Are you having a freak-out because you still have lots of Christmas shopping to do? If you live in Melbourne then these social enterprises can help you purchase the perfect gift. You can avoid the big shopping centres and the craziness that entails this time of year and buy gifts that not only will your family and friends love but you will be buying from businesses that do good in the world.
What is a social enterprise?
If you are not familiar with what a social enterprise is, it is a type of organisation that combines the social mission of a non-profit organization with the market-driven approach of a business. They are focused on creating positive social or environmental change, and they use a variety of business models to achieve this goal. Some common examples of social enterprises include businesses that sell fair trade or environmentally-friendly products, organisations that provide job training or employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals, and companies that use their profits to fund charitable causes. Social enterprises are often considered a type of “hybrid” organization, as they combine the best elements of both the non-profit and business worlds.
9 Melbourne based social enterprises
The Corner Store Network – located in Oakleigh it is an artisanal coffee roastery and food preservery blending food preservation, climate action and ethical/transparent supply chains. They make ethical, boutique, award-winning coffee, roasted daily and hand-made small batch preserves and spices. I have bought a few of their gift packs already this year and they were super popular with the recipients.
The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Shop – is a social enterprise which operates on consignment. Makers take home a higher percentage of the sale price than traditional wholesale and then 100% of the profits go back into the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre and supporting Victorian Women through creative and community projects. The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Shop has a carefully curated marketplace showcasing locally sourced products by women and non-binary artists, designers and makers. It is located in the CBD and you can see its opening hours here. I purchased their beautiful calendar last year 2023 calendar pictured above) and can recommend that – I will be keeping the calendar and using some of the illustrations!
QArt Gallery – is an Australian Disability Enterprise that provides employment, mentoring, and training for professional artists with intellectual and physical disabilities. The employment and recognition afforded to the artists gives them a sense of pride in who they are and what they do and an identity in the community. They are located in Kew but you can also purchase items online. I love the original painting Colourful Piggy (2021) By Jarrod Wendt pictured above.
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Shop – 100% of profits from every item sold will be invested in the ASRC programs that help support and empower people seeking asylum, making real change possible in their journey to freedom. This means help to provide people seeking asylum with access to food, housing and healthcare as well as legal aid, education and employment support. They offer click-and-collect for Melbourne-based customers from ASRC Catering, 321 St George’s Road, Fitzroy North.
Meals With Impact – is a work-integrated social enterprise that employs women from migrant & refugee backgrounds to co-design and produce culturally appropriate meals to meet the diverse needs of disadvantaged CALD communities. You can buy meals for yourself, order their Christmas Extravaganza menu or buy vouchers for someone else. If you are not in their delivery area you can do pick up from Prahran.
The Beautiful Bunch – is a Melbourne-based floral delivery service bringing joy through flowers and creating jobs for women from refugee backgrounds. The women they work with face significant challenges to securing a job in Australia. The purpose of Beautifu Bunch is to support them to build the confidence, skills, and social networks needed to find meaningful employment. They are located in Fitzroy but do delivery so you can check to see if they will deliver to you. They have some beautiful Christmas wreaths and hampers currently available at the moment.
Yarra View & Bushland Flora Nursery – is Australia’s largest social enterprise nursery, employing over 85 adults with an intellectual disability. They assist people to realise their full potential in the supported employment environment, giving them skills, confidence and opportunity. The nursery is located in Mt Evelyn but they do offer delivery within a 25km radius. They have a great range of indoor plants, outdoor plants, bonsai, succulents and more.
SisterWorks – is a not-for-profit social enterprise, based in Melbourne. Through work and entrepreneurship, their mission is to support women who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants to improve their confidence, mental well-being, sense of belonging and economic outlook. They have an online store and physical retail store in Bridge Rd Richmond which sell unique, quality gifts made with love by refugee and migrant women living in Victoria like the cute earrings pictured above.
Free to Feed – is a social enterprise that empowers people seeking asylum and refugees to overcome barriers to social and economic inclusion in Australia through training, employment and psycho-social support and the delivery of shared food experiences.
You can buy yourself or a voucher for a friend for a Free to Feed Cooking Experience. They are not your average cooking class. They are designed to aid in the exchange of powerful memories, form life long connections, shape conversations and celebrate the ambition of newly arrived people. Click here to read more about the instructors, their menus and dietary information! You can buy vouchers here.
Have you shopped at a Melbourne social enterprise? If so, drop a link in the comments below.
This post is part of the 2022 Christmas Planning series on the blog. You can find other posts in the series here including more gift idea lists and planning checklists.