They’ve spent decades working with young people, and creating businesses to do good – now passionate changemakers Adam and Susy Wenitong are growing their skills and experience to ensure Toowoomba’s next generation can thrive.
The husband and wife team are amongst 12 Darling Downs entrepreneurs taking part in iActivate, CQUniversity’s social enterprise course, as part of a local 13-week accelerator program.
And the Wenitongs say they are excited to transform their small-scale projects for maximum social impact.
Indigenous youth worker Adam Wenitong founded his mentoring organisation in 2014, and has been growing its reach and offerings since then.
Initially called Young Bruthas, Adam changed the name to Adapt Mentorship and Consultancy in 2022, as he realised the social enterprise model was a good fit for his work.
“As an Indigenous business founder, when I was out and about talking to people about the business they would say what I did sounded like a social enterprise,” he said.
“We then attended the Social Enterprise World Forum in Brisbane last year, and realised, ‘yep we are definitely a social enterprise!’
“Everything we do goes directly into creating a better future and communities, we invest back into follow-up and future programs to make sure our social purpose is being met.”
Meanwhile, Adam’s partner Susy has had plenty of practical experience in social enterprise – and as another iActivate participant, she’s putting her know-how into Adapt too.
Formerly the coordinator and co-creator of Toowoomba’s successful social enterprise and training café 2nd Shot for Base Services in 2016, she was then coordinator of women’s centre Protea Place until December last year.
Now, a leap of faith to work with Adam and grow Adapt is a dream come true.
Together through their Adapt enterprise, they offer youth mentoring, crime prevention program design and delivery, and community consultancy.
“Since starting the course we have learnt how to do it all way better!” Adam said.
“The measuring impact sessions have been super valuable, and (program manager) Steve Williams has an extensive array of brilliant info, so we have had a few lightbulb moments just from listening to some of his past projects and experiences!”
Adam said connecting with other social entrepreneurs had been a useful experience, and he and Susy are excited to design and grow Adapt’s impact.
“We want all Indigenous youth in our community to feel like they're an integral and valued part of the social fabric, and that their dreams and goals can be achieved, through self-belief and constant support.
“As we’re learning, we’re seeing new ways that Adapt will develop leaders to be part of the action for change too!”
The Darling Downs iActivate cohort will graduate next month on Thursday 18 May 2023, after 13 big weeks of designing and growing their for-purpose business ideas.
The graduation and showcase event is free to attend, and attendees can hear from and connect with the inspiring participants.
Register to attend now: https://events.humanitix.com/iactivate-toowoomba-region-social-enterprise-showcase
It’s the first time the popular program has been delivered in the region with face-to-face and online support, with the Queensland Government’s $8 million Social Enterprise Jobs Fund also supporting delivery across Bundaberg, Cairns and Rockhampton.
To learn more about iActivate, visit cqu.edu.au/iactivate.