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Workshops support social enterprise ideas across CQ

Published:05 August 2019

Vice-Chair of QSEC and CQUniversity Social Innovation Program Manager Steve Williams (left) pictured with The Honourable Shannon Fentiman, and QSEC Chair and Executive Director of Food Connect Foundation Emma-Kate Rose at the Queensland Small Business Week launch.

Social innovators from across Central Queensland have attended new workshops in Rockhampton and Gladstone, to support and invigorate social enterprise in the region.

The events, held at CQUni campuses across 29-30 July, were hosted by CQUni in partnership with Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC), and supported by a range of local organisations.

CQUniversity Social Innovation Program Manager and Vice-Chair of QSEC Steve Williams facilitated the workshops, and told ABC Capricornia that the sessions generated plenty of big ideas for the region.

"Some people (attending in Rockhampton) came from Roseberry Qld, a not-for-profit operating all across the region, and they were interested in how they can help the young women that they work with through the ParentsNext program, to start their own businesses, and that might be through social enterprise," Mr Williams explained.

Mr Williams said the sessions were supported by Dr Laura Baker, who shared examples of business models and legal structures for social enterprise, so participants could begin to see how the mechanics of their social enterprise idea might work.

Mr Williams explained that social enterprise was simply defined as "a business that operates for a social purpose," and said that working in the community sector with long-term unemployed people attracted him to the model, as social enterprise businesses could provide supported work opportunities.

"The whole purpose of the workshops in regional areas is really to help pull out social enterprise activity in the regions... and through our partnership with Queensland Social Enterprise Council, use CQUni's campus bases around Queensland to work with new social enterprise ecosystems, to give some education, and if people are already running social enterprises, to help them run them a bit better."

QSEC Chair Emma-Kate Rose also attended the workshops remotely, to discuss a state-wide survey of social enterprise, and the upcoming Unconference including travel bursaries available for regional Queensland attendees.

Later this month, Central Queensland will again host social enterprise development, as nearly 30 students from across Australia converge for CQUni's three-day Gladstone Social Innovation Workshop, to discuss and design ideas to tackle youth homelessness.

The workshop is held in partnership with Roseberry Qld, and has been an annual event for CQUni students since 2015.

CQUni is supporting students to travel to Gladstone and grow their understanding of social innovation, as part of its role as Australia's only Changemaker Campus, accredited by global social innovation leaders Ashoka U.