SECNA Meetup #1: Celebrating Friendship Month

SECNA Meetups #1: Celebrating Friendship Month

Last night was the first of our monthly SECNA meetups. Thanks to everyone who came (including people on Zoom)… a fun night was had. I loved seeing the energy in the room. Old friends catching up… and new friends being made. Fitting, given the theme was Celebrating Friendship Month.

A huge thanks to our speakers: Marjorie Tenchavez from Welcome Merchant and Abbey Pantano from Seed Spaces. Both are working on increasing social inclusion and belonging – in quite different contexts and ways. It was great to hear some of their story, insights, and lessons. All of which is very much a story in progress.

Couldn’t make it or just want to relive it? Watch it now.

Get involved! Follow them on socials and become a paying customer… it’s what every social enterprise needs.

Thanks again to Lou & Robyn from Canva Space for their generous support as the venue and refreshments sponsor… and to City of Sydney for their support.

Thanks as well to the rest of our organising team… Samara JamesGreg Hodgkinson, and Bridget Gunn.

It’s an exciting month for the social enterprise community with the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) in Brisbane at the end of September. Join us for our next meetup on 6 October where we’ll reflect on our highlights from SEWF. Bring a friend.

Meetup Announcement

Thursday, 1 September 2022 @ 6pm. Canva Space, Sydney & Online

September is friendship month and it seems the perfect theme to launch SECNA Meetups. Come along and be part of the very first of our ongoing meetup series. Grab your ticket now!

Friendship Month celebrates the importance of friendship and encourages communities to come together and enjoy each other’s company. This includes a focus on ending loneliness and social isolation… and increasing social inclusion and belonging.

Tickets include drinks and snacks. $10 for members, $20 non-members. If you’re not a current SECNA member, why not join now! This event is free to attend online.


We’re lucky to have speakers from three SECNA industry members. All three speakers and their organisations focus on increasing social inclusion – in a diverse range of ways. Marjorie, Jessie, and Abbey will share a bit about the approach they take and some of their key lessons and insights.

Marjorie Tenchavez

Founder & Director, Welcome Merchant
Marjorie is a first-generation Australian from a Filipina background, based on Cadigal & Wangal Lands/Inner West Sydney. Marjorie has been working in the social justice space since 2011, at organisations like Metro Assist & Amnesty International Australia. She launched Welcome Merchant in March 2020, on Instagram. By November 2020, it had become a social enterprise. She sees herself as an accidental entrepreneur.

Welcome Merchant provides not just a consolidated platform for entrepreneurs from refugee & asylum-seeking backgrounds, but it provides community too. Welcome Merchant’s curated events and online directories give the refugee entrepreneurs a chance to share their incredible talents and unique stories. Marjorie has also completed a Master’s Degree in Human Rights & Democratisation. A passionate traveller, Marjorie has also lived in Colombo, Milan, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey and she credits her travels for strengthening her anti-racism work.

Abbey Pantano

Co-founder & Community Director, Seed Spaces
Few people would see a global pandemic as an opportunity to open a cowork and event space, but this is exactly what Abbey did in May 2020. As a retail marketing specialist of 12 years, and eco side hustle owner for two, it was a stream of devastating world events and climate anxiety that led to a new dream…

What if we brought together a community of impact-led entrepreneurs, dedicated to using their business as a force for good?

The arrival of COVID created the door Abbey needed to take the leap. Using a redundancy package, learnings from 12 years of big business, and a failed purpose-built startup – Seed Spaces was born. Today the cowork and event space, based on the outskirts of Sydney’s CBD, has blossomed into an Australia-wide digital membership with 60+ social impact businesses in the mix (and growing!)

With the power of community, and collaboration over competition mindset, there no limit to what Abbey hopes this incredible network can achieve.

Jessie Williams

Manager, Community Capital Foundation
Jessie can’t make it now but we’ll get her to speak at a future meetup.


Thanks to Canva Space for their generous support as the venue and refreshments sponsor.

Proudly supported by City of Sydney.

About SECNA Meetups

SECNA’s purpose is to nurture a healthy and connected social enterprise sector in NSW and the ACT… and beyond, including everyone in and around the ecosystem.

A connected and engaged social enterprise community is key to increasing awareness, understanding, and advocacy – while building strong partnerships and collaboration. This will help us progress to our shared vision of a world where we collaborate to ensure all people, places, and our planet thrive.

That’s what SECNA Meetups are all about. A regular way for us to meet, make new friends, stay connected with old friends, and bring the community and ecosystem together. Having fun and enjoying each other’s company while sharing and learning from each other. Exchanging ideas, celebrating the wins, and learning from the fails. In the spirit of collaboration.

Our meetups aren’t just for current SECNA members. We welcome everyone in and around the social enterprise ecosystem… and even those who are just curious to see what it’s all about. We come together valuing and including our diversity.

We meet on the first Thursday of the month and the focus is on convening and holding space for connection in a fun and friendly way. We also have talks, panels, and interactive sessions on a range of topics related to social enterprise. Most of our meetups are hybrid and provide connection beyond Sydney and Canberra to other metro, rural, and regional locations across NSW and the ACT.

We’d love to hear from you if you’re keen to speak, there’s a topic you’d like covered, or if there’s someone you’d like to hear from. There are also sponsor/partnership opportunities available.


Ben PecotichSamara James & Greg Hodgkinson
SECNA Meetup Organising Team