Ensuring the 2018 Commonwealth Games leaves an overwhelming legacy for the Gold Coast is one of the biggest opportunities and challenges the city is facing, according to BBC’s Scott Finlayson.
BBC, an inaugural sponsor of Young Professionals Gold Coast, boasts 40 years of experience in providing workflow solutions and has grown to be Australia’s largest privately owned photocopier and printer supplier.
YP Gold Coast sat down with Area Manager Scott Finlayson to discuss some of the biggest issues facing the Gold Coast, as well as chatting about BBC’s support in helping YP achieve its mission of motivating, inspiring and connecting the next generation of city leaders.
With its enviable climate, unparalleled coastal lifestyle and refreshing hinterland, Finlayson labels the Gold Coast as one of the greatest cities in Australia to live, work and play.
“In no other city can you be surfing the best breaks in the world one moment, and then exploring some of the best bushland in the Hinterland the next,” he says.
“While in the past the Gold Coast has been considered solely a tourism destination, the city is diversifying, evolving and realising its potential. As an individual, and a professional, it is exciting to see the city coming of age and really embracing new industries – particularly the technology sector.”
While it is an exciting industry, Finlayson recognises that keeping up with technology is a major challenge for the city. Other challenges the city is facing include managing infrastructure and transport around population growth and the possible economic downturn after the Commonwealth games, says Finlayson. He says the Games represent huge commercial and economic benefits for the city, both pre and post the event. But, only if managed correctly.
“We will be launched onto the world stage in 2018 and we need to make sure we are sending the right messages,” he says.
“I see the Gold Coast evolving as the sporting capital of Australia; we have the right climate which means athletes can pretty much train 365 days a year and we have around $12 billion worth of infrastructure planned or underway in the lead up to the Games which includes world-class sporting facilities.
“We have all the elements we need to establish ourselves as a worldly sporting destination, we just need to make sure we all work together to ensure the Games leave an overwhelming legacy.”
While there are many opportunities that the city is set to capitalise on, Finalyson highlights that it is the younger generation that will help to shape the Gold Coast’s future. This was one of the main reasons he came on board as a sponsor of leading advocacy group YP Gold Coast.
“The YP committee and its supporters are the future of the Gold Coast,” he says.
“Without groups like YPGC, the ideas and opinions of the younger generations will go unheard and the city will ultimately risk losing young talent to the likes of Melbourne and Sydney.”
BBC Digital has been a sponsor of YP for the past five years and has been vital in helping the organisation connect with future city leaders.
CITIES that are designed to be reliant on cars are bound for failure. Cities that adopt a capable and dependable transit system are bound for success.
While there has been a lot of chatter and debate in recent months about funding for the M1, Young Professionals Gold Coast believes the discussion needs to be turned on its head.
The city shouldn’t be talking about how to fund road extensions and major upgrades; it should be talking about how to fund and implement a capable and dependable public transport system.
The city needs transportation alternatives that encourage people to leave their car at home, and one that is suited to each particular circumstance with easy connections; train to bus to tram to walk should be seamless.
Building more roads only adds more cars; it is a bandaid approach to the city’s traffic congestion, and extending and building wider roads to cure this nightmare is like loosening your belt to cure obesity.
With the city’s population growth expected to double by 2020, and the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, the Gold Coast needs to focus on, and adopt, a world-class transit network.
While it has been debated that upgrading the M1 is a big part of battling the city’s traffic woes, in reality, it offers short-term relief.
Upgrades to the M1 will not limit congestion in the long run, and it will not stop future closures.
There will always be circumstances when the motorway is shut down. To combat closures, the city needs to have alternative transportation so when a closure occurs, the city does not come to a standstill.
Smart suburbs, and smart cities, have transit, which includes high frequency buses – at least every 15 minutes. And buses need to connect with a tram system that travels the length of the city and connects to suburbs inland.
In addition, the city should take advantage of its canals. The waterways present a great opportunity for a ferry system – the Gold Coast needs to act on this and the 2018 Commonwealth games should be the catalyst.
Cycling is also a huge sport and popular mode of transportation worldwide. To make it safe and to encourage more cyclists, the city needs to have separate bike lanes, especially on high volume and high-speed roads.
While it is one thing to have options, it is not enough – people will always choose the most convenient, and with the current public transport network, Gold Coasters will choose their car every time.
