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Top Stories: Australian Social Entrepreneurs of 2019

Just like we did last year, here’s our attempt to wrap up 2018 with some of the year’s most worthy headlines on Australian social entrepreneurs. Skim them again or read for the first time for some social change inspiration. A big thank you to all those brave individuals who are committed to working on innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. We can’t wait to see what happens in 2020.

Obviously we couldn’t read everything and there will no doubt be stories that we missed. If you read about an Australian social entrepreneur kicking butt in 2018, please add your suggestions (along with the URL to the original article) in the comments section.

The Social Enterprise Tackling Loneliness and Connecting Communities

Nick Maisey is the CEO of Befriend, a Perth social enterprise fostering community connection and helping everyday Australians feel included.

The Lives and Lies of Social Entrepreneurs

Misconceptions fly thick and fast when you’re a social entrepreneur. The biggest is that you’re not interested in making money.

“A Real Crisis”: Meet the Entrepreneur Raising a Glass to the Great Barrier Reef

Social entrepreneur James Grugeon founded The Good Beer Co. with two priorities. First, as the name suggests, good beer. Second, exploring how Australia’s booming craft beer market could help social and environmental campaigns reach beyond the choir.

“I Was in the Gutter, but Never Again”: The Promise That Created a Champion

Amelia Gow is living proof that no matter how hard a person falls; recovery is always an option. The entrepreneur behind thriving social enterprises 6729 Bakery and Active Opportunities spends her days helping others find their purpose in life.

Recipients of the Social Enterprise World Forum Bursaries

A partnership between the English Family Foundation, Philanthropy Australia and Social Traders resulted in the development of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 bursary fund, with the strong objective of providing a rich learning and sector development opportunity for Australian social enterprise leaders. Having successfully raised bursary funds from 10 funding contributors, the partners group are pleased to announce 18 bursary recipients from across five States/Territories, who will attend alongside other key sector leaders in the Australian delegation. Contributors to the Fund included the Victorian and Queensland State Governments, Social Change Central, and other key philanthropic supporters.

SA Surgeon Wins Social Entrepreneur of the Year

A South Australian eye specialist who co-founded a Not for Profit aimed at eliminating blindness in Australia and internationally has been named the Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

Tackling Mental Health: Mitch Wallis Says It’s Time To Shift From Supporter To Experiencer

The founder of mental health movement Heart On My Sleeve wants to give a voice to young millennials.

How a Melbourne Mum Inspired Change Among Coffee Lovers

Since the social enterprise was officially opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in January 2017 Vanguard Laundry Services has achieved rapid growth and gone on to have a significant social impact.

‘Say It out Loud, Ask for Help, Don’t Apologise, Be Bold’: Advice from Project Rockit Founders, Rosie and Lucy Thomas

Rosie tells Women’s Agenda about the early days of PROJECT ROCKIT, how she deals with imposter syndrome everyday and shares some excellent advice for other women looking to find a start in business.

Streetwear Label Homie Want to Shift Perceptions of What It Means to Be Homeless

At first they just wanted to show a community of people someone cared. Now, Melbourne’s coolest streetwear brand is on a mission to end homelessness – and it wants the whole retail industry to follow suit.

This Man Has Been Honoured for Helping Refugees and Migrants Launch Their Own Start-ups

Inspired by his own personal experience as a migrant, Usman Iftikhar wants to help others create their own employment. Now his work is being recognised as he attends the Obama Foundation Leadership program.

The 30 Most Memorable Quotes from the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019

Over 1,300 social entrepreneurs, practitioners, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, and academics from over 70 countries, descended on Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 (23-25 September). With three days of content, 230+ speakers, five tracks and 50+ sessions and workshops, the frenetic and mesmerising affair of information, insights and debate really packed a punch. Here are 30 of the most memorable quotes from the incredible people behind Pioneers Post, White Box Enterprises, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), ?kina Foundation, IKEA Foundation and more!

Raise the Roof: How Three Aussies Are Helping Kenyan Kids Learn

Chapman, 19, and his 20-year-old best mates Hickson and Poynting have started a social enterprise called Nice Coffee Co, selling Kenyan beans and coffee machines to businesses in Australia and channelling the profits intoSt John Community School in Kibera, Kenya.

Show Your Mettle: A New Perth-based Social Enterprise Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence

When a gift is given, it’s usually only for the receiver. But what if the gift could benefit everyone involved in the process of making it? Bronwyn Bate, the founder of Mettle, has found a way.

Waverley Mills Produces Recycled Blankets for Social Enterprise

Waverley Mills’ wool offcut blankets will be used to keep women escaping domestic violence warm this winter under a unique collaboration with Sarah Wilson and social enterprise Two Good.

A Pot of Courage Opens New Cafe Celebrating Food of Culturally Diverse Women

When Dung Nguyen first arrived in Australia from Vietnam in 2014 she had poor English skills, no friends, no support, no job, and felt lonely and isolated living in the small western Victorian town of Nihll. Moving to Ballarat and joining women’s immigrant and refugee group A Pot Of Courage three years ago transformed her life.

Beans for Good: Youth Start-up Aims to Change the World Through Coffee

The team behind coffee start-up Bugisu Project are so passionate about their beans that they moved in together. All profits go to Ugandan charity Love Mercy’s Cents for Seeds micro-loan program. Bugisu Project coffee sells for $40 per kilogram; a minimum of $5 — plus all profits — circles back to Uganda, with at least one woman entering the program for every six kilograms sold.

The Sydney Tradie Who Is Making a Point of Hiring Refugees

Hedayat Osyan came to Australia from Afghanistan and has since changed the lives of several others like him.

Meet the Cafe That Donates 100 per Cent of Its Profits to Charity

Sydney’s new Portal isn’t just any cafe – it’s a profit-for good eatery extending a hand to refugees and others in need.

A Community-owned Food Hub and Its Brave New Path to Sustainable Food Systems

More than 500 investors, the majority women, chipped in $2 million in a crowd-funding campaign to turn a “grey old shed” in Brisbane into a sustainable food operation.

Mulga Collaborates with Juice for Good to Celebrate Saving One Million Oranges from Waste

Juice For Good is an Australian social enterprise start-up that has launched the nation’s first fresh juice vending machine.

Humanitix Makes a Virtue out of Booking Fees

Two young Sydneysiders have created a service that could change the way you feel about booking fees. Humanitix is an online ticketing platform backed by tech giants Google and Atlassian – and also a not-for-profit organisation funding education projects in Australia and abroad.

Employment-focused Social Enterprise Proves Itself… with Little Support

Providing jobs with extra career support can improve the health, wellbeing and finance of people living with mental illness and help the nation’s social services, new research has found.

Adelaide Women Launch Business TABOO Helping Fight Period Poverty in Africa and Locally

Two young South Australian entrepreneurs have launched their own social enterprise selling sanitary products whose profits will go to disadvantaged women fighting period poverty around the world.

Drug Addicts Getting Clean in Kitchen of WA’s Fresh Start Recovery Program

Fresh Start social enterprise coordinator Tina Gunter said working in one of the program’s social enterprises not only helped prepare ex-addicts for the workforce, but it enabled them to experience the benefits of thinking of more than themselves. Money earned from the catering work helps fund the recovery program.



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Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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