Wide Bay – Burnett social entrepreneurs are building a better future for the region' and they're set to showcase their big-impact plans.
Tackling issues from housing to waste plastic' animal welfare and community services' the emerging social enterprises combine creativity' innovation and great ideas.
The 13 inspiring participants of CQUniversity's social enterprise accelerator iActivate will graduate at CQUniversity Bundaberg on Thursday 24 November 2022' after 13 big weeks of designing and growing their for-purpose business ideas.
Register to attend Bundaberg's free iActivate graduation' showcase and networking opportunity here.
It's the first time the popular 13-week program has be delivered in Bundaberg with face-to-face and online support' thanks to the Queensland Government's $8 million Social Enterprise Jobs Fund.
iActivate is CQUniversity's innovative short course for developing a social enterprise or "business for good"' while connecting with other passionate entrepreneurs' and the program kicked off in Bundaberg in August.
The program' co-presented with Queensland social impact business Impact Boom' earns a digital badge and micro-credential for LinkedIn profiles and CV's.
CQUniversity Social Innovation Program Manager' Steve Williams says iActivate is delivering exciting new initiatives for the Wide Bay – Burnett region.
Meet some of the 2022 iActivate participants and their exciting ideas:flickr embed.
PLOYS: REPURPOSING POOL TOYS' PROTECTING THE REEF
With a mission to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing punctured pool inflatables' PLOYS is creating unique bags' purses and accessories with the PVC diverted from landfill and ocean.
Bundaberg founders Carin and Gerhard Sandker-van Grunsven started PLOYS in 2020 after becoming dismayed at the short shelf life of pool toys' and have already repurposed hundreds of kilograms of the colourful plastics' while donating a percentage of profits to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Their mission is through a circular loop' create a better more durable product than its original form.
Participating in iActivate has provided the pair with a chance to review business structure and customer profile' and to find new opportunities for collaborations.
"We are re-enthused and future-focussed on creating brand awareness and greater exposure and growth'" they said.
"Meeting like-minded entrepreneurs' having a space to plan and collaborate and conceptualise has been a valuable opportunity."
LIVIPOD: SUSTAINABLE' AFFORDABLE' RESILIENT LIVING SPACES
Proud Butchulla man and Hervey Bay artist' designer and life coach Shawn Wondunna-Foley joined iActivate with a vision for better homes' and a healthier country and community.
"I believe that all people everywhere on the planet deserve environmentally sensitive' affordable' sustainable and resilient living spaces" he explained.
"I hope that my social enterprise Livipod will create a solution to homeless and housing issues for Australians using a new spherical light-weight fabricated design."
Mr Wondunna-Foley said connecting with other social entrepreneurs' the chance to focus on project development' and the positive' empowering' "go do it" vibe were highlights of the Bundaberg cohort experience.
SPIRIT OF ANIMAL RESCUE: FUNDS FOR FURRY FRIENDS
Saskia Lawrence's love of animals has meant years supporting animal rescue charities' and she's determined to grow her impact.
The former small business owner and animal rescue volunteer first discovered social enterprise as she developed a market stall initiative to create funds and awareness for local animal shelters.
Donating at least 50 per cent of profits direct to rescue initiatives' now Ms Lawrence is growing the enterprise with CQUniversity's social enterprise course.
"iActivate has been a tremendous source of enjoyment for me' as well as enlightenment'" she said.
"It not only reinforced what I learned many years ago at university' but with so many developments since then like the internet and social media' I appreciate the opportunity to learn more."
Ms Lawrence is working towards a "lightbulb moment" that will create a product for her social enterprise to develop and sell' and says she's getting plenty of inspiration from the iActivate cohort' and wider social enterprise community.
THE HEALTHY NOT-FOR-PROFIT: TOOLS FOR PURPOSEFUL GROWTH
Experienced not-for-profit practitioner Nathan Spruce is bringing tech to growing good' with his latest project for a leading Bundaberg changemaker.
Working with IMPACT Community Services Bundaberg since 2012' since 2020 he's been the General Manager – Innovation' and Mr Spruce is designing a social enterprise to help other not-for-profits too.
The Healthy Not-For-Profit is a service providing tools and support to help for-purpose businesses grow.
His innovative For Purpose Health Monitor tool identifies areas of business that need more development' across priorities' agility' sustainability' values' partnerships' data and other categories. It's been developed with support of an Atlassian Foundation mentoring program' and now Mr Spruce is building the business model as part of iActivate.
"I'm already piloting the tool' which we'd make available to organisations to run themselves' using their latent skills – because if you've got skills internally' why would not try and unleash them" he said.
"But for organisations who want it externally facilitated' that's where the trade and earning potential come in."
"The Healthy Not-For-Profits idea came from IMPACT wanting to give back and help grow the sector' rather than just our own operations – and actually being in the room with other people passionate about setting up a social enterprise through iActivate has been a gamechanger."