Pathway Charitable Group Launches Social Enterprise Hub

Press Release – Pathway

On the 28th of September Pathway Charitable Group will launch the Pathway Social Enterprise Hub, an initiative to support fledgling social enterprises to grow their businesses and increase their social impact.Pathway Charitable Group Launches Social Enterprise Hub

On the 28th of September Pathway Charitable Group will launch the Pathway Social Enterprise Hub, an initiative to support fledgling social enterprises to grow their businesses and increase their social impact.

The hub will be an unique opportunity for Christchurch based social enterprises, offering much more than just a shared work space. It will also provide mentoring support to build key business capabilities such as accounting, marketing, human resourcing and business planning.

Pathway’s 20 year track record running several highly successful social enterprises puts the charity in an ideal position to offer these services. Chief Executive Murray Kennedy thinks social enterprise is the way forward for the not-for-profit sector and wants his organisation to help.

“Being able to generate our own income without needing to rely on conventional funding sources is the only reason we’ve stayed in the game after all these years,” says Murray. “We think we’ve learned some things that could help those starting out on this path, and we’re keen to pass those learnings on if it can help.”

Alloyfold is a multi-million dollar commercial furniture business operating in three international markets. Oak Tree Devanning is a national labour based business that employs 100 people, many with barriers to employment. Both are wholly owned by Pathway and provide more than half of the funding it needs to carry out its own charitable work.

“We were only able to do this because of the assistance we received from a handful of generous and savvy business people when we were a startup,” says Murray. “They lent us their expertise, their work spaces, and their networks. Without this support, we would never have been able to make a difference on the large scale that we have. Now we want to offer that support to others.”

Pathway Charitable Group comes from humble beginnings, founded by a few guys handing out hot food to homeless people in Cathedral Square. After a while, those involved felt that in order to make a sustainable impact on people’s lives they needed to offer real work opportunities that would eventually see people able to stand on their own two feet.

“We engineered an indestructible aluminum chair and started manufacturing it in Christchurch, employing the guys we had been working with in the square,” says Murray. “We had a good product and it sold well in U.S. markets, but we were scrambling to put in place the systems we needed to run a sustainable enterprise.”

In time, and with a lot of help, Alloyfold became so successful that it in order it sustain its growth it had to move manufacturing to China. Staying true to it’s mission, Pathway launched Oak Tree, a container de-vanning and labour for hire business operating in Christchurch and Auckland. This provided jobs for the local workers previously employed through Alloyfold and eventually became a profitable and mature enterprise in its own right.

“We believe in social enterprise,” says Murray. “It has allowed our organisation to make a difference on a scale that we never could have if we relied solely on Government funding or charitable donations.

“We also know how hard it is to grow a startup into a mature business. Through the Social Enterprise Hub, we’re saying to new social enterprises ‘come into our whare for a while and we can offer some advice and support as you figure things out’ because we know that makes a difference.”

Social enterprises interested in applying to join the Social Enterprise Hub can contact Pathway through info@pathway.org.nz.
ENDS

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