Community Business

Scurr brothers drive lucky Car 13 to bring in fruit for the Flying Doctor.

QUEENSLAND fruit producers, Gavin and Stephen Scurr of Piñata Farms and their vehicle - a 1971 Holden panel van - have conquered some of the roughest outback roads in Australia to complete the 2014 Outback Car Trek in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Piñata Farms managing director Gavin Scurr and north Queensland operations manager, Stephen Scurr, completed the rally to raise funds to support the work of the RFDS in remote and regional Australia. 

Despite Car 13 - also known as Roy the HG - losing a wheel after crossing from Tanami in the Northern Territory en route to Halls Creek in Western Australia on day two, the brothers completed the journey unscathed and inspired to enter the 2015 rally.

"We were driving over 300 kilometres of corrugated sand dunes when the front left arm broke off the wheel. We had never seen corrugation that bad for so long. At least six cars had their chassis' break or their engines blow up and were unable to complete the trek," managing director Gavin Scurr said.

"We also blew some shock absorbers that day and had to draw on all our bush mechanic skills to get our car back on the road.

"It was such an incredible event to be part of. We saw some remote and spectacular parts of Australia that very few people ever see.

"Whether it was the sheer scale and colour of the Pilbara mountain ranges to driving more than 1,000 kilometres on private roads through vast cattle stations or past old gold and copper mining towns, no two days were the same."

Gavin said there was only one moment when they took a wrong turn, deep in the heart of remote north-western Western Australia but quickly back-tracked and found their way.

"There were no signposts, very few towns and virtually no cars. In two days, we passed only five cars and for two days we had no reception whatsoever, so we had to rely on our wits. Stephen and I shared the driving and navigating and both roles were pretty challenging."

Most nights were spent camping under the stars where a bright Milky Way put on a spectacular show, he said.

Team Piñata Farms raised approximately $13,000 for the RFDS through corporate sponsorship and public donations.

The Scurrs set off from Piñata's home farm at Wamuran, south-east Queensland on May 28 to travel to Alice Springs, Northern Territory to start the 6,250 kilometre rally. In total, they drove more than 10,000 kilometres in two weeks.

Some 285 participants in 78 2WD vehicles supported by 23 4WD cars entered the 12-day rally from Alice Springs to the Margaret River region of Western Australia via Broome from June 2-13. Together they raised approximately $1.5 million to support the work of the RFDS in remote and regional Australia.

The trek has become the largest single fundraising venture for the RFDS each year and, in its history, has raised more than $22 million.

Car 13 is being transported back to Wamuran where it will be prepared for the 2015 trek from Mildura in Victoria to Byron Bay, New South Wales.

Founded by pineapple farmer Geoff Scurr at Wamuran, Piñata Farms is now operated by his sons, Gavin and Stephen Scurr.

Piñata Farms is the largest pineapple producer in Australia, one of the largest strawberry producers and founder of specialty mango, the Honey Gold, produced in every mainland state except South Australia.



POSTED JUNE 20, 2014

QUT philanthropy survey wants feedback from professional advisors

A Queensland University of Technology researcher is investigating the role professional advisors play in encouraging wealthy Australians to give philanthropically. An important survey on the issue closes on May 31.

The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), within the QUT Business School, is calling for volunteers to complete a 10-minute online questionnairre which will help guide the future of Australian philanthropy.

The 2014 Study of Professional Advisers and Philanthropy, which will assess the willingness of professional advisors to discuss philanthropy with their clients, is the fourth study of professional advisors by the ACPNS since 2002. 

Professional advisors working with clients on issues such as tax, accounting, financial planning, legal matters, estate planning, trusts, banking, wealth management, or other medium to long-term financial matters are being invited to participate.

“While Australians generally are quite generous, Australia’s wealthy (on average) are not donating as much to charities as their counterparts in the US, UK and Canada, despite their wealth growing at a much faster rate than their level of donation,” lead study author Stephanie Boldeman, said.

“There is an increasing trend since 2002 among Australian advisers to include philanthropy in their suite of services for wealthy clients.”

Acting director of the ACPNS, Wendy Scaife, said the findings from the study would feed into an Australian body of research into attitudes towards philanthropy and also be measured against findings from similar studies from the US, UK and Canada.

“We want to know what advisors think about discussing philanthropy with their clients who may be able to give to their community, and what they think about helping clients plan their giving,” Dr Scaife said.

“What’s the current state of play? Do advisors see there are particular constraints on their capacity to provide advice to clients on philanthropy?”

To complete the online survey, which closes May 31, click here.


POSTED MAY 25, 2014.

Australian Business and Community Network continues to help challenged students

THE Australian Business and Community Network’s (ABCN) Scholarship Foundation has provided 12 scholarships to support promising Year 11 and 12 high school students.  

