Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson is urging northern rivers businesses to embrace a new way of operating that is set to revolutionise the local economy – and place the region at the cutting edge of a global shift in consciousness.
Cr Richardson is championing the idea of ‘social enterprise’ and is keen to explore some innovations to the way Council operates.
‘Social enterprise is exploding across Europe as corporate leaders support social leaders to support socially sustainable practices to assist the whole community,’ Cr Richardson said.
The revolutionary idea is the focus of a day-long event being held in Byron Bay on November 22, the first-ever Northern Rivers Social Enterprise Symposium. Cr Richardson will be attending the symposium to hear from the expert lineup and he hopes to inspire other business people in the area to follow suit.
‘The importance of the symposium is in bringing together those committed to seeing all members of the community enriched by how we operate. This symposium has the capacity to create the most profound change in how we view social assistance,’ he said.
‘Council sees it as a perfect example of all aspects of our community coming together to solve social issues. It’s about community and business leaders and politicians coming together to ensure that the adage of “hand up rather than a hand out’ becomes a reality rather than just a slogan.’
Cr Richardson is hoping to walk away from the presentations at the symposium with some concrete ideas to implement into Council operations.
Former Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot will be speaking at the Symposium’s Breakfast Forum, along with Gold Coast City Council procurement officer Peter Morichovitis and other experts in the field. Cheryl is now a director at the Centre for Social Impact and a leader on social business ideas.
A social enterprise is a business that trades with social or environmental purposes as a priority. It’s a concept that goes all the way from the local corner store to the big banks, and it’s gaining momentum on a global scale as people see the need to move from ‘greed’ to ‘good’ as a motivating factor for their livelihoods.
The environment, the marginalised, the disadvantaged, the long-term unemployed, those with a disability – they are the winners with social enterprise. But businesses win as well.
Symposium convenor Sasha Graham from the Northern Rivers Social Development Council said social enterprise is growing and represents $2.5 trillion global social investment potential.
‘It is revolutionary! It is how we eventually will become sustainable as a region – ultimately our economy is diversified,’ she said.
The all-day Social Enterprise Symposium will be held at Byron Theatre, Byron Community Centre on November 22. A separate Business Breakfast Forum on Social Procurement will be held at Belongil Bistro that morning.
Tickets are now available from Byron Community Centre.