15 November 2023 Jerun Terlaak

300+ Young Social Entrepreneurs for Mansfield District

More than 300 students in the Mansfield district have participated in Social Enterprise Schools, providing students with entrepreneurial and social enterprise skills.

Generously funded by the Bendigo Bank – Community Bank Mansfield & District over three years, the project is an inspiring example of community impact for the next generation. The young entrepreneurs that took part are from five schools: Mansfield Primary, St Mary’s Mansfield, Jamieson Primary, Merrijig Primary and Mansfield Secondary College.

Social Enterprise Schools is delivered by ACRE, the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship. The program teaches students the process of setting up their own social enterprise, which is simply a business for good that puts people and the planet ahead of profits. The Mansfield and district students developed over 76 social enterprises, with funds going to a number of local non-for-profits.

A presentation day was held recently at Mansfield Primary school to celebrate the achievements of the latest cohort of students to complete the program. Representatives from Mansfield S.E.S, C.F.A and Jamieson Wildlife Rescue shared with the students what the donations would go towards, including a new defibrillator, a fire hose cleaner and food for rescued animals. The examples provided a meaningful loop back to the positive social impact the students have created.

The Community Bank’s Director of Mansfield & District Community Enterprises Ltd, Haley Tudor-Harrop, congratulated the students for their efforts and explained. “We were excited to be able to take this whole community approach. As a community bank we are a social enterprise, so for us to be able to give these students the opportunity to participate in developing their own social enterprise, it’s really given them the opportunity to understand the role that we play within our community and the significant impact a social enterprise can have”.

Tom Colcott, Program Manager for Social Enterprise Schools, recognised the efforts of everyone involved. “By following the journey the students have been on, I have watched them overcome barriers and obstacles, thinking of creative ideas and persevere with their enterprise. Today was a chance to celebrate them and their amazing teachers for their hard work”.