathways, such as employment and education, depending on our individual circumstances.


It wasn't easy to get a job in Australia without having any local work experience. Stepping Stones has always supported me ... made me believe and trust myself, and helped me become an independent woman. All my life I will be thankful for how this course has changed me.


Want to support a Stepping Stones business?

Visit our business directory to order catering, or purchase goods.


We acknowledge the following partners for their valuable contributions:

We acknowledge the enormous contributions made by our many volunteer mentors.

Financial partners

The Stepping Stones program is funded by:

With contributions from these councils:

Contact Stepping Stones to Small Business