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Rotary kick-start award winner wants to break youth unemployment cycle

07 Aug 2017

Zeal has been announced as the 2017 winner of the Rotary Club of Wellington Social Enterprise Kick-start competition, run in conjunction with the Akina Foundation.

It identifies itself as a family of passionate misfits who believe that every young Kiwi is creative and who dedicate their lives to helping them discover, express and develop their unique creativity.

It's launching a studio that will deliver creative design services while employing youth.

James Harris, Zeal Wellington manager says the team was delighted to receive the award of $7000.

“We are extremely thankful for receiving the Rotary Kick-start Award. It means a lot for us to have the backing and support of The Rotary Club of Wellington and Akina, who are working together to raise the profile of social enterprise in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“This money is going to cover our customer acquisition costs in our startup phase, which will allow us to employ our first young person.”

Chris O’Neill, Akina Foundation project manager says, “The Rotary Social Enterprise Kick-start Award is more than a helping hand for the worthy winners.

“It’s a chance for us to promote the social enterprise heroes that are putting their hearts and souls into creating something new for the good of us all.”

Zane is a young person who was employed in his first job at Zeal’s Social Enterprise café.

“I was employed at Stories Cafe and it was an awesome thing for me and a highlight of my youth. I know that the creative studio will help people just as much as it helped me.”

The runner up and winner of a $3000 award, Collaborate Wellington, is a mobile app that matches young people with volunteer opportunities that are relevant to their skill set and interests.

Community organisations post specific tasks, (such as short-term web designing, or a beach cleanup), and connect instantly with volunteers who indicate interest.

Co-founder Ceara McAuliffe Bickerton says, “This grant will allow us to kickstart building our app. We have charities and social organisations ready to pilot it.

“The grant money will help us develop our prototype into a real product they can use to connect to our growing database of excited volunteers waiting to contribute their skills.”

Rotary members watched three-minute videos submitted by the finalists then cast votes to determine the winner and runner-up.

A very honourable mention also to finalists Tane Kaha, The Fresh Desk and NISA Clothing.

Peter Lawson, Rotary president says, “We are delighted to sponsor the Social Enterprise Kick-start awards – we are very keen to help lead positive social change in our local and wider communities.

“The organisations we see applying for these awards are excellent examples of businesses providing work for disadvantaged groups, or providing services to disadvantaged groups.”

“We admire their energy and purpose, so we are working with Akina to help as many organisations as possible.”

The Rotary Club of Wellington has been an innovator since the 1920s, instrumental in establishing the Wellington Karitane Hospital, the Crippled Children’s Society (now Disability Action), Meals on Wheels, Cancer Society of NZ amongst others.

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