Friday, 2 October 2015

Rotary kick-starts social enterprise challenge

The winners, the Vogelmorn Community Group, (L to R): Phil Clatworthy, Jo Randerson and Cally O'Neill.
Social enterprise is the new wave model for the charitable sector and the Rotary Club of Wellington, NZ got involved at the ground floor level. 
The Rotary Club of Wellington Social Enterprise Kick-start is a challenge to support social enterprise with the club providing $10,000 to the top projects. 
The club partnered with the Ākina Foundation, a charity growing social enterprise across NZ, to run the Kick-start Social Enterprise Awards.  Social enterprises are purpose-driven organisations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact.
Ākina Foundation Chief Executive Alex Hannant said the Vogelmorn Community Group’s idea to re-envisage suburban connectivity and enterprise through developing the closed Vogelmorn Bowling Club into a community asset is an impressive inaugural winner.  “I can see this project reinvigorating the heart of Vogelmorn.  Bowling clubs were traditionally real community focus points, so re-creating that buzz and connection through social enterprise builds on our history.”
On behalf of the Vogelmorn Community Group, Jo Randerson said the team was delighted to receive the award of $7,000.  She said the funds would help their commercial kitchen venture, which enables locals to make and sell their own food products at markets and other outlets.
“It's very exciting to see Rotary supporting social enterprise, as this is a smart way to invest in communities growing with a very clear return on the investment in human terms,” Jo emphasised.
Alex said that competition between the six shortlisted finalists had been stiff.  The runner-up was Sew Good, a sewing co-operative within the Common Unity Project Aotearoa.  Sew Good received $3,000 with funds to be used to help empower people from vulnerable communities through the production of sewn garments and goods for gifting and sale.
“The Rotary Club of Wellington is the oldest Rotary Club in NZ (chartered in 1921).  They have been a supporter of some of New Zealand’s most valued social causes.  It’s fantastic to see them embracing this new generation of social enterprise,” Alex explained.
Wellington Rotary’s Vocational Committee Chair Andrew Miller offered that their members would also be available to support the successful ventures through access to networks, advice on accessing markets and business mentoring.
The community using the old Vogelmorn Bowling Club. 
Alex said the Ākina team was excited about this new opportunity to support social entrepreneurs thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of the Rotary Club of Wellington.
“We are hopeful this successful partnership will challenge others to get in behind social enterprise as an innovative way to tackle social and environmental challenges,” said Alex.
“We want to act as inspiration for other Rotary clubs around the country,” Andrew added. 
Rotary members watched three-minute videos submitted by the finalists on August 31 then cast votes to determine the winner and runner-up.  View all the finalists’ videos at
Go to or contact Andrew Miller via email to find out more.