Today I announce that applications are now open for a new Australia-ASEAN Council program to create substantial links between social entrepreneurs across ASEAN and Australia.

First announced by Prime Minister Turnbull during the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit in Laos in September, the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders' Program (A2ELP) will bring together young professionals from South-East Asia and Australia who are tackling intractable issues such as poverty, disability and environmental degradation in bold, creative ways.

A2ELP will build lasting links between social entrepreneurs in Australia and South-East Asia, including by connecting Australian experts with incubator programs in Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar. Participants will be ambassadors for social entrepreneurship and contribute to regional policy dialogues and industry roundtables.

Participants will attend workshops in Sydney and Melbourne next year to explore the role of business in driving social change; enhance their understanding of the risks and possibilities of social ventures; and develop frameworks for measuring the return of social ventures. They will engage with social venture leaders drawing on cutting edge knowledge and best practice from the sector.

A2ELP will be implemented by the Melbourne Accelerator Program at Carlton Connect, and continued online and face-to-face mentoring will ensure that the links forged through this program endure.

This program supports the key objectives of the Australia-ASEAN Council in forging new partnerships with business and other organisations to further enhance Australia's relationship with the countries of South-East Asia.

For further information, visit: http://asialink.unimelb.edu.au/asialink-dialogues-and-applied-research/programs/Emerging-Leaders-Program.

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