Stepping Stones to Small Business

Stepping Stones Mentors Step Up

BRMC welcomes the new band of lively Stepping Stones Volunteer Mentors from across the community who have recently completed their Brotherhood of St. Laurence / Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council mentorship training and induction.

With diverse backgrounds and small business experience, these new volunteers share a commitment to advising and guiding Stepping Stones graduates as they develop their business ideas from concept to reality.

Our Stepping Stones Volunteer Mentors are:

Kathleen Burgum: With international experience in finance and accountancy, Kathy has successfully managed a professional and personal transition into being a published author, yoga instructor, and motivational speaker on entrepreneurial leadership.

Nicola Cerini: Over almost two decades, Nicola has built and sustained an innovative brand and successful business creating award-winning nature-inspired designs for products, interiors, and public spaces.

Julie Collins: A recognised artist, educator, curator and business manager, Julie is known as an advocate and pioneer in developing and delivering ground-breaking multidisciplinary initiatives.

Bianca Flowers: Committed to helping guide clients to realising their goals, Bianca employs diverse experiences from a small business career spanning naturopathy, horticultural design, hand-weaving, and personal counselling.

Ruth Graham: Educator, project director and administrator, agent and entrepreneur, Ruth maintains a balanced perspective of both creative and commercial imperatives in her diverse small business practice.

Anne Holloway: A community development professional, adventure traveller and long-time photographer, Anne brings strong skills in project administration oversight, resilience, and attention to detail to her new role as a Stepping Stones Mentor.

Paul Miller: A professional entrepreneurship facilitator with a background supporting emerging small businesses through the NEIS Program, Paul is uniquely positioned to contribute deep industry and community networks toward sustaining the micro-enterprise ambitions of CALD women.

Jane O’Beirne: Recently retired from her Warrnambool-based travel business and an active organiser with local Rural Australians for Refugees, Jane combines business skills with a special appreciation of issues faced by migrant women entrepreneurs in regional Victoria.

Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling: Independent artist, educator, designer, community advocate and marathon runner, Pauline has a singular understanding of the required skills and resilience for developing and maintaining a successful brand and business.

Adrian Sortino: An enthusiastic community advocate, media technician and entrepreneur, Adrian offers strong communication and marketing experience, alongside his background in small business in support of developing local micro-enterprise.

For more information contact Deborah Klein, Stepping Stones Ballarat Regional Coordinator: or 0457 934 728.

Good Governance Program

We have been updating our community partner organisations with details related to upcoming job opportunities and free food supply information to disseminate among their networks and support individuals most adversely affected during these challenging times.

Contact Sara at for details.

Migration and Settlement Services

Migration and Settlement Services are available to clients over the phone and online. Please contact BRMC if you are seeking support with employment, education, housing, information about health or other community links and supports. Settlement Services provide support and community links to assist people in their first five years as refugees or vulnerable migrants. We are also providing emergency relief, fresh food and support to vulnerable households so don’t hesitate to get in contact on 03 5383 0613.

Diversity Homework Club

Diversity Homework Club is now available online!

We have adapted our Homework Club to suit the current social distancing norms. With experienced tutors helping Primary and Secondary level students navigate their literacy and numeracy skills in a fun learning environment, the club is growing in popularity and numbers.

Zoom sessions take place every Wednesday and Thursday at 4pm – 4.45pm.

Join the fun – contact Sara at for details, training and membership.

Migrant English Program

More than 40 clients and about the same number of tutors have been successfully participating in English learning and teaching. The volunteer tutors deftly deliver the service online to suit a vast range of our clients’ individual linguistic needs. Some are learning English for social interaction, others to supplement their academic study or job prospects and some to prepare for their IELTS, TOEFL, OET and PTE – qualifying English tests for work or tertiary study.

If you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity, contact Sara at for details, free orientation training and quarterly Community of Practice sessions.

Senior Services

The BRMC Senior Services Team have been enjoying delivering weekly meals to our seniors. Our delivery on Wednesday 6th May delighted seniors with a gardening activity pack and special Mother’s Day chocolate surprise.

The Department of Health has introduced a new free dedicated support line for seniors who are affected by the impact of COVID-19: Contact 1800 171 866, Monday to Friday between 8.30am – 6pm.

Remember, BRMC Senior Services are only a phone call away. Call us if you are need of assistance or you would just like to chat – 03 5383 0613 or 0417 109 052.