While there is no “one size fits all” definition to social enterprise, I have come to understand it as a business that uses the market for social good.
From my experience volunteering, as well as exposure to large bureaucratic institutions that are out to “change the world.” I find the former challenging to keep volunteers long enough to create sustainable change (retention is low). While the latter requires so many systems and procedures that “good intentions” often result in poor social impact (form over substance).
While the space is still very young in Melbourne, I hope and believe social enteprises will pave a way to both a sustainable, pragmatic way of doing good. I interview Kirsty McKenzie from Good 2 Go by Youth Projects and get her insights on doing good.
What does Good 2 Go do?
Good Coffee Good 2 Go by Youth Projects, is a social enterprise on Hosier Lane where all profits & donations help support people at risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness, poverty & hardship. It is located adjacent to the Youth Projects service, The Living Room, which is a drop in centre run for and utilised by the disadvantaged community. We know that for many young people, there are a number of unreasonable barriers for gaining real work experience leaving a large number of young people unable to break into the job market. Our space provides an achievable, friendly way to take that first step and break down barriers to confidence & experience through hospitality & life skills training for people of all ages through job services agencies. It is also an area more likely to provide entry level job opportunities for young people. Moreover, we are able to take on people with complex backgrounds and current mental health issues as relevant mental health experts from the attached medical clinic can work hand in hand with our café staff to create an individualised plan for each trainee that meets their unique requirements.
How did Good 2 Go start?
Good 2 Go opened up in November last year when Youth Projects decided to put its high value real estate in Hosier Lane to better use. I was hired to help open up the cafe which involved an all rounded experience from sourcing the products we use, to decorating the interior of the cafe space. I have poured a big part of my personality into the cafe, so in turn my love for coffee & street art are a prominent, sometimes chaotic theme here at Good 2 Go.
Can you share one instance where you have empowered somebody, who would not have otherwise gained skills through Good 2 Go?
One of the rewards of the job is seeing long term unemployed people who have been highly excluded & vulnerable transform into skilled & confident employees with a very different future. We have seen a rapid transformation in people who have been held back by many challenges in terms of mental health or homelessness, who have since discovered their self-worth by returning to study & employment. My work at Good 2 Go can be genuinely life changing day to day.
What coffee are you serving?
We decided to go with Rumble because not only is their Haymaker blend the best coffee going around, they are a Melbourne based business, with their Roastery being located in Kensington. As much as we can, we like to support local businesses when choosing suppliers for all of our products. The boys at Rumble are great guys to collaborate with & since the beginning of our relationship in November, they always had the fact that we are a not-for-profit high on their list by providing us with the best products at a great price & with top notch service.
What can somebody do to assist the work you are doing?
We are not-for-profit so if any suppliers want to donate key ingredients and necessities to reduce costs so we can direct our limited funding towards our training, education and medical programs. We are also always on the lookout for sponsors for potential expansions to the site so that we can ensure we are reaching our potential as a training site. We are also looking for job opportunities and more work experience for our trainees, meaning that if there are other businesses or organsiations who would like to offer further work experience or employment for our dedicated young people, we would love to open up that conversation. We also have accredited barista and retail training course that you can enrol in where the proceeds also support our work at Youth Projects.
On an individual level, you can also donate a “pay it forward” coffee over the counter at good 2 Go – buy a drink or coffee for someone in need, or head to our website to make a contribution to the work accomplished at Youth Projects.
Any other thoughts you would like to share?
When you support us you support projects that make a long term impact and meaningful change in people’s lives. We don’t want to just see people on the streets being more comfortable but want to work towards eradicating homelessness by helping people to not only attain employed but sustain it. It’s hard work & involves many types of support, but we all win in the end if everybody is doing better in our community.
Good 2 Go is located at 7-9 Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Telephone: 9945 2116