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Fresh chance for changemakers to grow business for good in North Queensland

Published:23 June 2022

CQU Social Innovation Program Manager Steve Williams (centre back) with graduates from the iActivate SPNQ initiative.

North Queenslanders passionate about social change are being challenged to join a growing cohort of business for good in the region, with CQUniversity's social enterprise training initiative iActivate.

The popular program, offered online and with face-to-face support thanks to Smart Precinct NQ (SPNQ), is recruiting for its third cohort in the region - with applications open now and closing  Wednesday 29 June.

Since 2021, 15 local entrepreneurs have already graduated from the Townsville initiative, developing and consolidating designs for their big-impact businesses.

iActivate is CQUniversity’s innovative short course for developing a social enterprise or 'business for good', and in Townsville the course has already supported participants tackling big local issues including youth resilience, domestic and family violence, inclusion for people with disabilities, mental health, homelessness, financial literacy, and first aid preparedness.

Participants learn practical and proven methods for developing social enterprise and business-for-good, across expert-curated and industry-connected modules.

Subsidised cost is just $425 per participant (total program value is $2500 per participant), and includes a graduation and social enterprise pitch event at Townsville’s Smart Precinct NQ, and a digital badge and microcredential for your LinkedIn and CV.

CQU Social Innovation program manager Steve Williams said North Queensland had plenty of passion for transforming lives, and through iActivate they’d developed the business plans to make it happen.

“iActivate uses proven experience to get started and to grow a social enterprise or business for good, for the benefit of the whole community,” he said.

Peak body Queensland Social Enterprise Council analysis shows every successful Australian social enterprise creates an average of 15 jobs, generating three dollars for every dollar of investment.

Smart Precinct NQ General Manager Cassandra Cazzulino says it is always exciting to see the incredible ideas and what motivates their initiative and impact.

“iActivate is about skilling everyday people with great ideas, to get their business off to a strong start. It helps them really understand the problem they’re solving, identify their impact, develop a business model and branding, and get an understanding of financing, legals and practice pitching,” Ms Cazzulino said.

“This is the third cohort of iActivate, and one of the things we hear from those who’ve been through the program is the camaraderie of learning, testing their ideas and growing together in their respective businesses.

“In really simple terms, social enterprises are businesses that support cultural, social or environmental needs through the programs, products or services they deliver,” she said.

Recent graduates of the iActivate program include Keesha Booth and Anna Walsh, the co-Founders of Sexually Healthy Cities, credit iActivate for their connection and momentum.

“The online learning portal for iActivate is a constant source of information, knowledge and reassurance to Sexually Healthy Cities as we set off on our social enterprise journey together. We have gone back and forth over many problems before realising that the answers are in the evergreen resource and we will be referencing it for years to come,” Ms Walsh said.

“The most valuable asset to our taking part in iActivate, is of course, the connection we made during the course – enough to go into business together! Turning up in person every week really kept us on track with our coursework and made us feel very supported.
“This connection continues to today, and we cherish the support that the Smart Precinct and their partners still offer us at the beginning of our Sexually Healthy Cities journey.”

North Queenslanders can apply now to participate in iActivate at spnq.org/iactivate.