Friday, 17th February 2012 at 1:58 pm
Social entrepreneur David Hood’s work in building collaborative communities that find socially innovative solutions to pressing social and environmental issues has seen him named as Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
At the Melbourne School for Social Entrepreneurs’ graduation ceremony last night, Hood received the award and graduated alongside 15 of his fellow classmates – the second cohort of entrepreneurs who have been through the school’s intensive 9-month learning program.
|David Hood has been named as Melbourne's Social Entrepreneur of the Year.|
Hood founded Collaboratory Melbourne – a community owned enterprise that works to provide a platform for communities and organisations to collaborate and build better futures together.
The group currently has over 450 members from across sectors and varied disciplines, many of whom have already participated in workshops, conferences and events that Hood has hosted.
Hood says he is “honoured” to have been named as this year’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year. “To gain that type of recognition, especially from your peers, is amazing,” he said.
Having been involved in the Not for Profit industry from a young age, starting out as a volunteer as a child and most recently working as a campaigner for Greenpeace, Hood says the frustration of having skills but not being able to apply them was the starting point for the idea of Collaboratory Melbourne.
“There are so many pressing social and environmental issues, and there’s been no significant shift,” Hood said. “Collaboratory Melbourne is all about getting better at doing stuff together.”
Hood says Collaboratory Melbourne initially started as a meet-up group at the end of 2010, which provided the opportunity for people to come together and discuss new ways of doing things.
He says he would like Collaboratory Melbourne to be able to provide a future where everyone affected by an issue is enabled to take action.
“It’s about providing people with resources and solutions,” Hood said. “Even if it’s teaching someone to set up a website. We want to empower every day people, together.”
SSE says its 9-month incubation-style program gives social entrepreneurs the personal and business support they need to grow their venture to be more effective.
This year’s graduating class worked on a diverse range of social and environmental ventures including an educational DJ project that engages young women from marginalised, and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; a Not for Profit aimed at strengthening the anti-human trafficking programs of international development organisations and the production of a film exploring sustainability in the future of the fashion industry.
Hood says that he feels extremely lucky to have been able to study at SSE. “A program like SSE is invaluable,” he said.
“Students are able to come together, feel supported and expand their networks.
“It’s action learning, driven by the students. Being able to work together accelerates our development skills.”
SSE chief executive Benny Callaghan said that the new Melbourne graduates will increase the network to 94 graduated fellows.
“We have seen amazing results from our students to-date with many developing the confidence, networks and skills to make their social ventures more effective and sustainable,” Callaghan said.
“Our students have not only secured funding but also developed strong partnerships and delivered significant social impact in their communities.
“We are delighted to be welcoming them as fellows of our growing network of social entrepreneurs in Australia.”