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Central Highlands Social Enterprise Alliance ready to launch

Published:03 November 2021

An impact report highlighting events, people and activities in the Central Highlands Social Enterprise Project

CQUniversity led the project to develop the Central Highlands Social Enterprise Alliance.

CQUniversity is set to help launch the new Central Highlands Social Enterprise Alliance (CH SEA), after six months of work to inspire and promote social entrepreneurship across the region.

The launch event on Wednesday 17 November 2021 will be at the Central Highlands Community Services (CHCS) office at CQUniversity Emerald campus, with participants welcome to attend in person or on Zoom.

Register here to attend the Central Highlands Social Enterprise Alliance launch event

The alliance has been developed following a series of workshops across 2020/2021, as part of the Central Highlands Social Enterprise Project, led by CQUniversity and CHCS and funded by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, through its program Tackling Tough Times Together.

CHCS CEO Blake Repine explained that the vision for CH SEA is "for inclusive local leadership and systems that support social enterprise opportunities in the Central Highlands," to develop connected, entrepreneurial, inclusive and locally-focused initiatives.

"The launch event will introduce the CH SEA's vision, values and purpose as well as promote the alliance for new members," Mr Repine said.

Since late 2020, local social enterprises have been working with CQUniversity and CHCS to map contributors in the region’s social enterprise ecosystem. Additionally, the project identified the need for ongoing support to continue to develop and advocate for social enterprises in the region, leading to the formation of CH SEA.

CQUniversity Program Manager Social Innovation Steve Williams said the process provided a boost for local social innovators.

“Thanks to funding from FRRR, this was the first time that local people had the opportunity to see and understand the ecosystem of support for social innovation and enterprise in the region,” he said.

“Developed by and with Central Highlands community, the project developed a clear picture of what support is available across the region for social innovation and social enterprise, and new ways to understand connection points between organisations.”

The launch event will introduce the CH SEA's vision, values and purpose as well as promote the alliance for new members.

Mr Repine said the opportunity to develop the CH SEA was "incredibly beneficial" for the region.

"The process to define and map all those connection points across Central Highlands highlights some really strong associations, and is already helping bring those key stakeholders together to  grow social enterprise," he said.

"We're seeing new opportunities and enterprise that I don't think would have happened without this project, and its also providing a launch pad to for our local entrepreneurs to work with other social enterprises at state and national level."

The free launch event is open to anyone interested in social innovation, and wanting to build and support the local social enterprise sector.

Project supporter and peak body the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) estimates that a successful Australian social enterprise generates on average 15 jobs in its community, and new start-ups in regional communities can deliver huge social benefits.

CQUniversity is committed to growing social innovation and enterprise across its national footprint, as part of its role as Australia's only Changemaker University, accredited by global social innovation network Ashoka U.