Shaun Christie-David

Founder and CEO, Plate It Forward

National Finalist in EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2024 Australia

Related articles Entrepreneurship

Shaun is the founder and CEO of Plate It Forward, a charity whose mission is to foster economic and social inclusion for marginalised communities.

Plate It Forward’s particular way of doing this is to offer comprehensive training, employment opportunities and career development programs in the hospitality sector.

Plate It Forward’s business model is comprised of a unique combination of premium hospitality venues and offerings and sustainable charitable initiatives. This includes six social enterprise restaurants, a catering and events business, a meal donation initiative and training and career development programmes. Its revenue is derived from trading income from its for-purpose business units. This is reinvested back towards its organisational purpose of driving social change.

Their meal donation initiative, The Social Meal, delivers up to 2,000 restaurant-quality meals each week to community members who are facing food insecurity. The program also repurposes over 800 kg of perfectly edible food each week that would otherwise be discarded.

Since launching Plate It Forward in 2020, Shaun has hired 150 staff members with widely diverse backgrounds. In this time, the organisation has paid over $2 million in wages, as well as providing over 75,000 hours of training. Plate It Forward has reduced its reliance on grants and donations, with only 30% of revenue derived from donations last financial year. Its goal is to become 100% self-funded through purpose-aligned businesses in three or fewer years.

Shaun, whose parents are from Sri Lanka, grew up in Australia and was constantly reminded of his fortunate circumstances. His parents instilled in him the importance of treating everyone equally, particularly those who are marginalised by society.

For his efforts, Shaun has been recognised with an Australian Human Rights award. He believes that food can be a powerful catalyst for change, bringing diverse individuals together.