Social Scenes: Queensland

When we were in Brisbane (to see some amazing friends and watch England get beat in the cricket, booo!), we also took the opportunity to connect with local social enterprises. Wr always knew that Australia is one of the countries at the forefront of all things sustainable. So many books, bloggers, and products seem to emerge from Australia and New Zealand that are all organic, ethical and socially conscious. So, we decided to meet the local leaders in Brisbane and discovered a thriving scene.

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First of all, we visited Mu’ooz Eritrean Restaurant, it’s close to a busy street of restaurants and cafes in the West End. So it’s super easy to visit and it is delicious! Now we don’t know about you, but we’ve never tried Eritrean food before and it is delicious. The restaurant is a Social Enterprise that supports refugee women from Africa to gain employment, education and most importantly, confidence in themselves. The organisation behind the restaurant is Eritrean Australian Women & Family Support Network, and they have supported 160 women already and 97% of the women are still in employment! That’s pretty impressive.

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When we spoke to the owner, she recommended us to go to a social enterprise café down the road from the restaurant – Just Earth. The café donates its money to the Just Earth Foundation, which runs a program that focuses on supporting product development and business development for women disadvantaged in the labour market.

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At the café we met the owner Amelia Salmon, who also at the time was the chairperson of the Queensland Social Enterprise Council, and we chatted about the situation in the state and beyond. Like many social enterprises, the biggest issue is raising the money for the work that they do. The café is wonderful and definitely a place we were happy to spend a few hours in. Their plan is to start a coffee subscription company through the café, in that way supporting the social enterprise more. What we did learn is that there is a lot of dedicated people in Queensland doing their best to start changing the way that business is run, it’s not always easy, but always worthwhile.

Another favourite, is a great place to work on your laptop in Brisbane with free WiFi - Campos. Apart from the delicious food and coffee, the friendly staff and a great environment, they also source their coffee ethically and sustainably. They invest in the communities where they source their coffee, as they say: "For us, good ethics means more than just avoiding bad practice. It means actively supporting good practice and helping improve the education and living standards of all the communities we work with." Now that's a tasty cup of coffee!