Australia’s first social enterprise precinct opens at QVM
Queen Victoria Market (QVM) has officially opened its Purpose Precinct, now located permanently in the F Shed Laneway following the initial stages of development last November.
Moving from its temporary home along Stringbean Alley to the new space, the project’s completion now features 100 local social enterprises selling a range of homewares, clothing, food, and gifts.
Introduced in collaboration with STREAT and Good Cycles and supported by the Social Enterprise Network of Victoria, the Purpose Precinct provides a “vibrant new shopping destination” within QVM.
“Social enterprises harness the power of business for good and make a real difference for Victorians,” Minister for Small Business Natalie Suleyman said.
“The Purpose Precinct will be a fantastic showcase of small businesses that are giving back to the community.”
In the lead-up to the holiday period, shoppers will have the opportunity to buy from various “socially conscious and purpose-led businesses” such as Clothing the Gaps, Mildura Chocolate Company, Green Collect and Free to Feed.
“We value being a part of the Purpose Precinct at QVM as it aligns with our mission for purpose and impact on people, place and planet,” a spokesperson for the Mildura Chocolate Company said.
As a social enterprise located in the far north-west region of Victoria, our inclusion in the precinct provides not only the exposure, but the retail outlet opportunity within the metropolitan area.
The initiative has been funded as part of the Victorian Government’s national Social Enterprise Strategy 2021 to 2025 and the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund.
It will also provide 75 local jobs within the precinct for disadvantaged Victorians who have faced challenges finding employment.
“The impact of this grant will help every one of the social enterprises that are a part of the Purpose Precinct to grow the incredible impact they deliver for people and the planet and create even more meaningful employment opportunities for some of our most vulnerable people,” STREAT CEO, Rebecca Scott said.
To be considered a social enterprise, businesses must channel at least 50 per cent of their profits into their chosen mission, which can include a variety of social issues, from improving communities and providing people with access to employment and training, to helping the environment.
Among the 3500 social enterprises currently trading across Victoria, there are an estimated 60,000 people employed through these businesses, which together contribute $5.2 billion annually to the state’s economy.
“Victoria has the largest social enterprise sector in the nation,” Minister for Employment, Vicki Ward said.
“We value the employment and economic opportunities these businesses create, and importantly, the causes they supported.”
QVM’s Purpose Precinct is located in the F Shed Laneway and is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 3pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm. •