January 15, 2016
Cinnamon Evans is CEO of CERES – the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies. CERES was established in 1982, with 4.5 hectres of land providing on the Merri Creek in East Brunswick. From these beginnings, it is now an award winning not-for-profit sustainability centre and urban farm, which has developed multiple social enterprises and is now a Melbourne environmental sustainability education institution.
We spent 5 minutes with Cinnamon to ask her about what she has learnt through being a social enterprise leader and who inspires her.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt through working in social enterprise?
The biggest lesson I have learnt through working in social enterprise is the importance of the whole team being clear and aligned in relation to the overarching purpose or role of the social enterprise, including the ‘bucket’ it falls into (employment & training, servicing a community need, or income generation for charitable purposes).
Who do you think is the most inspiring social entrepreneur/change maker?
I find Chris Ennis, Manager of CERES Fair Food, very inspiring. CERES Fair Food is an online organic grocer and carbon neutral food delivery service with a mission to do good at every stage of the food chain. Chris has built CERES Fair Food from a simple food co-op to a major social enterprise that directly supports Victorian farmers, provides employment for asylum seekers, builds community through the network of pick-up points, and funds CERES environmental education. I am deeply impressed with Chris’ vision, commitment and skills. Plus, he writes the most entertaining newsletters I have ever read.
Our Social Enterprises (including CERES Fair Food) now provide 95% of CERES revenue, which in turn funds the park.
In just one year, CERES had the below impact:
What is the most important piece of advice you would give someone starting their own social enterprise?
The most important piece of advice I would give someone starting their own social enterprise is the need to really, REALLY love it. Being a leader of social enterprises can be challenging – at times it has pushed me to my very edges and required me to learn and grow.
If I didn’t love it with all my heart, I wouldn’t have survived. Loving it brings purpose and meaning my professional life, which I believe is a key ingredient of happiness. – Cinnamon Evans, CERES