STREAT CEO Wins Entrepreneur Award
2 November 2016 at 10:41 am
Rebecca Scott, CEO and co-founder of Melbourne-based social enterprise STREAT, which aims all to stop youth homelessness and disadvantage, has won the 2016 EY Entrepreneurs of the Year award in the social category.
Scott was commended for her strong business sense and the scalability of the STREAT model.
“One of the things that became really clear that they were looking for in the judging process… was just really clear evidence of scalability and an ability to be really strategic in that scalability,” Scott told Pro Bono Australia News.
“And then the other thing that was really important… is that the business model that can allow you get to financial sustainability longer term.
“So I think they were two factors for us, that were very much built into our model, in our DNA, that we’re trying to scale to the level of the issue, and also getting to that point of complete financial sustainability longer term where we can do a large amount of social impact, yet at the same time be standing on our own two feet.”
Earlier this year, STREAT announced it would triple its social impact with a new flagship location in Collingwood, Victoria, in addition to its seven other hospitality businesses which provide training and employment to youth.
The new site is expected to see STREAT grow from a $3.5 million to a $10 million organisation, it will also go from helping 120 young people per year to 365.
“Bec has established a strong and sustainable business model to create opportunities for disadvantaged youth,” the judges said of Scott.
“She is extremely passionate about her cause, collaborating locally and globally to provide the best possible support for some of our most marginalised. She is a strategic thinker, and a very impressive entrepreneur.”
Scott said the key to sustainability and scalability is “a really, really long-term vision”.
“If you came to our office and looked on our wall, what you’d see is a picture of the next 50 years from all the kind of global mega trends that are happening,” she said.
“And then of course what you’re trying to do is then bring that back to bite sized chunks that you can do a lot earlier than 50 years.
“So we’ll always… be looking out decades and decades ahead to what the future of the world is going to be and who’s going to be marginalised in that future, who’s going to not be in employment and training, who’s going to be left behind.
“And what we’re then doing is always having quite concrete plan around what does the next 10 years look like.
“And then we have a very deep business plan that we do for three years.”
She said this long-term approach would also help the not-for-profit sector.
“I know no many not for profits do that, but I think that long-term forecasting is what you need to do if you’re going to be really addressing issues for the longer term, because the social issues that we’re trying to address don’t get solved easily,” she said.
“They’re not problems that pop up and you fix in six months or nine months or a couple of years. They’re really long-term, systemic issues that you’re trying to grapple with that are very complex and have a lot of moving parts to those problems.
“So the only way really you can address them is taking a really long-term horizon view.”
But she said the passion of the social sector was just as important.
“For me the way to keep that passion is thinking about that long-term stuff, thinking about the world. What we’re trying to do is imagine a different future,” she said.
“We can see the things that are coming down the pipeline for the planet in the next 50 years and we can see where there’s going to be some real pain points, but what we have an ability to do now is decide that we want the future to be different.
“For me it’s that real dreaming about what’s the alternative future that we want for the world, and that’s where the passion for me really comes in. And in my mind, so much of that is around hope.
“What it gives us is that ability to try to make sure we create a better future for our people and the hope that we, as a collection of people, can rally together and bring about systemic changes to make sure that less people get impacted by what is going to be a really rocky future with things like climate change and increasing urbanisation and massive changes to the way we’re going to work.
“So what we need to do [is] paint an alternative future for those people.”