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Social Traders launches in Queensland

“Access to a network of social enterprises is important. It helps businesses like ours identify future suppliers who put purpose alongside profit. While we are targeting $100 million in purposeful procurement by 2030, for us it is beyond targets, it’s about our business being a force for good.”

– Andrew Hill, Mirvac

More than 150 guests braved the Brisbane heat to join us, our event partners; Central Queensland University (CQU), Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) and Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), to formally launch Social Traders’ full suite of services in Queensland on Tuesday, 12 March 2019.

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Shannon Fentiman welcomed the commitment from Social Traders.  “A strong, diverse and growing social enterprise sector produces benefits for our state economy and communities.  Assisting Queenslanders who have struggled to get a job, to gain meaningful employment in a sustainable operation is a rewarding and worthwhile cause”, Ms Fentiman said.

She added that the State Government would consider adopting a similar approach taken by the Victorian Government, which last year launched a Social Procurement Framework, which set procurement guidelines for all Government departments and agencies.

Guests heard first-hand the impact of social procurement from the perspective of business, social enterprise and beneficiaries.  Andrew Hill, FM Procurement Manager, Mirvac shared the importance of access to a network of social enterprises in helping his organisation meet their social procurement goals.  The contract to manage the gardens of Toombul, an iconic Brisbane shopping centre owned by Mirvac, is a significant one for Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative on many fronts.

“It’s our first corporate partnership and it is also close to where our workers live and receive supports.  The beauty of a local contract, lies in the pride that can developed as people maintain the place where they live their lives. Being local also allows us to connect more readily with our staff with disabilities networks – key to our success in creating long term job outcomes’, said Richard Warner, Coordinator, Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative.

The impact is far reaching and Warner estimates that “[it] will create four to five part time roles for people with disabilities… under guidance of a head gardener.”

The power of social procurement was brought home when Michael Cherry, a founding employee at Nundah Co-op shared “When I first started, I couldn’t find a job. I wouldn’t have had anything in my life. In the future, I’m going to get a car and my licence.”

There were plenty of opportunities to reconnect and form new connections once the formal proceedings were completed.  It was a pleasure to showcase some of our #STCertified social enterprises – Hope Street Kitchens (Micah Projects), Goodwill Wine and Cultural Infusion – at the event.

We take this opportunity to thank all those who joined in our celebrations.