The ABCN Foundation, launched this year, provides financial and mentoring support to talented students who are facing economic, family or social challenges that are impacting on their studies.

The 12 scholarships have been awarded to high needs, high potential students across Australia with winners receiving a mentor and $7000 in financial support over Year 11, Year 12 and their first year of tertiary education.

The scholarships available in 2013 have been funded by the Navitas Education Trust, KPMG, Norton Rose Fulbright PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. ABCN CEO Jacqui Jones said, “Selecting students to receive our scholarships was a heartening experience. All the applicants are talented, aspirational young people who are achieving excellent results at school despite great challenges.“Next year, we hope to raise funds to provide even more scholarships for these amazing students.”

Building on the success of the National Doug Jukes Memorial Scholarships developed in remembrance of Doug Jukes, former CEO of KPMG, the Scholarship Foundation was launched by the Australian Business and Community Network in July this year.

Ms Jones said ABCN is a coalition of 35 national and global companies that are engaged in providing mentoring programs for students from over 200 high needs schools across Australia.

“Members of the organisation include companies such as the Commonwealth Bank, Goldman Sachs, Minter Ellison Lawyers, Microsoft and Qantas among many others,” she said.“The CEOs of all of the member companies are on the ABCN Council.” ABCN provides a variety of programs, which focus on building critical skills, developing leaders and raising the aspirations of students.

The programs, which are fully funded by the member companies and take place within the corporate environment, give students access to mentors who are business professionals and allows them insight into the working world.

Ms Jones said the Scholarship Foundation allows ABCN to provide financial and further mentoring support to talented students, many of whom have participated in ABCN’s programs, and require extra support to reach their potential.



Women’s Heart Link Network groups expand in Victoria, reach 200 worldwide

WOMEN in South Melbourne and surrounding communities have for the past year discovered women's networking to be one of the most valuable marketing tools for strengthening business contacts and connections, through the expanding Heart Link Network. Another new Victorian Heart Link Network group has started at Essendon, growing the organisation to 19 in Victoria and beyond 200 locations worldwide.

The Heart Link Network is very upfront about helping professional women develop their businesses.


The Heart Link Network has also opened up chapters on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Dubbo in New South Wales and in Walkley Heights in South Australia. Most other groups are in the Americas, with a handful spread across the globe including Indonesia and Malaysia, at this stage.

The Heart Link Network group in Essendon is led by Helen Bozikis, a manager with SendOutCards.

“It is a great honour and privilege to serve as a Heart Link Women's Networking leader for Essendon, Victoria Australia, providing women entrepreneurs a wonderful opportunity to showcase, grow and strengthen their businesses while supporting other women to do the same,” Ms Bozikis said.  
The Heart Link Network was created in the US by Dawn L Billings, an executive coach and sought-after prsenter.  
A psychology and personality expert, and author of more than 20 books, Ms Billings was selected as one of the US’s 80 emerging women leaders by Oprah magazine and The White House Project. 
One year after launching The Heart Link Women's Network South Melbourne, that group is proudly serving women business professionals in the South Melbourne area and delivering exceptional value to the community, said founder Michelle Amarant. 
Ms Amarant said she loves being able to help “create an environment in Victoria where women small business professionals can connect, help one another grow, expand their circle of influence, and market their business in a fun and effective way”. 
Ms Amarant is an independent distributor with SendOutCards and said the real value of the group was how it encouraged and empowered women small business professionals to create heartfelt, meaningful relationships with one another that will in turn strengthen their communities.
"I started the South Melbourne Heart Link Chapter in 2012 and it has been a great honour to serve as a Heart Link Women's Networking leader providing women entrepreneurs a wonderful opportunity to showcase, grow and strengthen their businesses while connecting to the hearts of the women in their communities,” Ms Arant said.
“My passions are living an authentic life, enjoying the freedom to do the things I love and to help others to also live a full and passionate life.
”The Heart Link Network  meetings allow women to showcase their businesses in three minute sessions and also devote time for socialising and connecting with one another."

The Heart Link Network also has a special program to honour women in the community who are normally excluded from networking, including teachers, new mothers, nurses, firefighters, police and military women.

