CWW Nip WijewickremaPhoto by: Tracy Lee PhotographyNipuni (Nip) Wijewickrema describes herself as a social entrepreneur, who was inspired to build a
floristry business - “GG’s Flowers”, to provide safe, stable and ongoing employment for her teenage
sister, Gayana, who has Down’s Syndrome.

GG’s Flowers is a family affair, with Gayana's mother Geetha, who is a fully trained and accredited florist creating the arrangements. Nip takes care of sales (including corporate clients), social media, admin, marketing, and promotion. Nip and Gayana’s other sisters, Veena and Rangana help out on big days
like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s day. On these high volume days even their Dad has been called in to help out! Of course the beautiful floral arrangements that GG’s have become famous for are hand delivered by the sweet Gayana, with her signature hug.

Nip was the very first person on the Canberra Wise Women (CWW) stage at our Launch event in December 2015. In addition to working at GG’s Flowers, Nip writes for HerCanberra, is a crisis counsellor for Lifeline Canberra, is on the boards of Lifeline Canberra and the Brand Canberra Strategic Board, and spends much of her time keynote speaking and presenting on the topic of inclusion and diability.

In 2016, this warm, tenacious, intelligent and compassionate young woman had her extraordinary work honoured when she was named ACT Young Australian of the Year.

Many thanks to Nip for answering a few of our questions about her life as a speaker, activist and entrepreneur.

CWW Nip on stagePhoto by: Tracy Lee Photography

CWW: What’s happened since you were on the CWW stage?

“I’m proud to say I’ve gone on to be named ACT Young Australian of the Year for 2016. I’ve increased my speaking profile, continued the incredible work of GG’s Flowers and employed 7 people with special needs, on a casual basis.”

CWW: What advice do you have for people up and coming in your industry?

“Be ever so kind to yourself. Being any kind of entrepreneur is really hard. I left my paid job in pursuit of a fairer future for my sister and am obviously not driven by money or ego. I am driven by the little girl who sits next to me at breakfast. I’m driven by the desire for her to have a life where she’s self-sufficient, not welfare dependant, and is loved by the community. I’m very proud to help pave that future for her. I’ve learned that being kinder to myself and taking time to ‘smell the roses’ can do wonders for your drive and cause.”

CWW: How do you keep yourself organised and on track?

“A paper diary!! I probably sound like I’m 101 but I just can’t handle google calendars and online diaries. My trusty paper diary never fails me and although it’s looking very old in December, I love it as I’d love a person.”

CWW: What keeps you inspired?

“Young social entrepreneurs keep me inspired. They blow my mind with their purpose, meaning and passion and it gives me so much hope for the future of Australia. There’s an incredible world out there with so many problems and I’m so proud to be in the cohort of people that give a damn and are trying their best to solve problems in dynamic and innovative ways.”


Kristen Holzapfel for Canberra Wise Women
Kristen Holzapfel is a 39 year old Canberran who left her social work career in 2014 to begin her own pet-sitting business - Canberra's Friendly Petsitter. In February 2016, she released her first book, "Selfless: a social worker's own experience of trauma and recovery." Kristen was a Canberra Wise Woman in April 2016 and is now one of our feature writers.