The city needs to prioritise transit types; pedestrians over cars at intersections, bikes over trams – don’t ban cars, prioritise them last.
YP Gold Coast is encouraging an evolution towards integrated transit – we need a city that connects places that people need including home and work.
The city should run trials – new bus routes, ferry system, extended bike lanes – and then invest in infrastructure upgrades if a trial is successful.
Ultimately, the Gold Coast needs to prioritise expenditure away from road upgrades to public transit.
PRESIDENT of Young Professionals Gold Coast Sean Braybrook says as the city continues to evolve as one of the most dynamic places in the country, it’s vitally important the community supports and encourages those willing to push the boundaries.
Braybrook, who works as the Strategy and Operations Manager at Study Gold Coast, says the city is on the cusp of greatness but it will only reach its full potential if leaders and community members are willing to embrace change.
“We can’t be afraid of change or remain static because the city will stagnate,” he says.
“We need to galvanise support around the projects and developments that have the capacity to generate growth while industry leaders need to continue to diversify the economy.”
In Braybrook’s current role he is partly responsible for growing the city’s education sector. However, one of his most proud achievements is being appointed the head of YP Gold Coast where he works with a team to motivate, inspire and influence the next generation of city leaders.
“I’d have to say that my current position as President of YP Gold Coast is certainly something I’ve loved as I get to work with an incredible group of people who are passionate about this city and its future,” says Braybrook.
In this Q&A, Braybrook discusses diversifying the Gold Coast economy, the importance of a united voice, and his vision for establishing the Gold Coast as the lifestyle hub of Australia.
What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live and work?
Where do I start? Simply put, the Gold Coast offers anyone and everyone the opportunity to pursue big ideas. It is a city where dreams become reality and it is the stomping ground for both worldly investors and those with passion projects. Whether it is Wanda Ridong who wants to invest $1 billion in a new residential project, or local restaurateur’s Simon Gloftis and Adam Haralampou with new food offerings, the Gold Coast offers support and encouragement to big-thinkers and exudes a ‘have a go’ attitude.
With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner and a stable local government, I wholeheartedly believe the city is on the cusp of greatness. Right now a number of factors are combining in the city’s favour to make it one of most dynamic places in the country and it’s important that as a community we back anyone willing to push the boundaries and we celebrate our successes.
When you combine the Gold Coast’s palpable energy with its lifestyle, you get something special. Not many people can say they get to go to the beach in the morning before work. The commute is easy (by major capital standards) and the people are amazing.
Why are you so passionate about educating future generations of city leaders about the Gold Coast’s potential?
I joined YP because I wanted to help build the conversation about what the Gold Coast is and can be. We can’t be afraid of change or remain static because the city will stagnate. We need to galvanise support around the projects and developments that have the capacity to generate growth while industry leaders need to continue to diversify the economy. Most importantly I wanted to be part of an organisation that looked at the Gold Coast as a whole and understood its potential.
Why is it so important that the city evolves and diversifies?
Research and education, culture and the arts, and innovation and entrepreneurship attract and retain our best and brightest so we need to get behind initiatives that support this vision for the Gold Coast. If you look at the health and knowledge precinct, initiatives such as CoSpaces, Bleach* Festival, the Miami Marketta and the Night Quarter – they are all incredibly successful and all represent the change occurring in the city. No longer are we just reliant on tourism, and although development and tourism will always quite rightly have their place, the elements I’ve outlined feed into these and help support those industries. People only invest in and visit cities that are dynamic and culturally and economically diverse.
What do you believe are some of the challenges the city is facing, and what can the Gold Coast do to overcome these?
The single biggest obstacle is the lack of a combined vison for the city. The horse has bolted on being a sleepy seaside resort of individual villages for vacationers and people need to understand that for us to continue to live and work here we need to support policies that will provide jobs. It’s no use having a great lifestyle if there is no work. This feeds into the issues facing the city particularly around big projects that have the capacity to change the Gold Coast.
Each major business group, community groups, residents and other stakeholders need to work together to create this vision to combat the spread-out nature of the city. There needs to be one community or business-based forum that is representative of the entire city.
