Meet Our Inaugural Explore Cohort 2021

Meet Our Inaugural Explore Cohort 2021

We're very excited to announce our cohort of 16 talented women for our first ever Explore Program. The SBE Explore program was specifically created to support female founders in the ideation and early stage of developing their business.
The program will provide advice, skills, resources, and networks to get started  and feel confident to examine, test, prototype and launch business ideas rapidly, resourcefully, and with eco-system support. 
We'd love to introduce you to this incredible cohort.


Anna Stoyanova

Anna has more than 12 years of digital marketing experience helping iconic brands such as Barclays Bank, The Financial Times, Weight Watchers, HP, Visa, Google and Air New Zealand to advance with their digital transformation agenda and bring to market some of the most exciting technology products and business offerings of our time.

In 2015, Anna was listed on the BIMA Hot 100 List which celebrates the top performing executives in the UK media industry. In 2017, she was recognised by Campaign Asia as a driver of growth and progress in the annual 40 Under 40 List and in 2018 Anna was shortlisted in the technology chief category at Campaign’s Women Leading Change awards. Anna describes herself as a visionary with the determination to make things happen, a master of simplicity, jargon- hater and buzzword-killer. She is deeply passionate about technology for good - technology that improves people's lives or helps the humankind on its journey to a sustainable and mindful future.

Anthea Harvie

Anthea Harvie trained and qualified in science and law and has had a long career in health managing and assisting with health and aged care programs, in procurement and contract management, and innovating by designing data dashboards.


As a hobby she has developed several small innovations to solve problems encountered in daily life or to assist family members and has developed current innovative ideas related to a Covid19 Safe environment. A simple innovation  would help increase social distancing in group living where laundries are shared, and where computers on desks, and other equipment, is shared by individuals.

Caris McClements

Caris studied at the University of Melbourne having moved from Perth in 2016. The recipient of the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork award in 2015, Caris continued her passion for excellence while residing at Trinity College during her studies and in her final year held a position on the Trinity College Associated Clubs (TCAC) inc. 

Caris has had experience across financial management and consulting, currently working in Infrastructure and Urban Renewal at PwC. Chelsea began her studies at Curtin University in Perth after being awarded the John Curtin Undergraduate Scholarship, a full scholarship awarded on the basis of academic excellence, vision, leadership and community service. 

Chelsea Smoker

Chelsea co-founded her first startup in 2017 where she launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and distributed products to 10 countries before exiting the business to begin a career at PwC in Deals. In 2020 she was seconded to Scale Investors, the only Angel Network in Australia that invests exclusively in female founders.

A shared passion for women in entrepreneurship recognised by a mutual connection at Scale Investors, introduced Caris and Chelsea through the PwC network. Since then, Caris and Chelsea have been actively engaged in developing a platform to address the unconscious bias and inequitable investment structure present in the venture capital industry. 

Karolina Biernacka

After she completed her Master’s degree, Karolina she returned to Deakin University to continue her education and undertake the PhD. Her research is focusing on the development of solid state electrolytes for sodium batteries called Organic Ionic Plastic Crystals (OIPCs).

Jenny Sun

Jenny Sun is an associate research fellow in Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University. Her current research focuses on high energy density and large-scale rechargeable batteries (e.g., sustainable and environmentally friendly materials for Na ion batteries); understanding the reaction mechanism including solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) studies through different techniques.

Faezeh Makhlooghiazad

Dr. Faezeh Makhlooghiazad gained her PhD at the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University. She is currently an associate research fellow at Deakin University within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) on developing solid-state lithium-metal battery technology based on novel solid-state electrolytes. 

Her main research is aimed at developing ionic liquids, plastic crystals and zwitterions for application in high energy density and large-scale rechargeable sodium and lithium batteries. As a team they are passionate about developing sodium batteries for mobility applications and cheap, affordable transportation, such as buses, scooters, electric bikes and auto-rickshaws in South East Asia. They share a genuine interest in and commitment to work within the energy sector and to contribute to the Australian innovation ecosystem - by developing energy storage technologies and commercialising this science through delivering product to market.

Sarah Macleod

Sarah is a marketing and communications professional having worked across several industries including automotive and tech, she also has experience working across several start-ups.


Sarah worked as a graphic designer and has lectured at several institutions, including The Australian College of the Arts. She currently works in Branding and Product development. Her idea is to create a nail salon franchise model that operates with a state-of-the-art digital booking system.

Sarah Thurrowgood

Sarah has experience working in varied roles across banking and finance, in addition to community-based industries and holds a graduate certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Swinburne University. As a busy mother of 3 children, including twins, one of which has additional needs due to a rare chromosome deletion diagnosis, Sarah has become familiar with many medical and allied health professionals in the advocacy of her daughter’s health and development. 


