Approximately two weeks ago we took it upon us to travel around the world and meet at least a minimum of five Social Enterprises in each major city around the world.
We are currently based in Melbourne so we decided to start here. After Melbourne we will head towards Sydney and around other cities in Australia. Next step after that is Europe, starting from London.
This week we met with seven different social enterprises that had business operations in separate sectors. We’ve met with two Cafés, a bicycle repair shop, a travel company, catering and a catering, a web-design company and a wine reseller. It was after lot of organising, talking to people and researching that we had the week fully booked.
Social Cycles - Exciting Social Bicycle tours
We first met with Brett Seychell who is the founder of Social Cycles. Social Cycles is a social business that does cycle tours in countries like Iran, Vietnam, Cambodia and also Melbourne. Brett’s stories about bicycling from London to Australia, his passion and the business concept he has built made the chat we had very intriguing.
Kinfolk Cafe - Volunteer ran Social Café
The next day, we caught a train to the city to meet with Lilly, the volunteer coordinator at Kinfolk café. Kinfolk is a social business that is run solely by volunteers. We also popped upstairs of the Kinfolk Café to meet Kate McKenzie who is the marketing manager at Donkey Wheel House Events. Donkey Wheel House Events and Kinfolk café are a merged entity. Kinfolk Cafe does the catering and Donkey Wheel House Events provides the space. For a bit of extra fun, our car decided that it needed new tires. She just had had enough. We quickly took her to the doctor. Unfortunately there is no public health care. This didn’t stop us from meeting with these amazing people.
Streat - Social cafe to help against youth homelessness
We took an Uber down to Collingwood to meet Ian Johnson, the marketing manager at Streat café. They had just moved their entire office and café to Collingwood and was their second day of trade. Streat existed to reduce youth homelessness in Australia. We were interviewing them just before channel 7 news, and made definitely the better story.
Studio Thick - Service and UX design company
It was Friday the 16th, we had to take another Uber to Brunswick because the car doctor decided to keep the car with him for longer. We were on our way to say ‘Hi’ to Adam who was the founder of Studio Thick. It is an IT company with a focus on web and user interface design. Thick also gives away 5% of it’s revenue to charity. This was the record of most Uber’s we’ve taken in a day. Seven Ubers in one day totalling $146. Not too bad.
Good Cycles - Bicycle repair and sales
Afterwards, we caught a Yarra tram back to the city to meet with Matt, the marketing manager from Good Cycles. Good Cycles is a social business that sells and repairs bicycles while donating all profits to charity. Finally it was Saturday. Finally we got our lovely Kia back from the doctor in good shape, so that she can be safely taken on a highway without her yelling to us.
Goodwill Wine - A boutique wine online re-seller
We woke up early in the morning with great difficulty, but got into the Kia to drive for an hour out of the city. We headed to Mount Macedon to say ‘Hi’ to David Laity, who is the founder of Goodwill Wine. Goodwill wine is an online wine reseller that gives back 50% of profits to a charity that was chosen by the customer.
We loved his business, and his love for the wine. We left with two beautiful bottles, which we ended up liking a lot. It was definitely an amazing week meeting these people to find out their views and experiences on what a social business can be. The video here is a trailer of the seven social enterprises we met with. Stay tuned for full episodes of every interview. Now it’s time to do a bit light packing to leave to Sydney to meet with more social enterprises.
Melbournes social entrepreneurship space is growing, but still small
There is only a handfull of true, successful social enterprises in Melbourne. According to some sources, there is as much as 20 000 in Australia, but according to our research, this number is somewhere closer to 500. Melbourne would have approximately 100-200 social enterprises that are operating. Many of them not knowing they actually are one.
We have our work cut out for us.