Pathway to Partnership

Pathway to Partnership

The Speakeasy Group Pathway to Partnership program is an initiative whereby Speakeasy Staff and the greater hospitality community who have the dream to own and operate their own venue are invited to participate in a nine-month intensive course on how to open and manage their own venues and businesses.

Throughout the process, participants learn directly from both Group owners and key managers about the various stages that go into opening a new venue, as well as the many different aspects and responsibilities of being a business owner.

The program concludes with the submission of their own business plan and proposal for a new venture with one concept being chosen for realisation. The chosen concepts ownership is split 50/50 between the successful applicants and The Speakeasy Group. The Speakeasy Group contributes 90% of the start-up costs up to $250,000 with the selected business owners having to finance the remaining 10%.

The next P2P intake is scheduled for early 2023 for a new group of hungry and motivated hospitality professionals, offering these young entrepreneurs the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of opening their own venue. If you or someone you know is perfect for the program, please be sure to register an expression of interest below for the next intake and we’ll be in touch as soon as applications open.

Applications are open to non-Speakeasy Group staff, however, does stipulate that successful applicant join the group as a team member for the duration of the program, culminating in performing a management or shadow management role prior to the conclusion of the program.

Greg Sanderson
Greg Sanderson

Co-founder & Managing Director

Greg has over 19 years’ experience within the bar industry and began his career obtaining a Bachelor of International Business with a Major in Hospitality & Tourism Management.

Greg has since then worked in some of the most notable drinking establishments across the globe gaining a reputation for one of Australia’s most passionate and knowledgeable hospitality professionals.

Greg was awarded Australian Bartender of the year in 2012 in addition to coming on as a co-owner of the Speakeasy Group and overseeing the group’s expansion as Operations Manager. Under Greg’s management the Speakeasy Group received the award for Bar Group Operator of the year at the 2018 ALIA Awards.

In 2021, Greg joined the Melbourne chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), a global network exclusively for influential entrepreneurs and start-up founders.

Sven Almenning

Founder & CEO

Sven is considered one the most influential people in the Australian Bar industry and has been recognised as such by being the only person to appear on every Bartender Magazine’s Top Ten Most Influential list for the past ten years. 

Sven founded The Speakeasy Group when opening award winning Eau-de-Vie Sydney in 2010. Prior to this Sven founded and managed Australia’s largest industry consultancy firm; Behind Bars which he ran for nine years before committing full time to The Speakeasy Group. Sven is also the recipients of the Outstanding Contribution Award, arguably the industry’s highest accolades as well as being inducted as a Keeper of The Quaich. 

Sven founded the ground-breaking hospitality dedicated training platform ANANAS in 2018. In 2020, Sven joined YPO (Young President Organization), a global leadership community of ‘extraordinary’ chief executives.

Sven Almenning

P2P Success Story

Alex Boon and Pez Collier

In the 2019 intake, eight participants from a talented pool of hospitality professionals were selected to take part in the year-long mentorship program before submitting their final proposals for review by Speakeasy Directors Greg Sanderson and Sven Almenning.

The successful proposal enables the participants to open their very own venue with the support, mentoring and financial backing of The Speakeasy Group alongside Almenning and Sanderson.

“The program itself was a joy to run and it was incredible to see both the passion that our teams have for hospitality as well as their determination to really give this opportunity a go,” said Sanderson of the 2019 program.

“We received a number of great proposals at the conclusion of the program,” says Almenning. “We’d love to see if we can bring more than one of these to life in the coming year. This isn’t a winner takes all scenario, but an investment into our team and the longevity of our business. If the conditions are right, we may see more than one of these concepts brought to life in the coming 12-18 months.”

The 2019/2020 winning concept Pearl Diver and is the brainchild of Speakeasy Group legends Alex Boon and Pez Collier.

“For both myself and Pez, the Pathway to Partnership program was such an amazing opportunity to gain valuable insight into what it takes to open and successfully run our own venue from some of the best operators in the industry,” says Boon.

“We acted like sponges, soaking in as much information as possible and adapting our concept as the program went along. To say we are stoked that we now have the opportunity to bring our concept to life is an understatement and I speak on behalf of everyone involved when I say we plan on delivering something incredibly special to the Melbourne hospitality scene.”

Collier said the program had offered the pair “a once in a lifetime opportunity, for which we are both incredibly thankful.”

“Around the hospitality industry we see so many creative, passionate and driven professionals on the cusp of taking that next step into venue ownership. For many this step is hard due to challenges in terms of guidance and capital.”

“The P2P program gave us incredible insight into what it takes to not only open a venue but to develop a cohesive brand identity. Guided by Sven, Greg and the Speakeasy family through integral venue elements such as concept development, lease agreements, HR, branding and forecasted financials we were offered the opportunity to learn and develop the skills and systems to help us navigate the transition from staff to owner. What drew us to the program was the truly collaborative approach which is evident in the 50/50 ownership split and shows the belief and passion Sven and Greg have in helping us realise our dream and bring this venue to life.”

For more insight and insider knowledge on the opening of Pearl Diver, follow Boon and Collier’s journey from concept to construction and opening at

Pearl Diver Pathway to Partnership