Always looking for ways to improve processes and facilitate positive change, Sarah has identified a solution to the extraneous and time-consuming administrative work that follows a diagnosis and access to support funding. Sarah is currently channelling her professional and personal experiences into the development of an app designed to allow a participant or carer of the National Disability Incentive Scheme (NDIS) the ability to store, manage and share critical data such as test results, reports, goals and invoices with their own team of therapists and medical specialists to vastly enhance communication, collaboration and quality outcomes for each participant.

Isabelle Miller

Isabelle demonstrated an interest in entrepreneurship since before she had finished high school, purchasing her first investment property at the age of 18. After amassing an impressive portfolio of investment properties Isabelle went on to study education before moving to Katherine in the Northern Territory where she taught English to Indigenous students at St Joseph’s College. 


After three years in the Northern Territory Isabelle returned home to Ballarat to be closer to her family. Isabelle went on to teach at Damascus College and revisited her interest in property development, renovating and selling several houses in Ballarat. After meeting her now-husband Tim, Isabelle and Tim spent four months travelling the world before settling down, getting a Boxer named Winston, renovating one final house, and getting married. Isabelle’s most recent entrepreneurial interest has been furniture design and importation, and e-commerce. Isabelle is looking to combine these two interests in order to fill an identified void in the market for bespoke designer furniture.

Renata Daudt

Renata has been a fervent nature lover since her  childhood in Brazil. Today, as a chemical engineer, she believes she has a responsibility as a custodian of our planet to protect the environment and empower others to do the same.


She has a decade of engineering experience in large corporates, where she helped transform systems and processes in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, India, China, Russia and most of European countries. Working with paper, plastic, ink and food manufacturing, she understands how best to process raw materials so they function effectively but impact lightly on the environment.This has lead her to AWEN – an idea which will give small businesses the support they need to make innovative, powerful, informed and sustainable choices that help to avoid recyclable material ending up in landfill. It embodies her hope that small businesses can embrace the circular economy and ensure recyclable materials go back into the loop.

Nastasja Suhadolnik

Nastasja specialises in resolving complex disputes. Before moving to Australia in order to join Corrs Chambers Westgarth in 2019, she practised at leading global law firms in Paris and with the United Nations (UN) Office of Legal Affairs in New York in international law, and domestic and international dispute resolution. 


With more than a decade of experience representing large multi-national corporates, international organisations, and sovereign States, Nastasja is well versed in handling issues arising under commercial transactions and international treaties alike.  But her path to the law was not a straight one – her first studies were as a pianist and ballerina in various European cities.Nastasja is dedicated to maintaining a broad pro bono practice, having advocated for various human rights causes in various jurisdictions around the world, including preparing submissions to the US Supreme Court in a case involving female genital mutilation.  She also writes on a variety of dispute resolution, international law and human rights topics. Outside the law, Nastasja remains passionate about music and dance.

Taylah Jane

Taylah is a recent University graduate, having completed her undergraduate degree in law and criminology She also has a keen interest in tech, including python coding, data science and UX design.

She is incredibly passionate about criminal justice reform and working to undo systemic issues that have historically prevented victims of crime from getting the help they need.Taylah wants to found ‘The Consent Network’. The aim of The Consent Network is to increase community education/awareness around sexual violence. As well as providing tech solutions within the medical and health industries, to ensure patients have access to a wide breadth of adequate support.

Tiffany Gilchrist

Tiffany is a down to earth, cheese loving Dutchie, who moved to Melbourne 7 years ago after meeting her Aussie Mr. Right in Mexico. After finishing her communications degree in 2011 she has grown to be an experienced project manager, working at several digital agencies for a wide variety of clients. 


In her time as a project manager, she has learned about lead generation and donor retention for not-for-profits, been exposed to lots of creativity at an advertising agency and helped multiple organisations to build user friendly websites and apps.

Tiffany enjoys working on something that has an element of giving back or doing good and that lead her to her idea. A flexible volunteering platform to fight loneliness amongst Australians.


Zainab Shahiwala

Zainab, an Indian immigrant, who now calls Australia home is a mother of one and has always wanted to have her own business in the fashion industry. That is why she wants to create a scalable jewellery line for travel lovers. To create unique jewellery pieces inspired from travel souvenirs for one to cherish and preserve.


Souvenirs have always been either keychains or fridge magnets or postcards or digital photos. Why not wear them as beautiful jewellery that reminds you of your lovely holidays everyday, something one can proudly flaunt as well as be a conversation starter to share your travel stories. She looks forward to the explore program and to getting advice from industry experts and  gaining clarity on her  venture to make it a great success.

Zara Hopcroft

Zara is a communications professional working in the telecommunications industry, helping transform a complex environment into something that people can understand.

Zara previously worked at a social media marketing agency after graduating from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Media, specialising in Public Relations. 


Zara is passionate about women's health and her goal is to help them conquer a prevalent health issue affecting 1 in 10 women, after experiencing it herself.


Learn more about the SBE Explore Program here.