The nation’s leading social enterprise advocates invited Pollinators to present at their annual conference in Melbourne last month.
Pollinators Learning Lead and co-founder Andrew Outhwaite presented Pollinators as an example of a successful social enterprise in regional Australia to participants at the Social Traders Masters Conference 2016.
Mr Outhwaite said feedback on what Pollinators had achieved and how it operated was extremely positive.
“There was an audience of about 70 people, many from regional areas or overseas, and they were very interested in our model for a sustainable enterprise, which earns money through services such as coworking, meeting room hire, and membership and re-invests in nurturing people and innovations that enable healthy and resilient communities,” Mr Outhwaite said.
“We were held up as an example of what’s possible in regional areas, and quite unique nationally as an organisation that is both a local social enterprise but also playing an ‘intermediary’ role in a way that’s usually government funded.”
Mr Outhwaite also had the opportunity to listen to a broad range of other social enterprises report on their initiatives.
He said he was highly impressed at the way social enterprises now operated with competitive business models, while continuing to deliver social impacts.
“In the past I think social enterprise was regarded as good and interesting, but not well understood nor considered as having growth potential,” he said.
“The academic researchers and investors at the conference emphasised there are thousands of social enterprises across Australia operating in highly competitive sectors against traditional profit-based ventures: lawyers, laundries, pubs, utilities, media companies -.all re-investing the majority of their profits back into their social mission.
“High profile guests from government, tech and consulting also highlighted social enterprises’ advantage over corporates as the most attractive workplaces for a whole new generation of innovators who value working for organisations with a social purpose over higher-wages without meaning or social impact.
“It’s exciting to be part of both the growing national and international “movement”, and to have local peers: organisations like G-Force contracting, ATC Mid West, Geraldton Universities Centre, Bendigo Bank and others who all have this shared commitment to social enterprise models. ”
Pollinators is a member-based social enterprise which operates as a business, generating majority of its revenue from paying customers then re-investing all profits in its social mission: “nurturing innovations and people that enable healthy, resilient communities.”
A summary of the conference as communicated on social media is also available here.