The Difference Incubator

The Difference Incubator

Enterprise name

The Difference Incubator

What’s the trading activity?

The Difference Incubator (TDi) is a boutique, senior-led team of practitioners bringing together decades of success in strategic consultancy, organisational and operational leadership, non-executive governance, impact accelerator design and delivery and social entrepreneurship. We are driven by a deep belief in the power of business to achieve change and believe that building more sustainable and equitable businesses not only solves big societal issues, but also improves business performance.

We are here to help businesses and their leaders to make that happen. We work with enterprises and not-for-profits to design business models that address today’s biggest social and environmental challenges, whilst delivering competitive financial returns. We are committed to building social enterprise capability and since 2010, we have been supporting the development of social enterprises in Australia and across the Pacific, building sustainable models and reducing donor dependence.

What we do:
– Sustainable business modelling
– Strategic planning
– Business capability building
– Social impact measurement and evaluation
– Social innovation partner

What is your hope for the future?

We dream of an economy that is worthy of the human spirit. an economy that is inclusive, embraces diversity, shares prosperity and is sustainable. We see social enterprise as being central and essential to the establishment and long term success of this new economy.

How are you going with the work?

We exist to empower, amplify and help sustain the amazing efforts of entrepreneurs, founders, businesses (staff and executives) and directors. Our work takes us across Australia and the Pacific (and sometimes beyond) working with a variety of peoples and communities. Our aspirations are large and our work may never be complete, but we are delighted by the proliferation of social enterprise we have seen over the last decade.

www.tdi.org.au

Merri Cafe

Merri Cafe

Enterprise name   The Merri Cafe

What’s the trading activity    The Merri Cafe is located at CERES Community Environment Park in Brunswick East. We offer breakfast and lunch, coffee and house-made kombucha, as well as biodynamic wines and and organic beer. We use produce grown on site in our menu, and source from local producers and suppliers.

What’s the social or environmental cause your enterprise addresses?

Sustainable food choices are very important to us and they link to what features on the menu at The Merri Cafe. Being aware of food sources, food miles, ethical food production and how this all links back to climate change drives the choices we make. We strive to engage locally produced ingredients in our dishes, and consider the way these products have been grown and raised. Last year we went 100% organic which is a wonderful step for us! All profits from the cafe go back into supporting CERES activities and programs.

What is the biggest challenge?

Sometimes the choices of supplier can be complicated and we are continually reviewing our offerings to make sure they are best practice. We try to provide options for all food intolerances, and have reduced the number of meat dishes on the menu. It is sometimes difficult to balance affordability with good quality, organic ingredients, however sourcing more of our produce from the site is a future goal. 


For more information, click here

CERES Nursery

CERES Nursery

Enterprise name    CERES Nursery

What’s the trading activity   

We sell native, indoor and food plants, as well as books, garden tools and some locally, artisanally made goods such as ceramic pots and bird baths. Whether it’s a food forest or simply a window box for herbs, we supply a vast array of plants to grow and enjoy in the garden, as well as providing the knowledge and support to do so. Our customers range from novice gardeners, to experienced food growers who wish to utilise and maximise the space they have available.

What’s the social or environmental cause your enterprise addresses?

The CERES Nursery aims to encourage backyard food production. Planting a beautiful, healthy and productive garden filled with food is one of the most creative and peaceful ways to sustain individual and planetary health. The Nursery is also a place to relax, and take positive action towards creating a better world. All profits from our sales go back into supporting the programs and operations of CERES Community Environment Park.

What is the biggest challenge?

Many for-profit Nurseries can offer competitive prices and can claim to offer advice for food gardening. Our main aim is to empower our customers and provide them with access to the skills they need. We are constantly looking for new ways to reach a broader audience, maintain our legendary customer service, and make sure we are providing the right product for our community.

 

For more information, click here

The Community Grocer

The Community Grocer

Enterprise name  The Community Grocer

What’s the trading activity?

  The Community Grocer (TCG) believes a vibrant market place is a powerful setting for social and environmental change. We run weekly affordable fresh food markets to support healthy connected communities. We address the physical, economic, and social barriers to fresh food access by holding markets in convenient locations in low-income areas; stocking culturally appropriate produce; and creating a weekly gathering space that promotes community connections and celebrates diversity.

  What’s the social or environmental cause your enterprise addresses?

With the rising costs of living, many households are struggling to put fresh food on the table. 41% of Victorians now experience food insecurity. Moving beyond traditional welfare models of food relief, we offer customers choice and dignity to purchase quality produce at prices 60% cheaper than any other local food outlet, including the major supermarkets. We run five weekly markets in Carlton, Fitzroy, Fawkner, Heidelberg West and Pakenham, serving over 500 households each week.

 What’s the biggest challenge?

We don’t have key infrastructure, like a cool room and vehicle, that would enable us to have control of our own purchasing and distribution (rather than relying on a wholesaler). This would increase our financial viability, create opportunity for growth and enable us to have positive environmental impacts by purchasing our produce from local sustainable farms and urban farming enterprise. We have the growing partnerships in place, but we need some cash to get set up!

For more information, click here

Collingwood Toy Library

Collingwood Toy Library

Enterprise name  Collingwood Toy Library

What’s the cause  The Collingwood Toy Library is a not-for-profit community managed organisation that provides a toy lending service to families with young children. We have 27 years’ experience promoting the educational value of play for young children and encouraging positive adult/child interactions through the provision of quality toys, games and equipment. By enabling families to borrow rather than buy, we assist families’ sustainability both financially as well as environmentally.

What’s the trading activity  The Collingwood Toy Library has an extensive range of toys for loan to member families. The stock includes quality toys, games, puzzles, musical instruments, costumes and other play equipment, which is selected to stimulate the development of children, including those with special needs. We currently have over 900 children who use the library.

How are you going with the work?  Over the past 3 years the toy library has grown from 300 member families to over 630 member families, that’s the biggest we have ever been in our 27 year history. We are one of the largest Toy Libraries in Australia and are continuing to grow. We have expanded our collection to include board games and puzzles for families with older kids as well as adults playing without children and we now have a huge selection of 1000 table top games for families of all ages.

Biggest challenge  Our biggest challenge is lack of physical space to store and display over 4300 toys while still providing a space that is welcoming and serves as an informal meeting space for local parents.

Hope for the future   We hope to continue to expand to be able to offer the great range of toys and friendly advice that our members rely on.

collingwoodtoylibrary.net.au