Four social enterprises – Good Cycles, CareerSeekers, Dismantle and Hotel Housekeeping – have received $500,000 in combined funding from Westpac Foundation to help create employment pathways.

With an aim to create 1,500 new opportunities over the next two years, the social enterprises will design jobs that support individuals who face barriers to mainstream employment, including youth at risk, people with a lived experience of mental illness, refugees and asylum seekers.

Westpac Foundation CEO Susan Bannigan says, “This funding comes at a crucial time, helping these organisations sustain operations in their local community, while also allowing them to start mapping their future growth plans.”

Good Cycles and CareerSeekers will each receive $200,000 over two years, extending the Foundation’s existing support for these social enterprises to 2022. Previously, in 2017 both organisations received a three-year grant which has helped them create 454 jobs and 527 employment pathways over the last three years.

“The Foundation is focused on long-term outcomes. We’re looking forward to continuing to work closely with these social enterprises to help them become self-sustaining businesses,” says Bannigan.

Dismantle and Hotel Housekeeping will each receive $50,000 over 12 months to help strengthen their businesses as they prepare to scale up.

For Western Australian based social enterprise, Dismantle, this is an exciting opportunity to leverage the networks and expertise of Westpac to help them grow a new arm of their business, designed to create more job opportunities for youth at risk.

“This partnership with Westpac Foundation has come at an ideal time, we have been expanding our social enterprise ‘ReNew Property Maintenance’ in leaps and bounds. With youth unemployment continuing to rise, it’s initiatives like ours that will help to create much needed opportunities,” says Pat Ryan, CEO of Dismantle.

Dismantle has been operating in Perth for over ten years, working to re-engage some 2,000 at-risk young people through their hands-on training and support programs centred around bike mechanics and repairs as a mechanism to break down trust barriers and build rapport.

In 2019, Dismantle founded ReNew Property Maintenance, a gardening and property maintenance social enterprise to provide paid, entry-level employment for disadvantaged young people. To date, ReNew has provided over 60 employment opportunities.

“Many young people already face a number of barriers to workforce participation yet they’re fighting through with courage to secure themselves a job. Innovative employment programs like ours that provide early-employment opportunities are proving an important first step for
young people needing help to get started in their career,” says Ryan.

Beyond financial support, the social enterprises will also receive pro bono professional support and access to leadership development programs, legal support, and financial capability training via Westpac’s Changemaker program.

“The collaborative support we offer through program partners like MinterEllison and Social Impact Hub, provide access to expert skills and resources.

“This non-financial support has become integral in driving these deeper relationships with each of our social enterprise partners,” added Ms Bannigan.

Westpac Foundation welcomes potential funders and organisations who are interested in investing in social enterprise for job creation to connect with the Foundation. Its goal is to have a collaborative funding and support model in place for 100% of its social enterprise partners by 2025.