“For over 15 years I dedicated my life to helping women and children in my family practice. I loved mentoring women and teaching children to dream,” founder Ms Billings said.
“Helping to strengthen and heal broken relationships, and enhancing client’s ability to communicate. I wrote over 20 books because I believed I could help more people with books than I could sitting in my office.
“But just over four years since launching The Heart Link Network, I feel I am helping women better than ever before. The Heart Link Network connects and links women to new ideas, resources, products and services that help them succeed.
“My dream is that every woman will be fortunate enough to attend a Heart Link Networking meeting, and experience the gift of connection they find there.”
According to Heart Link Network president, Laura Wells, the organisation now has more locations than any other professional women’s networking organisation. Meeting fees are a nominal $20 which includes a light meal as well as a company-exclusive spot at the meeting. There is no up-front membership fee required.
"The Heart Link Women’s Network offers many great marketing benefits to our attendees, our leaders, and their chapter sponsors,” said Ms Wells.
“Women that are small business professionals need ways to market their products and services that are inexpensive, fun, and best of all effective. The Heart Link Network provides exceptional marketing for women both online and in the community.
“The Heart Link Network is partnered with the TROVA Women Business Directory, which is ranked at the top of the first pages of all major search engines. If women want to succeed, they need to investigate The Heart Link Network.”

Women who want to find out about the new Essendon group can learn more at



Buffed shines as community franchisees gain a commercial foothold

SOME of Australia's prime commercial property locations are successfully getting Buffed through a new franchise service system that is helping people re-engage with business and employment.

Buffed set up two free shoe shining sites in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall at the front of the Body Shop's Brisbane Arcade location, for Father's Day.


Five of Australia's largest commercial property managers have already partnered with Buffed - a social enterprise shoe shining and leather care service - using the opportunity to enhance their building services while doing a good turn.

In November 2011, Buffed - widely acknowledged as Australia's first social franchise - launched the first of 10 shoe shining sites from GPT's Riverside Centre, in Eagle St, Brisbane. Buffed is supported by the Wise Foundation - the organisation behind The Big Issue magazine program - The Body Shop, UQ Business School and the Bank of Queensland (BOQ).

GPT CEO Michael Cameron said the group's properties became involved because of the way Buffed assists people excluded from the workforce to develop their own micro business around professional shoe shining and leather care.

The relationship Buffed built with GPT has helped Alan Ely re-engage in the workforce and become a successful franchisee, "giving him the opportunity to build his own personal relationship with building tenants", Mr Cameron said.

"I broke my back and had to live off of the disability pension for 15 years. I eventually got sick of it and wanted to reengage in the workforce and Buffed was the perfect opportunity for me to do that," Mr Ely said.

"Everybody is now so time poor, the little things like shining your shoes are taking time away from more important things, like playing with your kids."

GPT also supported the first Melbourne launch through its location at 530 Collins St, and Mr Cameron said GPT would continue to be an integral part of Buffed franchisors' development.

Founding member of Buffed, the Bank of Queensland (BOQ), saw potential in the social franchise and successfully negotiated to have a shoe shining stand setup in the BOQ Centre located at 259 Queen St on December 2011.

In April 2012, the diversified property group Stockland came on board to offer Buffed a site on the Eagle St Pier, giving Buffed the chance to shine in the iconic Brisbane waterfront precinct.

That location became the territory of ‘show shine artisan' Jimme Jam, who has been with Buffed since the beginning and has helped develop the brand and customer base for over a year.

"Buffed was a start, an acorn, a creation from anything. It could have gone anywhere and that's what I liked about it," Mr Jam said.

"This is the best job I have ever had. I get to be personal with people all day and I am my own boss."

Queensland Rail supported the opening of Buffed's fifth site at Brisbane's Central Station, and will soon open an additional franchise at Roma St Station.

Property group Investa saw the potential and value of offering up space to Buffed in buildings in both Brisbane, at 239 George St, and Melbourne at 120 Collins St.

Investa chairman Scott McDonald said Investa believed in innovation and "knowing and appreciating a good idea" when they see it is key to building a strong business.

This is exactly what Mr McDonald saw in Buffed, an opportunity to help support and develop a business that has good principles and strong ethics.

Mr McDonald said corporate social responsibility is an integral part of Investa's business principles and the company has continued to show support to the two Buffed franchisees in their locations.

It was a similar approach from motoring club RACV, which  saw the potential to offer their members a new service which added to the headquarters' already extensive list of amenities and exclusive member services.

Buffed's planned expansion into Melbourne was bolstered by the RACV's forward thinking in supporting Buffed to manage and grow the premium service at the 501 Bourke St site.

Buffed franchises are expanding with two new sites set to open in Brisbane this month at 123 Albert St (Rio Tinto) and 111 George St (Queensland State Government) buildings.

A Buffed spokesperson said the progressive thinking of these property investment groups has not only delivered a high quality service to their clientele, it has also helped change the lives of individuals who were long term unemployed and are now shoe shine artisans and business franchisees in their own right.

"The franchisees who have been given the opportunity to buy into a franchise and be placed into a location where they are supported by workers and industry alike has helped spurn on their business and in turn change their lives."



