18 February 2022
Launch of the Frankston Social Enterprise Hub
Dr Amber Earles, Project Coordinator
Frankston Social Enterprise Hub began as an idea of the Responding to Alcohol and other Drugs in the Frankston Mornington Peninsula region initiative (or RAD-FMP).
The people involved were all-too-aware that the Frankston Local Government Area has high rates of young people not in education and employment and that this population is at risk of poor health and social outcomes.
And therefore that there was a need to drive economic opportunities and jobs, particularly for people experiencing disadvantage.
The people involved saw social enterprise as one way to achieve this.
What is social enterprise?
Before I go any further, it might be worth me explaining what a social enterprise is.
In Australia, a social enterprise is an enterprise that incorporates both aspects of a not-for-profit organisation (in that it wants to achieve a particular social/environmental/cultural goal) and a for-profit organisation (in that it sells goods/services in order to achieve its mission).
There are three main types of social enterprise in Australia.
There are social enterprises that exist to provide employment, training and support for people marginalised from the mainstream labour force. One of these, For Change Co. is providing the catering for us today. For Change Co. creates pathways out of youth homelessness for young people by assisting them to transition to work or education while also allowing them to enter the rental market.
There are social enterprises that exist to provide a product or service to a community experiencing a lack of access due to market failure. The Bendigo Bank Community Bank company in Rye, where I live, is an example of this. It opened its first branch when all four of the other banks closed theirs in the late 1990s.
And there are yet other social enterprises that exist to generate funds for social programs or projects like Revamped Jewellery who have a display at the entrance to this room and donate all money raised from their jewellery sales to charities that support local women and families AND Big Little Brush who sell eco-friendly toothbrushes and use the profits to fund health and hygiene programs in remote Indigenous communities around Australia.
From extraordinary impact individually
Research shows social enterprise can impact positively on different dimensions of individual health by:
- engendering a feeling of ownership and control
- improving physical and social environments and
- providing or facilitating meaningful employment.
Social enterprise can also impact positively on community health by providing needed goods and services or contributing to improved local employment and welfare services systems.
With a strong understanding of the need to improve outcomes for both individuals and the community and having identified social enterprise as one way by which to achieve this, RAD-FMP approached the Frankston Foundry, which until recently was a co-working space, business hub and startup community based in Frankston.
From there, the two parties approached Chisholm Institute who were keen to be involved because they could see the benefit of social enterprise to the young people that they serve. The three partners then pitched their idea to the Frankston Revitalisation Board which Paul chairs and were eventually awarded funding by the State Government to trial Frankston Social Enterprise Hub, where you are today.
To system-level collective impact
In the final months of 2021, Frankston Social Enterprise Hub spent a great deal of time getting to know the social enterprises in the region through surveys and one-on-one meetings. This provided great insight into the different types of social enterprise that already exist in the area and the needs they have in common.
From the surveys and meetings, we have designed a number of activities for our pilot phase including:
- Mastermind events where we bring representatives of social enterprises together to network and discuss topics of interest such as revenue generation which was held a couple of weeks ago and business model development which will be held next week.
- The Future XP program where we offer social enterprises and young people in the region the opportunity to participate in a program designed to provide benefit both to young people who gain real-life work experience and social enterprises which gain concrete outcomes. This will commence next Friday.
- Free co-working where we offer social enterprises and organisations offering services to social enterprises the opportunity to come together one day per week to collaborate and network while ‘getting stuff done’.
- A Buy Social campaign where we encourage members of the broader public to engage with and purchase from local social enterprises.
- And finally, we are undertaking three research projects, each with a different institution, looking at the potential for the growth or development of social enterprises that provide training or employment for disadvantaged cohorts.
You can see that from the idea of passionate partners wanting to drive change in this community 18 months ago to where we are today, and in the face of a pandemic, that we have already made a really great start.
I want to thank you all for coming out today to support Frankston Social Enterprise Hub and would encourage you to continue to support us as we work towards becoming a permanent fixture on the Frankston landscape.