Exceptional Magazine : 2017 Exceptional Magazine
29 Exceptional Australia 2017 Q What inspired you to start STREAT? A My partner and I had worked at a similar social enterprise, KOTO, for two years, and I could see there was a need for a global and scalable social enterprise model to help homeless youth. I gave up my decade- long job at the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) to pursue the idea, and we co-founded STREAT after four years of researching the enterprise while undertaking unpaid volunteer work at KOTO. Q What is unique about STREAT? A STREAT is a hospitality social enterprise that tackles youth disadvantage and homelessness by providing life skills, support, work experience and training to young people aged between 16 and 25 in Melbourne. Tastes good, does good Social entrepreneur When STREAT looks at each of its young people, it doesn’t see them as homeless, criminals, drug addicts or mentally unwell ... We pioneered one of Australia’s first equity investment in a social enterprise with the acquisition of the Social Roasting Company, which operated two cafés and a coffee roastery. We have a team of baristas, chefs and bakers as well as a team of psychologists, social workers and youth workers, who all work together to support and train the most complex young people. Q What is the ethos behind STREAT? A STREAT provides a place to belong that gives ‘unconditional positive regard’ with a strengths-based, holistic and integrated approach. We focus on three key areas: Healthy self — providing individualised case management and coordination of specialist services (including detox, juvenile justice and mental health), a life skills program, and involvement in creative and recreational social activities Healthy job — providing a pathway of training and employment opportunities, with extensive work experience and a supported transition into open employment Healthy home — working with specialist housing providers to ensure our young people have a safe and affordable home Q Was it difficult to obtain funding in Australia? A We needed significant start-up capital, which was unlikely to be found in Australia, so we ended up with Danish philanthropists backing us. We have continued to seek oversees supporters, and STREAT’s growth has now been powered with investment and philanthropy from Australia, Denmark, the US and the UK. Q What are your plans for STREAT? A Over the last five years, STREAT has worked with more than 600 young people, and with the upcoming scaling of the business, we aim to be working with 250 young people each year by the end of 2017. If we achieve our goal to change a life every mealtime by 2022, that’s 1,095 young people each year. I am determined to build a globally operating social enterprise that can shift the dial on youth disadvantage and poverty. We are already 70% self-funded and expect to reach complete financial self-sufficiency within the next three years. This is an enormous milestone that will have national as well as international significance. By 2019, STREAT aims to be helping 365 young people each year and to be completely self-funded through its business operations. It hopes to be changing a life every mealtime by 2022. it sees young superheroes who are yet to discover their superpowers.
2016 Exceptional Magazine