In September 2006, a group of young Australians began planning a series of discussions that would engage people around the country in sharing ideas and plans for how we can co-create a brighter Australian future.
What emerged from the initial national night of discussions, attended by over 100 people across all states and territories, was a growing thirst for alternative, meaningful avenues and platforms to connect around important social issues. Out of these discussions grew Project Australia, its direction constantly shaped by the input of people and communities around the country. Quite quickly, our focus became action in the field of ‘social innovation’ – the process of community-focussed organisations and individuals engaging with social challenges in novel ways. More specifically, we discovered that our value lay in helping out with early-scale social innovation – the stage right after you have had a good idea but wonder what to do next!
Since 2006, Project Australia has helped facilitate two more nation-wide discussion nights, assisted numerous social innovators with their work, held three fundraising trivia nights, co-hosted two art exhibitions: ‘Something Personal 1 & 2: Small Paintings in Support of Big Ideas’, provided support for an autonomous, sister-initiative: Project Kenya and hosted a live music event profiling emerging local artists which spun off to become ‘Voices of Oz’. We have been involved in five research studies relating to social innovation, run a number of practical workshops for social innovators, presented at more than 30 events, and provided free consultancies for over 40 not-for-profit initiatives.
Whether it has been facilitating, consulting, fundraising or engaging with research, our work has always been focussed on building our ability to provide practical tools and services so that every Australian social innovator and non-profit idea has a chance to emerge and flourish.