Social Enterprises now ready to grow

Ready, Set, Grow! a program assisting new or existing businesses considering the social enterprise route, will return in 2023.

A second Ready, Set, Grow! program will be delivered early in the new year by Runway Ballarat, this time with a focus on Creative Industries to consider how to grow their business.

Six businesses attended the initial workshop in 2022, with four continuing through all stages of the program. Those successful businesses were Zero Plastics, Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill, Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre and Ballarat Art Therapies.

The Ready, Set, Grow! program is funded by the City of Ballarat as part of a two-year strategic partnership arrangement.

Social enterprises are businesses that are led by an economic, social, cultural or environmental mission focused on benefiting the community. They derive most of their income from trade, rather than donations or grants.

After hearing from experts in the field and examining the pros and cons for their business, participants can choose to continue through the program to explore their own mission, set up the foundations for a social enterprise and receive coaching and support to work out their own specific social enterprise business operating model.

The Ready, Set, Grow! program aligns with the City of Ballarat Council Plan 2021-2025 goal to support a strong and innovative economy and city; and more specifically, to support local businesses to explore, innovate and adapt to emerging economic opportunities.

City of Ballarat Councillor Tracey Hargreaves said it shouldn’t be underestimate how much social enterprises can contribute to our community.

“Social enterprises play an important role in driving economic growth whilst also addressing important social, environmental or cultural issues,” she said.

“There is a place for more of them in Ballarat, and Council is very pleased to provide support to see this sector grow.”

Adam Slater from Zero Plastics said participating in the 2022 program really opened the door to a large range of helpful knowledge and expertise.

“The ability to discuss the ins and outs of my business with experts, was incredibly beneficial, they alerted me to issues and opportunities within my business that I didn’t even know existed,” he said.

“The discussions and casual learning style made it super easy for us to open up and talk about anything. With super helpful hints and tips, it taught me the foundations on what is needed to have a successful business.”

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