Computer 'toxics' are bubbling away beneath the surface

AN INTERNATIONAL scientific researcher has called on business to help drive an urgent global effort to combat growing toxic residues from the world's disposal of old mobile phones, computers and electronic devices.

Professor Ming Hung Wong warns on e-waste pile-up.

"Electronic waste -- or e-waste -- is the world's fastest growing waste stream, rising by 3-5 percent every year, due to the decreased lifespan of the average computer from six years to two," said Professor Ming Hung Wong of the Hong Kong Baptist University.

"In countries such as Australia the disposal of e-waste in landfills generates a potent leachate, which has high concentrations of flame retardant chemicals and heavy metals. These can migrate through soils and groundwater and eventually reach people via tap water and the food chain."

Professor Wong delivered a keynote paper at CleanUp 2013, the world's leading scientific contamination conference, which is being held in Melbourne throughout this week, closing with site visits on Thursday.
In many countries in Asia and Africa, e-waste from advanced nations is being recycled under extremely primitive conditions which leads to extensive pollution of air, water, food and people, Prof. Wong said.

"Gradually these toxins make their way around the world in food and water and via trade, posing a risk to everyone," he said.

"The toxic chemicals generated through open burning of e-waste include PCDD, PBDEs, PAHs, PCBs and heavy metals (especially lead) have given rise to serious environmental contamination.

"Some of these toxic chemicals are known to build up in fish especially, which may then be traded locally and around the world," Prof. Wong said.

"In general, any food items originating in e-waste processing areas are highly contaminated, leading to sharp increases in cancers and heart disease and other ailments in people who consume them."

Prof. Wong said science has now clearly demonstrated the risk of these toxic chemicals being passed on to the next generation, while babies are still in the womb, or even through their mother's milk.

"At the same time these e-waste contaminated sites are extremely hard to clean up due to the complex chemical mixtures they contain. However the time may soon be coming when developing countries will no longer accept e-waste from consumers in developed countries - and every nation will have to take care of its own.

"It is clear there is an urgent need to manage e-waste more efficiently in all countries and through better international collaboration."

Total world e-waste production has been estimated as high as 50 million tonnes a year, and is a growing component of the world's estimated annual output of 400 million tonnes of hazardous waste, only a small fraction of which is safely disposed.

CleanUp 2013 is hosted by the CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE). It is being held at the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, until September 18.

Cleanup 2013 incorporates the 5th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference.

In his role as chair professor of biology and director of Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Prof. Wong has established a multi-disciplinary team including environmental toxicologists, molecular biologists, analytical chemists, mathematicians, medical professionals and environmental managers for tackling environmental problems. He is recognised internationally for his work on environmental impact assessment, and in particular, contaminant impact on environment health.



StartSomeGood and ING Direct launch ‘crowdfunding' initiative for social entrepreneurs

DREAMSTARTER is the brand name of a new online ‘crowd-source funding' platform to assist Australian entrepreneurs developing positive social change projects.

Support from the cloud: 'Crowdfunding' to help community projects.


The StartSomeGood organisation is partnering with ING Direct to launch Dreamstarter.

Dreamstarter wants to offer inspirational Australian entrepreneurs an online platform to raise funds towards diverse social change projects.

The first enterprises to go live on Dreamstarter include a project to connect remote Aboriginal entrepreneurs to new markets via an online store (Enterprise Learning Australia) and an initiative to help rural communities in Malawi to achieve greater self-sufficiency (Empower).

Successful projects that capture the imagination and support of the community will receive extra funding from ING Direct.

StartSomeGood cofounder Tom Dawkins said the partnership breaks new ground in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) sector.

"Crowdfunding is a participatory model that democratises corporate philanthropy," Mr Dawkins said.  The projects that will succeed are those that have a genuine mandate from the community."

He said SomeStartGood selected ING Direct as a partner because of its pioneering approach to branchless banking in Australia, plus its focus on online delivery and social media. These fitted wwll with the crowdfunding model.

"At ING Direct we strongly support innovative projects that address real community needs," said ING Direct CEO Vaughn Richtor.

"Leveraging ING DIRECT's customers, employees and the general public's support benefits all involved."

Ten ventures by social entrepreneurs that graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia are launching in the initial round of fundraising through the Dreamstarter platform.

The CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Celia Hodson sees innovative crowdfunding collaborations like Dreamstarter as breaking down many of the traditional barriers social entrepreneurs face when attracting support for their ventures.

"The Dreamstarter campaign is a fantastic way for start up social ventures to raise their profile, attract critical seed funding and inspire others to create change in their communities," said Ms Hodson.

People can apply to be a part of the Dreamstarter program online.



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