Social enterprise is at the forefront of innovation

Sheena Ireland
Fri 07 Jul

Groups and individuals are creating businesses designed to make a social impact—to solve local and global problems and create a sustainable future for us all.

In Canberra, The Mill House Social Enterprise Accelerator has launched, and we are seeing more and more new social entrepreneurs emerge each year.

With consumers becoming somewhat more aware of the power of their dollar, these social entrepreneurs are establishing businesses that help all of us improve our local communities and change the world.



At The Mill House Social Enterprise Accelerator program launch this week, I sat next to the wonderful Nip Wijewickrema, who together with her family created GG’s Flowers, a social enterprise that provides employment opportunities for disabled people and provides real (award) wages for their work. Currently, organisations can pay disabled people below the award wage, making it hard for a disabled person to gain independence and live a life they want. The power you have when you shop with social enterprise GG’s Flowers is that you can contribute to providing a disabled person in Canberra with a real wage. This impact is significant; you can change lives for the better.

The power of our consumer dollar was also highlighted at a recent ‘baby party’ at Wisdom Learning, Canberra Airport. This party was hosted by Australian social enterprise Thankyou and by ‘business real’ podcast The Business Experiment, which includes local dynamo Jemimah Ashleigh (founder and owner of Tangs Design and Epic Social) and Brisbane-based business coach Shevonne Joyce.



The party was held to raise awareness of Thankyou’s new baby and toddler products range, which has been brought to market to fund infant and maternal health programs in developing countries. These products follow the Thankyou series of quality bathroom products and food items, which have been on our shelves for a few years and when purchased, help fight to eradicate global poverty.

Thankyou state that “Almost a billion people live in extreme poverty, while six billion people don't. We reckon the six billion of us could work together to put an end to global poverty, for good”.

To help us all end global poverty, Thankyou has brought quality everyday products to market for consumers just like us to purchase and contribute to global support programs. By purchasing Thankyou water, you are donating to a good cause. By purchasing Thankyou handwash, you are supporting a good cause. Because 100 percent of the profits from Thankyou products go towards programs aimed to eradicate global poverty.

While co-founders Daniel and Justine Flynn acknowledge the struggles in starting their social enterprise, their innovative approach has raised $5.5 million for people in need. And their products will continue to raise even more funds with an international expansion on the cards and the profits from Daniel Flynn’s new book, Chapter One, also going into this pool.

And Chapter One is an innovation success on its own. Written in a format designed to challenge your thinking, and at a price point that you decide ($1, $100, $100,000, you choose what you wish to pay), this innovative book has raised over $1.75 million towards Thankyou’s next idea, which we have no doubt will push us closer towards ending global poverty. Because people power can make a difference.


What social challenge could you help solve through social entrepreneurship?