[Sub ID 4791] “I’m the Boss!” (Brotherhood of St Laurence)

Submission ID: 4791
Organisation name: Brotherhood of St Laurence
Contact name: Ms Diana Amato
State: VIC
Contact email: diana.amato@bsl.org.au
Contact number: 0394225618

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young carers, Young parents

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Employment barriers faced by women are magnified for those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who experience challenges in understanding and accessing unfamiliar service systems. Supporting self employment and micro-entrepreneurship amongst women of CALD backgrounds can provide a viable alternative to mainstream employment.

In theory, people from CALD backgrounds are able to access the Commonwealth-funded New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) program. In our experience, women from CALD backgrounds often face barriers in accessing NEIS such as:

  • Ineligibility for income support payments or access to Jobactive due to partner’s income or skilled migrant status
  • Responsibilities and commitments preventing participation such as caring/parental responsibilities, part-time employment and participation in English language training as NEIS requires a commitment of four days per week
  •  A lack of English language support, links to personal support or specialised referrals by NEIS
  • NEIS doesn’t incorporate understanding of ways migrant or refugee entrepreneurs may operate within niche markets in Australia

In our experience, the opportunity to pursue micro-enterprises as a flexible employment option, within programs that cater for caring responsibilities, low language, literacy and numeracy levels, alleviates barriers to social and economic participation.

What is your idea?
“I’m the Boss!” Stepping Stones to Small Business for Young Entrepreneurial Women

Aim: The program’s key objectives are to support CALD young women to:

  • Increase business skills and knowledge of business in Australia
  • Increase financial capabilities
  • Build economic and social participation in the wider community and expand their networks
  • Make progress towards establishing a small business and/or
  • Be aware of and pursue alternative pathways to employment/education

BSL proposes a service model that adapts our existing Stepping Stones program, a three year micro-enterprise initiative for CALD women, to better meet the needs of young carers and parents. This program builds on existing strengths, with the following components addressing the identified barriers:

  • Small business training and laws in Australia
  • Holistic support and referral
  • Access to tailored 1-1 mentor
  • Facilitate access to micro-finance loans
  • Motivational life skills workshops

The program provides holistic support and referrals over three years to ensure successful business outcomes for participants. Over the next five financial years, we propose to run this program in partnership with six local Councils and Small Business Victoria, across Brimbank, Whittlesea, Moreland, Moonee Valley and two other either south-east metropolitan and/or regional council areas.