Member Stories

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  • 31 August 2020 1:48 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Nice Coffee Co. – Adapting to Change

    I have always been told the importance of staying nimble and the ability to pivot to meet the ever-changing market – especially for a startup in the social enterprise space. But I never thought we would be applying these very principles only 12 months into launching Nice Coffee Co.

    We founded the enterprise to give offices and organisations across Australia the opportunity to support school projects through the coffee they drink every day. Using the profits from our coffee and machines supplied to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, in 2019 we managed to re-build St Johns School in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum – not far from where my family lives.

    However, as COVID-19 swept the globe and offices made the switch to working from home, we found a 80% drop in orders. We couldn’t ride out the wave of Coronavirus as we knew it was places like Kibera that are hit the hardest in these times. Our team had been discussing a coffee at home model for a few months, but this was the perfect chance to develop and launch it. A new coffee delivered monthly, and for every household that signs up, we are able to provide 125 days of high-school education.

    Looking back, we never would’ve thought that a global pandemic would completely change the game for a given period of time. As this is just the start of our social entrepreneurial journey – it’s been a great learning curve which might just help us in the decades to come. We would also like to thank Minter Ellison and Social Traders for their assistance in these times. 

    For anyone interested in getting involved or signing up, head to nicecoffee.org or shoot us an email to info@nicecoffee.org.

    Jim Chapman, Founder

  • 31 August 2020 1:46 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    “Oh, we are in big trouble here.”

    These were the first few words that went through my mind when restrictions started to be put in place. From businesses being forced to work from home, all the way through to schools closing their doors. Our revenue for the foreseeable future had all but been lost.

    However, my words were not directed towards my business, my first initial thoughts were for all of humanity – we’re all in big trouble here. The proposed restrictions brought with them exponential levels of social distancing and self-isolation. A cocktail of all the wrong ingredients and one that is going to leave us all with a terrible hangover.

    It was with this realisation that I stumbled across the notion that perhaps my focus had shifted from where I started. You see, I entered the mental health and human connection space many years ago with an insatiable passion and drive to develop stronger connections between community members. I envisioned doing this by providing proactive support and platforms for society to make sure no one feels isolated and alone.

    However, over the years my energy had shifted from the charitable organisation into the commercial facing business and all the many overheads and KPIs that needed to be met. Instead of counting impact, I was counting invoices due and money in. The equation was never quite balancing which led me to chase the next shiny object in an effort to save our business and our mission. While in the meantime the charity sat there idle, an impact-lead, highly engaged and purposefully driven vehicle sitting in the garage.

    It wasn’t until the revenue dried up due to COVID-19 and the lack of SME’s and schools who either needed or could afford our workshops and programs that I thought back to my first feeling of ‘oh, we are in big trouble here’ and this time it was in direct relation to my business. Decisions needed to be made and they needed to be made then and there.

    Like the flick of a switch, the choice to shut down the commercial business was made. This allowed us to put all of our energy and resources back into the charity, where they belong. Capital and time invested would now be redeployed into the foundation. An exciting opportunity to forge deep ties with our initial mission of bringing communities together to develop psychological resilience and emotional wellbeing.

    Like all things in life, what you look for you will find. If you look for stories of devastation and hurt right now across the globe you will have no trouble finding them, on a mass scale. On the other hand, not to discredit or shy from those that are hurting, if you look for stories of hope and positivity you will still find your fair share of these stories as well.

    You see, for most of us our vision hasn’t changed, especially those in the social enterprise space, we are still driven by purpose and outcomes not associated with profit. If we look at the word ‘pivot’ from an anatomical position it essentially means to rotate, to change direction. I would hope for most of us, we have not changed our overarching mission and the destination we are headed. Rather than a change in direction, we have simply changed the vehicle in which we are travelling. For the Human Connection Project, we have made some large structural changes, gone through days where we had lost hope and experienced many moments where we were overcome with anxiety and fear for what might happen. However, we made hard decisions, realigned with our purpose and are now more energised and driven than ever before. Not driven to meet due dates on invoices, albeit they are still there, but driven to impact and save more lives and it’s a very, very good feeling.

    If you are experiencing tough times right now, be it personally or in your business, know this – We will get through this and the world we go back to will never be the same, nor should we want it to. The old world was never normal, we now have the opportunity to reshape what normal looks like. A world of giving, impact and the realisation … #howgoodsliving. This is at the heart of positive psychology. Fixing what is wrong does not automatically lead to wellbeing. We must not remove stress, rather understand how to manage it. This is our key to overall wellbeing and the key to our happiness.

    “Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning that aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive” – Martin Seligman

  • 31 August 2020 1:38 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    We saw COVID-19 have its effect on local’s and the services which supported them. Scaling back services and working from home were necessary protective health practices but created further uncertainty in an already uncertain future. That’s why it was important to us here at Substation 33 to keep our doors open, as we see ourselves as an essential service in the Logan community. Substation is a place where people can come, be included, find a friendly face, share what’s going on for them and get involved in some work or upskilling. We thought it was important to provide a sense of normality for our volunteers and be a source of reliable information. We knew we had made the right decision when after the Work for the Dole work requirements ceased and social distancing was recommended – many of our volunteers chose to continue to come down and volunteer independently of their requirements.