We need the community to rally behind and support big ideas currently at play. Whether its Southport’s role as the city’s CBD, the light rail extension, the cultural precinct, the health and knowledge precinct - we need to stop thinking small and back the growth of the city. It’s quite amazing that we live in a place where rather than getting behind some amazing projects we are fixated on the negatives instead of the positives.
This is a great place to live and work. Yes, we need to get the balance right when it comes to development and sacrificing our lifestyle, but the aim should be to actively work with the construction sector to create projects that are world-class and complementary to the city, rather than knock them down due to an outdated vision for the Gold Coast. If life-style is the aim, let’s support green developments and the creation of more open space via creative thinking – look at the New York Highline as a great example. Let’s identify and agree on a set-of trade-offs for projects to ensure that investment continues while also providing positive public benefits.
Our focus then has to be on providing a coherent vision that we can all follow and focus around what it means to be a Gold Coaster. I think this focus needs to be about branding ourselves as the country’s lifestyle capital; a message that can translate across the traditional drivers of tourism and development, but is equally important to growing the education sector or attracting SME’s. Everything falls in behind this message whether it’s supporting the light-rail extension, the development of cultural hubs or even surfing reserves – it allows us to build a set of values and a brand that differentiates us from the other major cities and allows us to carve our own niche globally.
The most critical element for these points to work is for the community to get actively engaged in the city. A coordinated approach on issues of key importance is needed to drive the changes we want to occur in the city.
What needs to be done to create more jobs on the Gold Coast, and grow the city’s corporate culture?
A clear focus needs to be placed on the development of more entrepreneurial hubs and greater linkages between the corporate and education sector. Local government and our community can play a role here and we can take ownership of the entrepreneurial space nationally if we work together. By focusing on the factors we can control, in terms of incentive schemes for operators, we have an opportunity to develop more co-working spaces and innovation hubs that act as a focal point for new business development. We need to concentrate our efforts on creating an entrepreneur-friendly environment which will help boost jobs growth. This can happen by reducing certain regulations and charges levied on business that can hinder success in the first few crucial years of a company’s life.
We might still have some challenges attracting big corporates to relocate but if we focus on building an environment supportive of new business we can carve out our niche as a hub for start-ups – tech or non-tech based. This will in-turn encourage talent to set themselves up here and establish ourselves as a supportive location for businesses to set-up and start growing. This is how we can build a stronger and more varied corporate sector which will help protect us from any big global shocks to the economy.
The entry costs for a business is so much lower here than in the other major capitals, we have international airport links and we are part of the great south-east Queensland/northern NSW metro hub. This last point in particular is critical because all of a sudden you start thinking not just in terms of the Gold Coast but the fact that within an estimated two hour drive you have access to a market of around 3.5 million people. Again, if we focus on telling this story we have a great chance of showing to everyone that we are a viable place to set up a venture over the long-term.
This approach can help us mature from our boom/bust cycle to a more stable pattern of growth.
What is the city missing?
I think we need to refrain from thinking about this and instead look at what we have. By constantly looking at what we are missing we are destined to overlook how we can enhance what is already at our fingertips.
We have some of the best beaches around the world, an incredible natural asset in the Gold Coast Hinterland, great parks and a world-class lifestyle.
What we need to do now is focus on how we improve what we have via considered and careful planning, smart infrastructure choices and targeted business development plans that encourage diversification. Most importantly we need to do this with a united voice and stop allowing vocal minorities to hamper projects that will benefit the greater community.
ON the back of the State Government’s blitz on rideshare drivers, future city leaders have thrown their support behind Uber saying innovation and entrepreneurship need to be recognised as real economic drivers.
Young Professionals Gold Coast, the city’s peak body representing young business and industry leaders, says disruptive technologies such as Uber need to be embraced if the Gold Coast and Queensland want to be recognised as competitive destinations.
President Sean Braybrook says the lack of support for this unique application and the state governments rideshare blitz, which has secured almost $200,000 in fines, is the wrong approach as the government is actually penalising consumers.
“YP Gold Coast is in support of new ventures that offer people a more competitive offering and rallies behind any and all innovative technologies that disrupt and evolve industries,” says Braybrook.
“YP Gold Coast represents the next generation of city leaders, many of whom are young entrepreneurs who are building thriving businesses and looking to turn their dream into a reality.
“However, a state and a city that does not support the delivery of innovation means more and more young people will find other, more supportive, destinations to lay down roots.
