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Crowdfunding to Deliver Microfinance to Once Homeless Entrepreneurs

25 October 2016 at 9:43 am
Lina Caneva
A crowdfunding campaign designed to help former homeless people to start their own micro-businesses has been launched.

Lina Caneva | 25 October 2016 at 9:43 am


Crowdfunding to Deliver Microfinance to Once Homeless Entrepreneurs
25 October 2016 at 9:43 am

A crowdfunding campaign designed to help former homeless people to start their own micro-businesses has been launched.

The campaign is trying to raise funds for The Business of Hope, a Queensland-based program aiming to inspire people who have been homeless and who have aspirations to start their own micro-businesses.

The founder of the program Deb Jones has been operating an employment program for Common Ground Queensland, a model of supportive housing in South Brisbane and she hopes the crowdfunding campaign will help her get the new micro-financing program off the ground.

Brisbane Common Ground, located in Hope Street, is a 14-storey apartment building in the arts precinct of South Brisbane providing 146 units of affordable accommodation set up with funding from the state government.

Jones told Pro Bono Australia News the answer to poverty in Australia could be found in the untapped small business potential of formerly homeless people but she needed the community’s help to prove it.

Jones has joined forces, a new crowdfunding platform on the Gold Coast, to raise the funds to progress her idea.

“I believe there is a real untapped resource there of potential business owners in community housing and if we could get other housing organisations on board we can potentially have a network of business owners who… understand each other and can create those business networks together,” Jones said.

Common GroundShe has already run of a series of micro-business courses for the tenants at Hope Street, half of whom she says have been homeless.

“We are looking to raise about $55,000 to keep the program going and further develop it and get other housing organisations on board. We also want to do a video documentary of their journey because it’s so inspiring. Business is challenging already but when you have all of these other challenges and trauma related to homelessness there are more blockers in the way,” she said.

“We are wanting to provide a more holistic 12-week program  so that we can support them with their well being as well and help them overcome the challenges that might stop them from moving forward.

“We now have at least 11 budding entrepreneurs at various stages of growing their business.

“With business ideas ranging from interior design, mobile hairdressing and personal brand t-shirts, with the right ongoing support, the potential is massive.

“One of our business owners is a lady who lost absolutely everything when she became unwell and couldn’t pay her rent. She is now making soy candles with essential oils and recently decorated the reception area of a wedding with her beautifully designed candles.

“The way that our model is different is that we are contacting organisations such as women’s groups and other groups in a bid to link our entrepreneurs with mainstream business.

“We want to build their capacity and their self esteem and not be treating them as disadvantaged.”

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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