Enjoy this missive from Brisbane Australia, where some of our team travelled to participate in SEWF 2022.
Logan is a diverse neighbour to Brisbane where residents speak 217 languages. We embarked on a social enterprise bus tour to see some of the great work being down to support people, planet and community.
Substation33 makes lemons out of lemonade, turning trash into opportunity. First, we saw their new bottle sorting facility which has diverted nine million containers in the past five months. They designed and created their sorting warehouse, and it provides low barrier employment to 22 people.
The next stop was main SubStation33 which has been around for 10 years. There they work with volunteers to disassemble electronics and reuse the parts. Simon, the engineer in charge of innovation, showed us an impressive shop with 3D printers, CNC machines, auto cad and some impressive circuit schematics keep old laptops out of landfills and tackle community challenges. They make LED road signs that are activated by water sensors when roads flood. They bring in disengaged youth to make their own super-powerful portable speakers. They create powerwells which connect to solar panels and replace kerosene lighting in Indonesia. This light improves health, allows people to study and work into the evening and reduces pollution. They also made a solar powered coffee cart, entirely out of recycled materials. If we learned anything in Australia, coffee is key.
The third stop was yourtown, a national social enterprise that provides employment training to youth. The Logan location has programs for tool and safety training, landscaping and construction. The heads of the other branches in Australia were there and spoke about the different programs they offer which include digital marketing and a boutique saw mill.
The Centre for Women & Co. showcased a beautiful event and co-working space which supports the preventative augments to their support for women and children who face domestic violence. They created a picture book to help children with communication skills and challenging situations, a women’s wellness activity book and a campaign to champion sexual consent.
The last stop was Beenleigh Historical Village and Museum where we were welcomed with a traditional Indigenous ceremony from Spirits of the Red Sand. There they have a recreation of a historic Indigenous village which was designed to be moved every three months as the local food resources were depleted. They are growing a garden of native plants with medicinal and edible plants from bandage leaves, 12 month raspberries, to leaves that help cancer patients.
We finished the day invigorated by social enterprise potential and inspired to grow the movement to buy and sell with impact.