Social Enterprise Accelerator Expands to Regional Australia
Wednesday, 30th November 2016 at 8:04 am
Social enterprise accelerator One10 is launching its first regionally-focused arm in Geelong, Victoria to help close the “knowledge gap” between country and metropolitan Australia.
One10, which aims to commercialise for-purpose businesses, said attracting social entrepreneurs to regional Australia could improve outcomes across employment, social inclusion, environmental degradation, homelessness and gender equality.
But One10 founder Geoff Gourley, who grew up in the country, said the current knowledge gap in regional areas made it hard to retain talent.
“I grew up in country Victoria, and I moved out of country Victoria to the city to attend university when I was almost 18, and that’s not dissimilar to what most country kids tend to do,” Gourley told Pro Bono Australia News.
“If they want to go to university and get a professional career they have to move out of the country.
“I’ve seen a knowledge gap that exists between country and metropolitan.”
But he said country areas had a strong community focus and, therefore, the potential to become hubs for social enterprises.
“In the country when I was brought up I was very strong on community service,” he said.
“My family… got me involved in community service and not for profits and charities and those sorts of things.
“I want to take a leadership role in bringing knowledge to the region that can help transition Geelong into a vibrant, inclusive and growing regional powerhouse, one that has a strong social enterprise and community focus filled with opportunity.”
Geelong was chosen as the first regional location because, as Gourley explained, it’s already facing a period of transition.
“Manufacturing is shutting down and it’s a… regional type of area as well, even though it’s only an hour from Melbourne, it’s still experiencing a knowledge gap,” he said.
“It’s also a town that’s in a state of transition, so transitioning from being a manufacturing city potentially moving into being a digital city and, along with that, I think there’s also a lot of social enterprise… happening down there as well and it’s a good opportunity to help the region with that transition.”
The Geelong accelerator, launching Wednesday evening, will offer its flagship Activate and Amplify programs.
“We’ve offering exactly the same programs in Geelong that we would offer in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane,” Gourley said.
“Activate… is [for] people with an idea, so ideation, to help them build that idea into a minimum viable product.
“Then the Amplify program is for people who have a minimum viable product, or a product form or a business with some revenue that is making a difference, and then we help build capacity and scale in that business.
“Both of those programs are delivered in a cohort style… and that means the cohorts are working together on their own individual projects or solutions or businesses, but they’re all at a similar stage so they’re learning from mentors, industry experts, they’re being taken through a facilitated program that has a heavy focus on practical learning.
“That really helps them not only with the development of their project but teaches them how to be social entrepreneurs and that’s where we’re… shortening that knowledge gap, we’re bringing it closer. That’s why it’s important that the program they get in regional areas is exactly the same as the program we deliver in metropolitan cities.”
Applications for the programs open 1 December 2016 and close 6 January 2017.
Gourley also said One10 was looking to open accelerators in other regional locations.
“We’re inviting… any larger local government areas that are interested in having this sort of program, we’re calling for expressions of interest from them,” he said.
“We’ve received some from the likes of Newcastle, Wollongong, Wagga Wagga, and we’re definitely looking to branch into those areas as well over time.”