Our Story

To alleviate poverty by using business expertise to drive inclusive economic growth and well-being.
Strengthen business and institutions to enable a strong and vibrant private sector.
ABV’s core value is altruism which is underpinned by the following principles:

    We build capacity by transferring skills and knowledge
    We work with integrity, delivering what we promise and demonstrating impact
    We are collaborative and respectful in our approach, drawing on the cross-section of local community, business and government to develop targeted and sustainable solutions

ABV origins
ABV began in 1981 when the Australian Government sought to use the business skills and experience of newly retired Australian executives. Inspired by the success of a model created in the United States, a similar scheme soon developed here. Small and medium sized businesses in our closest developing countries became our partners and retired Australian executives agreed to visit these countries and provide practical business advice and guidance.

This cost effective form of skills transfer was initially known as the Australian Executive Service Overseas Program (AESOP). AESOP continued to grow in size and reputation. To reflect our focus on assisting the private sector, AESOP was changed to Australian Business Volunteers in 2003. The underpinning principle for all our work is that locally developed business provides an effective model for sustained community development, alleviating poverty by contributing to economic growth, job creation, and people’s livelihoods and incomes.

ABV today
As has been the case for more than 30 years ABV’s projects are implemented by volunteers drawn from its registry of senior business professionals and small business owners.
ABV works to strengthen the private sector in variety of different ways, from small business mentoring to economic institutional strengthening programs.
ABV also implements corporate volunteering programs designed to benefit communities, corporations, and their employees.

Our volunteers
Our volunteers are drawn from a database of qualified business experts who are typically newly retired or with a minimum of 10 years’ experience. Alternatively, they are corporate sponsored volunteers. Both streams of volunteers bring extensive experience to each project along with an independent and altruistic approach that guarantees effective and authentic skills transfer and mentoring.
Our volunteers are committed to the work of ABV and most have undertaken repeat assignments. This ensures they are well trained in the ABV model of short term assignments and have the ability to live and work in culturally diverse communities where we work.

Our partnership model
ABV’s focus continues to be capacity building through the transfer of business skills. Our projects are developed directly with our partners with a clear outcome in mind. Where possible, we work with our partners over a number of years designing programs that have a combination of multiple and follow up short-term assignments to enhance our impact over a sustained period of time.