IMPACT Community Services MD Tanya O'Shea will tomorrow speak at CQUniversity’s Festival of Change where she will discuss the conception of one of the organisation’s social enterprises.
The festival is a learning opportunity facilitated by CQUniversity’s Office of Social Innovation and runs from August 31 through to September 18.
The national event is designed to celebrate and bring life to changemaking within the CQUni community. It also aims to acknowledge the positive impact the university and its stakeholders are having on the world while promoting opportunities for engagement, learning and collaboration.
Mrs O'Shea has been invited to speak on the ideation phase of IMPACT's second social enterprise, New Image Laundry.
“I'll be sharing our journey of looking for a social enterprise that benefited both us and the community,” Mrs O'Shea said.
“We'd had great outcomes with the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and we wanted to add another.”
She said the focus was on job creation to achieve social outcomes.
“We wanted another social enterprise, like the MRF, that could create jobs for the community particularly for people with a disability and mental illness,” Mrs O'Shea said.
The criteria for the business was that it had to provide low-skill work for our assisted workers, add value to the community, and it had to fill a gap in the business landscape.
Tanya and her team brainstormed several different ideas and decided to trial five different businesses: a cleaning company, a car-detailing business, a fishing lure manufacturing business, a jam-making business and the laundry.
They all had potential as an independent revenue stream, so they trialled them all for two years, but four fell short for different reasons.
“The jam-making business was very successful, so much so that we couldn't keep up with orders, but the business wasn't scalable,” Mrs O'Shea said. “The one that ticked the most boxes was the laundry.”
Before the current New Image Laundry, IMPACT had bought existing business Peg and Iron and rented a premises at East Bundaberg. In 2016 IMPACT purchased the vacant block of land at Inglis Court and built the new state of the art facility that is in operation today.
“We went on a fact-finding road trip and got a lot of useful help and information from a number of commercial laundries including Vanguard Laundry, another social enterprise in Toowoomba,” Mrs O'Shea said.
“We took the idea to government and they provided us with $900,000 towards the $2.8million required to set up the business and since then it's been very successful in creating employment.”
The Festival of Change session will follow the Human Centred Design framework. Mrs O'Shea will be joining panel members prominent in the field, such as Elise Parrups, CEO Qld Social Enterprise Council, and Leslie Lowe, a fellow CQUni Alumnus Winner.
CQUniversity is well regarded as Australia’s most inclusive and engaged university, with social innovation as a driving value and ethos. It has received accreditation from Ashoka U as Australia’s only changemaker campus. As one of Bundaberg's most successful community service forward thinkers, IMPACT is a passionate advocate for social innovation in the region.