For Young People

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Starting a social enterprise

Got an idea for a new product or service that can make change? Why wait for someone else to do it? Start a social enterprise – a business that aims to do good for the community.
What are social enterprises?

Social enterprises are businesses whose main aim is to do good for the community. They can do this by providing:

  • employment, training or support to find work, and/or
  • services that the community needs, and/or
  • opportunities to make money to fund programs or projects that support the community.

There are different types of social enterprise: from businesses that make profits and reinvest them, to charities, to fair trade organisations, to community-owned organisations. Some social enterprises are even mixtures of the different types.

Starting a social enterprise might be an option to raise money for a youth program or youth-led organisation.

Social enterprise support for young people

Social Traders NEW GEN Youth Social Enterprise Program is a Victorian Government  initiative. It supports young Victorians (16-25) to get involved in founding, leading, managing and operating social enterprises.

The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) Young Social Pioneers program supports young Australians (18-29) with social enterprise mentoring, skills development, leadership and connections.

YMCA Launchpad  is a three day program led by successful young social entrepreneurs. It can help you develop your skills and ideas and introduce you to likeminded people. 

Want some inspiration? Check out these young Victorian social entrepreneurs:

  • Ashleigh Grogan co-founded Young Vagabond as an alternative magazine for young women.
  • Celia Boyd co-founded Community Seeds to support community organisations in developing countries.
  • Jamie Green founded One Night Stand, a sleepwear label that invests profits in helping people who sleep on the streets.
  • Jamin Heppell founded Captains Camp, a sports leadership development program.

Victorian social enterprises that work with young people

There are some existing social enterprises operating in Victoria:

  • Blue SKYS Media is a professional graphic and web design studio, which supports young people as part of St Kilda Youth Service (SKYS) VET and VCAL training and employment pathways.
  • HEAT (Hospitality Employment and Training) is another SKYS social enterprise. It helps young people gain accredited training and work experience in the hospitality industry.
  • STREAT provides young people who are homeless with life-skills, work experience and training to start a career in the hospitality industry.
  • Print Side Up provides young people with work experience and skills in retail, screen-printing and small business management. It’s part of Melbourne City Mission.
  • Charcoal Lane supports Aboriginal and other young people with personal skills development and accredited hospitality training. It’s a Mission Australia social enterprise.

* By featuring the organisations above, we're not recommending or endorsing them. Please read the Yerp disclaimer for more info.

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