“And that goes against everything YP Gold Coast advocates for – we want to encourage young professionals to live, work and play on the Gold Coast.
“The city is on the cusp of greatness but it needs to diversify and support new industries, and invest in innovation and entrepreneurship, if it wants to continue on the road to success.”
Uber most recently emailed tens of thousands of its users on the Gold Coast, encouraging them to email a replica fine to the Premier in payback for a blitz on rideshare drivers, who are now facing harsher penalties.
Uber drivers face fines up to $2356 while the administrators of illegal taxi services could be penalised up to $23,560.
“The government’s focus should be on normalising Uber just like the New South Wales government, rather than creating a new moneymaking stream,” says Braybrook.
“While YP Gold Coast believes there needs to be a level playing field for the ridesharing industry in terms of regulatory bodies, harsher fines are not the answer, as this is very much like putting the genie back in the bottle.”
“Instead of coming up with ways to penalise the ridesharing app, the government should be coming up with solutions that focus around embracing this technology.”
YP Gold Coast aims to motivate, inspire and empower the next generation of city leaders. With a real focus on growing the city’s corporate culture, the organisation offers networking and mentoring opportunities.
THE NUMBER of crisis care beds on the Gold Coast for homeless young people is about to double, as construction of the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth’s Bill Hoyer House nears completion.
Former YP Gold Coast committee member Andrew Antonopoulos is President of the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth (GCPHY), a facility which will provide care for up to 1000 homeless young people over the next decade.
Mayor Tom Tate toured the facility this week which is under construction by local developer Villa World and includes seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, large living spaces, an outdoor entertaining area and a separate youth workers’ quarters and office.
The facility will provide care and rehabilitation for homeless young people requiring immediate care, assisting with their development and life skills.
“Seeing this project take shape and the support it has received from local businesses underscores the amazing community spirit we have here in our city,” says Mayor Tom Tate.
“As Mayor, I never want to see anyone left behind so I applaud the commitment to see this project through as it will assist the youth who need our support.’’
Villa World General Manager of Communities and Business Growth, Carl Bruhn, says the swift construction progress was a result of generous and hard-working local subcontractors and suppliers.
“Many of these are small business owners and their staff have donated their time, skills and materials for free or at cost price,” says Bruhn.
“The cost of building this facility sits at about $550,000 and through various streams of funding that will be reduced significantly.
“But we still need donations to complete the build, carry out fit-out of the facility and of course finance its ongoing operation.”
GCPHY President Andrew Antonopoulos says the organisation’s ultimate goal was to break the cycle of youth homelessness on the Gold Coast.
“Ideally, we want to introduce life skills and encourage each person who comes through the door to become active members of the community,” says Antonopoulos.
“With hundreds of young people experiencing homelessness in this city each night, the opening of Bill Hoyer House will help some of them off the streets and into good care.
“With the support of the local community, Government and Villa World, Bill Hoyer House will have a serious impact in breaking the cycle of homelessness.”
Partially funded by the Queensland Government, GCPHY has partnered with Villa World for a second time to make this project financially feasible, having previously completed Jessica Dunne Lodge.
The GCPHY has been established for more than 30 years and is the Gold Coast’s leading service for youth homelessness. The organisation also operates Lawson House, another crisis care facility on the Gold Coast.
What does criticism against the SUNS or for that matter the Titans have to do with community cabinet?
Firstly, it’s funny how coincidences occur. The original purpose of this article was to promote the Palaszczuk Government’s Community Cabinet meeting to be held on the Gold Coast on May 15.
We want to ensure that all professionals head to the forum as it is a unique opportunity for future city leaders to have their say on the direction of the city and engage the Government around critical areas such as job creation and job security in the city.
It is also a great opportunity to have our voices heard and showcase the city’s support for major projects. And, this article is still about wanting you to go to this forum to ensure your voice is heard.
However, there are other ways we can show that as a community we stand together. For those who didn’t watch the news on Monday, AFL legend Leigh Matthews questioned the viability of two AFL teams in Queensland, questioning the future of the Gold Coast SUNS.
His comments aren't just about our ability to sustain sporting teams, they also question the strength and support of the Gold Coast community inferring we don't have a sporting culture or more broadly a united and strong community.