    Needing to keep our dedicated volunteers and staff safe, we set up designing and creating a handwashing station using recycled materials such as a sewing machine peddle, sink, hose and metal barrel. Standing in line, adhering to social distancing requirements, giving each other handwashing tips began to be our own conversations around the water cooler, offering much needed social supports during a scary and isolating time. We also provided safety upgrades to the YFS (Youth and Family Services) head office, installing a clear protective barrier from repurposed perspex which started its life as part of a flat-screen TV donated to Substation 33.

    Quickly, we realized that completing school work from home was going to be difficult for some local families. After offering $100 refurbished desktop computers on our Facebook (www.facebook.com/substation33) page we’ve reached 59,048 people and had 1,828 reactions, comments and shares since the 1st of April. We don’t know what ‘going viral’ is but this could be pretty close in Logan! To date we’ve delivered 3004 computers to families in Logan, allowing 600+ children to be online – that very night, learning from home. We’ve had some fantastic community partners who have sponsored computers for families in need or distributed to their own families including Logan Together, Logan City Council, Access Community Services, YFS, Gunya Meta Inc, Logan East Community Neighbourhood Association, The Family Place, Village Connect – Hosanna Logan City,Beenleigh Housing Development Company, Logan Youth Foyer Support Service and the Rotary Club of Logan. It has been amazing to see local services and organisations coming together to make sure children don’t fall behind with their school work.

    We heard from volunteers how it was increasingly difficult to obtain regular groceries items and they were forced to purchase more expense brands on already decreased funds. We have been thrilled to offer additional OzHarvest deliveries every 1-2 days so volunteers at Substation and families supported by YFS can have access to fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Items also contributed to the Logan Community Recovery Hotline where locals could request assistance if they needed to self-isolate. A crowd favourite has been the pallet of high end chocolates – just in time for Mothers Day!

    The last 8 weeks have been tough and things at time have seemed shaky but this community is resilient. In line with Substatons ethos of a circular economy, our social enterprise exchanges the usual cycle of make, use, dispose in favour of recycling, skills and innovation. Providing an alternative option for electronic waste we empower people to develop skills, be part of a community and find new solutions to old problems.

  • 31 August 2020 1:31 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    World’s Biggest Garage Sale has built a strong brand and presence within the  Australian circular economy and social enterprise space. As such, our team is often asked to share experience and practical knowledge to deliver support and services to uplift other brands and businesses within the community. This includes existing businesses, new startups and individuals seeking to enhance or build their own enterprises. Our team are multi-award winners, most recently winning the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur ‘Brand of the Year’ award for 2019. 

    With several decades worth of expertise in entrepreneurship, sales, operations, marketing, and science-led practice, our team want to share our experiences to give a helping hand to other businesses along their path to success. Together we can work to strengthen the circular economy and social enterprise in Australia. We are currently offering a number of services to guide and provide knowledge and capabilities to fellow social enterprises and startups. 

    Our CANsulting services are designed to connect intrepreneurs and entrepreneurs to our own experiences as a high-speed startup/scale-up and give focus and drive to innovate, transform market offerings and achieve their vision. 

    Expressions of interest: https://worldsbiggestgaragesale.com.au/cansulting/

  • 17 June 2020 11:26 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Meet-up at Mu’ooz – social cause, yummy food and central location

    The last few months have been challenging for Mu’ooz with closures and restrictions.  We are thankful to our supporters who have kept us going with takeaway and food delivery orders. With the restrictions lifting, the dine-in service has been picking up and we are well-organised to serve our returning and new customers yummy food again.

    Mu'ooz restaurant and catering service is an African not-for-profit social enterprise, located in the heart of culturally diverse West End. Aimed at creating employment, training and work experiences for women who have suffered traumatic experiences of war, poverty and had little opportunity for education, disadvantaged refugee & migrant women, the social enterprise also prides itself in helping to break down cross-cultural barriers.

    From a food perspective, Mu’ooz means 'tasty and healthy' in Tigrinya, the language of Eritrea and parts of Ethiopia. In line with this, the social enterprise offers exclusive North-East African cuisine using local and imported African ingredients while providing exceptional quality service.

    We'd love to host fellow social entrepreneurs here at Mu'ooz for lunch or dinner.  It is centrally located, quiet, easy to find and has nearby parking. PLUS we'd love to offer QSEC members a special 15% discount on our everyday menu till November 15th 2020. Mu'ooz is open 7 days a week with a special brunch menu on Friday to Sunday which includes traditional coffee and cake. Call Saba on 0401 222 311 to discuss further or to book ahead. Find out more about Mu’ooz at www.muooz.com.au.


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