26 October 2021

Regional businesses seeking to make a meaningful impact

| Mill House Ventures
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Woman working on horse rug

The Horse Rug Whisperer in Murrumbateman is one of The Mill House Venture’s 2021 GRIST cohort. Photo: The Horse Rug Whisperer.

Seven regional small businesses seeking to make a big impact in their local communities have been selected to participate in the 2021 Mill House Social Enterprise Accelerator Program, GRIST.

The Mill House Ventures attracts and develops sustainable for-purpose social enterprises in the Canberra region. Its programs provide specialist business advisory expertise to support social innovators and increase their ability to achieve meaningful and measurable social, cultural or environmental impact.

Now in its fifth year, GRIST offers selected businesses in Canberra and the surrounding region facilitated learning support, including workshops, networking and expert panels delivered by the Mill House team and entrepreneurs with lived experience of starting and operating social enterprises.

This practitioner-led program, coupled with proven learning tools, assists ‘GRISTers’ to accelerate their impact and identify business development and investment opportunities to scale their venture.

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This year’s changemaker cohort includes Right to Work, The Horse Rug Whisperer, Bean Central, Ability.News, Next Level Inclusion, Simply Homeschool and Chamaeleon Collective.

“We are very excited about this year’s cohort,” says The Mill House Ventures CEO Cindy Mitchell. “They are all established and experienced entrepreneurs who aren’t just focused on survival – they are thriving and intently focused on making a measurable impact in their local communities.

“This is the first season that nearly all of our participants are working on the inclusion of people with diverse abilities. Disadvantaged jobseekers are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is incredible to have this group of entrepreneurs focused on creating better pathways.”

Right to Work is a work-integration social enterprise (WISE) based in Goulburn that is working to empower young adults with autism and intellectual disability by providing training and mentoring programs, and connecting them with partner regional businesses.

Collage of people from The Mill House Ventures' 2021 GRIST cohort

The Mill House Ventures’ 2021 GRIST cohort. Photo: The Mill House Ventures.

Murrumbateman-based The Horse Rug Whisperer is an established and growing equestrian business providing horse riding lessons, horse clipping and other care services, and equestrian equipment retail and repair services, employing mostly at-risk youth from around the Yass Valley region.

Bean Central is a community cafe located in Queanbeyan that was established in 2020. It has been providing opportunities to all, with a growing proportion of its employees being people living with a disability.

Canberra-based Ability.News is seeking to connect, inform and empower people with disability, harnessing the internet to develop a specialised news service to enable individuals to change their environment by participating in an informed and networked community.

Next Level Inclusion ‘translates’ content into an English Easy Read format, including imagery, and employs people with an intellectual disability to proofread its work.

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The Chamaeleon Collective is a professional performing arts program for emerging dancers who are living with disability that is supportive, accessible and at the leading edge of contemporary performance.

Simply Homeschool provides high-quality, affordable and family friendly homeschool curriculum and support for the growing population of kids at risk through learning difficulties, disability and mental health issues.

“Like every business trying to continue its operations in this constantly changing COVID-19 world, the team at The Mill House has proven its adaptability in pivoting the program to an online environment without compromising the quality of the GRIST program content,” says Cindy.

“With the co-operation and commitment of our ‘GRISTers’, we look forward to maximising the impact of this impressive cohort of social innovators.”

For more information, visit The Mill House Ventures.

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