Case Study: Woodville Alliance

Opportunity

Woodville Alliance are a mid-sized not-for-profit based in vulnerable communities in south-west Sydney, in the areas of mental health, disability services, and early childhood learning. TDi were brought in after the senior management team at Woodville Alliance realised that their initiatives and impact had room to grow, and that they could use this as an opportunity to diversify the organisation’s revenue. Woodville were aware that as an organisation they had traditionally been reactive to funding opportunities, rather than being proactive and predicting what the community might need or want next. Woodville wanted to assess what resources they had in their business already, and how they could use these and innovate, to help them do good and make money.

"I originally felt quite skeptical about the outcomes of the training. But I was very pleasantly surprise when as each segment unfolded I was feeling  more and more confident that as a group we would leave the experience with a solid understanding of how to build a sustainable business as well as having a detailed plan to commence scoping out our own social innovation project"

- Veronique Besnard, Woodville Alliance

The 'Nitty Gritty'

Over three days, TDi principal consultant, Anthea, and TDi consultant, Caroline, undertook a series of workshops, discussions and processes with Woodville Alliance’s senior management team. They began with a session on Intent, to help Woodville Alliance connect with their vision and community context. On Day 1 they also completed an asset assessment and opened the floor to Woodville Alliance’s team to see what opportunities they saw for improvement in their organisation’s programs and initiatives and identify what methods and structures were required to put these opportunities in action.

Day 2 focused on business modelling and refining all of Woodville’s ideas and opportunities for growth. Using the Business Model Canvas, the session aimed to understand how each of the innovative ideas could be implemented into the business. By day 3, two key opportunities had been identified. Chris Vanstone from the Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) was brought in by TDi to speak to Woodville Alliance about the importance of piloting and testing new ideas in an efficient way. Woodville then left with a three month plan of how to test out their two key ideas.

“We went into Day 1 of the workshops with Woodville thinking we would need to run activities to bring out ideas for sustainable enterprises from the group. Within an hour we realised every single person had an idea and there was not one person that wasn’t committed to getting something out of the workshops”

- Caroline Sanz, Enterprise Consultant

Outcomes

For an service delivery community organisation like Woodville Alliance, being able to remove themselves from the day to day operations of their organisation, and focus on strategy and growth with TDi and TACSI, was really valuable. Through the three days, Woodville were able to create a solid plan for the future, specifically focusing on how they could deliver services to their community more efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to this, Woodville Alliance also found a couple of new ways to generate meaningful revenue for their business.

The new initiatives, that the organisation will be testing over the coming months, allow for strong community connection, create safe spaces for women experiencing domestic violence or isolation, and promote diversity in the workplace throughout their area. Woodville Alliance’s commitment to their community, and making real difference, made them an ideal client to achieve doing good and making money.

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Able Bakehouse

In 2016 TDi began bespoke consultancy work with a Melbourne bakehouse with a difference, Able Bakehouse. Run by Melba Support Services, a service provider that helps Lilydale locals with disabilities, Able Bakehouse has turned into the organisation’s social enterprise venture. The Bakehouse was started to provide meaningful work and community engagement for people with complex disabilities.
After Able Bakehouse received a grant from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, TDi was asked to help the Bakehouse to become commercially and financially sustainable, so that their social mission could become a long-term reality.
We spoke to David Glazebrook, who runs the Able Bakehouse about what the enterprise is looking to achieve in its local area and how they’re going to get there.

"TDi made us think, question, and consider a wide range of options and opportunities".

- David Glazebrook, Manager at Able Bakehouse

Why did you start the Able Bake House?
We started Able Bakehouse to provide meaningful work and community engagement for people with complex disabilities. While others thought they were unemployable, we didn’t and have proved that these wonderful people can contribute to their community 
What impact do you wish to have in your community through the Bake House?
We want to provide even more work and opportunities for people with disabilities. We have an outstanding and delicious product, well several actually, so if more people buy from us, more people are engaged, and more people see people living great lives and contributing.
What motivates you? 
What motivates me and the team at Melba is having people actively engaged in their community and the community embracing everyone, all skill levels and abilities.

How do you hope the Bake House will grow in 2017?
We want to establish our social enterprise hub at the Box Hill Institute campus so we can engage more people make more delicious quality biscuits, slice and jams and increase the numbers of people we sell to.
Why did you engage with TDi?
We received a grant from the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation to assist with our work. In developing the grant we worked with TDi and the assistance and processes they ran with us it enabled us to see more clearly what we could do, how we could expand and stay true to our vision and mission. TDi made us think, question, and consider a wide range of options and opportunities.
What elements of your business has TDi worked on with you?
TDi has worked on all areas of business development and has provided the tools to allow us develop and plan more effectively.

What challenges do you face? Has TDi helped you to prepare for these obstacles?
Knowing our customers and why they buy from us, developing the social enterprise hub and a realistic growth and business plan. TDi has been ‘gold’!
What did you gain from working with TDi?
Knowledge, simple but comprehensive processes and systems, realistic ways forward, and throughout TDi has remained true to our vision and the people we support. They understand what we want to do, what is important and ensure that is maintained.
What would you say to a small business considering working with TDi?
Use them, you’d be silly not to! You’ll be better off because you did!

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