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Press Release: Employment delivers winners at Australia’s Social Enterprise Awards

Employment delivers winners at Australia’s Social Enterprise Awards

MELBOURNE – 8 winners from 4 states were celebrated at Australia’s annual Social Enterprise Awards hosted by Social Traders in Melbourne last night.

Comprising 7 categories (1 category was announced with joint winners) the Social Enterprise Awards are the only national event for recognising and celebrating excellence in Australian social enterprise.

Social enterprises from Queensland, NSW, Western Australia and Victoria took out the top prizes including  Luke Terry from Toowoomba who won the inaugural “Social Enterprise Champion Award” for his work advocating for social procurement and helping pave the way for social enterprises in Queensland to win contracts with government and corporate buyers. Luke is also the CEO of Toowoomba Clubhouse – a psychosocial rehabilitation centre helping men and women with mental illness.

Another Queensland winner included Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative Ltd winning “Australian Small Social Enterprise of the Year” for their work in providing long-term employment for people with disabilities. From NSW, Salvos Legal and Salvos Legal (Humanitarian) Limited won the category of “Australian Large Social Enterprise of the Year” by employing 20 people and providing more than 12,800 free legal services to disadvantaged people in NSW and QLD.

Western Australian (WA) social enterprise Sprout picked up the “Social Enterprise Innovation Award”, for their unique approach to tackling the growing problem of isolation in WA communities by establishing community hubs in new residential developments and; on behalf of the West Australian Disability Enterprise Alliance (WADE), Good Samaritan Industries collected the “Buy Social Award” for their collaborative work with the WA government to increase government supply opportunities for people with disability.  In the last 3 years WADE has secured almost $22 million in contracts with state and local government agencies.

Victorian winners included Pollinate Energy winning the “One to Watch Award” for providing affordable energy solutions and micro-business opportunities in some of India’s poorest communities.  For the “Social Investment Award”, STREAT and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Food Justice Truck were announced as joint winners.

Providing employment opportunities for hundreds of disadvantaged youth, STREAT has generated $10 million in investment to develop a training facility in Collingwood that provides employment pathways into hospitality. Providing a unique approach to food accessibility for refugees and asylum seekers, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Justice Food Truck raised the necessary investment funds via crowd funding and will provide 2,000 asylum seekers across Melbourne with low cost fresh fruit and vegetables.

Managing Director Social Traders, David Brookes said, “This year’s winners represent the diversity and strength of social enterprise in Australia and show that social enterprise has the ability to generate employment, increase access to services and strengthen Australian communities.”

International social enterprise expert Jonathan Bland, Managing Director of Social Business International in the UK said, “I’m incredibly impressed with the potential for social enterprise in Australia. The Social Enterprise Awards demonstrate some brilliant social businesses transforming the lives of people and communities, and with government policy and framework, Australia would significantly increase the social benefit and impact that social enterprise can deliver.”

Click here for a full list of finalists from across the 7 categories at the Social Enterprise Awards 2015.