Launch Pad looking for new social enterprises

The Iris Foundation’s Because We Care Boutique

Central Coast Council is calling on community members who have an idea for a business venture that will make a difference to our community to participate in this year’s Social Enterprise Launch Pad Program.

An information session will be held on February 21 for interested people to learn more about the free program, which consists of a series of workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions that will run from late March to June.

Council’s Unit Manager Community and Culture Glenn Cannard said the annual Social Enterprise Launch Pad Program supports the development of innovative new enterprise models within the region and helps turn community focused business ideas into a reality.

“The free program, which has been running since 2012, provides a step-by-step guide to research, plan, seek funding and establish a social enterprise that benefits our community – whether it be social, environmental or creative,” Cannard said.

“This annual program has helped start-ups, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organisations and new businesses with a social vision go on to successfully launch community-focused ventures such as the Iris Foundation’s Wings to Succeed project.”

Iris Foundation Executive Officer Sue Liptrott said taking part in the Social Enterprise Launch Pad Program was a supportive and creative experience.

“In 2021, Iris Foundation was accepted to take part in the Social Enterprise Launch Pad Program and we were so grateful for the opportunity,” she said.

“We were looking to introduce a project that would enhance the existing Because We Care Boutique Central Coast and provide further support to women in need.

“Launch Pad provided not only the construction and formulation of a defined pathway forward, but also valuable marketing tools for immediate use.

“These were instrumental in creating a platform to apply for grant funding for our new Wings to Succeed project and I am happy to say that we were successful in receiving a Council Social Enterprise Grant in 2021 and the project is now underway.”

Sue Bradley, concept founder of SWAMP (Sustainable Wetlands Agriculture Makers Project) Central Coast, said participating in Council’s Social Enterprise Launch Pad Program in 2020 has been key to the start-up success of SWAMP’s community garden project and education and training programs.

Sue Bradley of SWAMP

“The Launch Pad program has given me the confidence to establish lasting relationships with community organisations, to form partnership programs and reach out to local MPs, government and private organisations as well as Council,” she said.

“The continued mentoring after the program was to me, one of the most helpful resources.

“I highly recommend this program to anyone wishing to bring their social enterprise ideas to life.

“Through these conversations I was able to locate a site on crown land for SWAMP Central Coast where people can connect and discover the importance of growing food with sustainable methods and respect to the land and environment.”

Lyndi Leggett, founder of The Scuba Gym at Peninsula Leisure Centre was a participant in the social enterprise program in 2019 and runs unique underwater therapy sessions for people living with a disability.

“I definitely benefited from the connections I made from the program, and the tutors provided superb advice,” she said.

“I am still working with some of them in a mentoring capacity as I continue to grow this business.

“I would definitely recommend this program to social entrepreneurs that are committed to getting results.”

Council Administrator Rik Hart expects this year’s program to be bolstered from an increased movement in society to undertake work with a purpose and give back to the community.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has many people rethinking their careers and long-term goals and want to use their skills and talents to help others and service their community,” Hart said.

“I expect this year’s program will attract an increased number of participants and look forward to seeing what social enterprise ideas will come to the table for the benefit our region.”

This year’s development program will be delivered in partnership between Council, Business Centre and Community Compass.

The online information session will be held on Monday, February 21.

To secure a spot email Greg Combes at Central Coast Council:

Expressions of interest submissions close on March 14.

For more information search ‘social enterprise’ at

Primary source: Media release, Jan 28, 2022 Central Coast Council