Usually it would be enough for us to rebut these comments by creating a post stating our backing of the SUNS - who are YP Gold Coast partners. However, a Facebook and Twitter post did not suffice on this occasion.
Chairman of the Gold Coast SUNS, Tony Cochrane (pictured right) delivered one of the best responses to this crack at our city you will ever see, so we instead encourage you to watch his media conference because he will say it far more eloquently and humorously then we can – CLICK HERE.
Which now brings us back to our main point – what does criticism against the SUNS or for that matter the Titans have to do with community cabinet? Well, a lot!
Tony notes that we are the Australia’s sixth largest urban centre and still one of the country’s fastest growing cities. However, the continued criticism directed at the Gold Coast implies that we don’t have a community that supports local teams, that it has no soul, substance or history. Quite frankly, these comments are so far off the mark it’s laughable.
The Gold Coast is an incredible place to work and live with a lifestyle that is envied globally. Simply, if you are setting up a business in Australia this is the place to be.
That is why whether it’s supporting our local football teams, getting heard at a state level or being noticed federally, it’s time that we, as a community, back the city that we love.
The reason the YP committee was formed was because we all truly believe that right now the Gold Coast is one of the most exciting places to build a career (and life) due to the extraordinary amount of opportunities to be found here and the freedom offered to really start something fresh and new.
Which is why we want your help over the coming weeks to ensure our voices are heard.
At the community cabinet meeting on Sunday 15th May, help us get the ball rolling by asking this question to start with:
The Commonwealth Games is set to inject $2 billion into the Queensland economy and support around 30,000 jobs – what is the Government planning to ensure local business owners, families and workers are able to leverage the Games post event?
The message we need to get across is that we need to get projects rolling now to avoid any post-game slump and keep the momentum of the past 18-months going.
Then over the coming weeks make sure you head to the Titans or the SUNS – or both preferably – and show that as a community we back our city and believe in its potential.
TOWN planner Nicole Bennetts says Gold Coasters have a responsibility to attract investment to the city, and it is only through wise investment that the city will be able to manage population growth.
The Gold Coast is expected to double in the next 35 years to 1.1 million by 2050, according to lead demographer Bernard Salt, and Bennetts says adapting to that growth is going to be one of the biggest challenges the city faces
“The most sustainable way to grow is in those areas we already have infrastructure and services, like along the light rail route and around our existing centres,” she says.
Bennetts, a recipient of the PIA Young Planner of the Year, currently works for the City of Gold Coast as a senior strategic planner on the City Plan and was the property developer of ENVI – the Gold Coast’s first infill small lot housing project.
The young professional talks to YP Gold Coast about some of the challenges facing the city, along with her vision for growing the region as leading destination.
What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live and work?
The Gold Coast oozes potential. I am excited to work in such an evolving city. I love the variety of lifestyles the Gold Coast has. People don’t realise the depth of opportunities. Its proximity to Brisbane is a huge benefit too – I think the two cities complement each other really well.
As a YP Gold Coast committee member, why are you so passionate about educating future generations of city leaders about the Gold Coast’s potential?
Developing a network of highly skilled professionals is vital in ensuring the Gold Coast’s economy can mature and break-out of the cyclical patterns of previous booms and busts. Bringing people together with the common goal of improving our skills and knowledge is my way of giving back to the place that has launched my professional career.
What do you believe are some of the challenges the city is facing?
As an urban planner, the biggest challenges the city will face is managing growth. The most sustainable way to grow is in those areas we already have infrastructure and services, like along the light rail route and around our existing centres. To support this growth, upgrades to the infrastructure and services will be needed but it is a chicken and egg thing. The City Plan has a 20-year planning horizon with many variables and investment in infrastructure is expensive. Critical mass is required to make the investment worth while. Building new roads/expanding our existing roads is never going to solve traffic congestion. Investment in mass transit is the only way we will mature into a world class city, this includes buses, ferries, light rail, cycle ways – a multi-model approach is the only way to grow.
What needs to be done to create more jobs on the Gold Coast, and grow the city’s corporate culture?
We each have a responsibility to attract investment to the Gold Coast. This investment needs to be in a variety of different sectors. Supporting new business and the relocation of existing business to the Gold Coast is a must. The people of the Gold Coast are the best advocates for this.
What is the city missing?
We have a lot, but there are still so many opportunities. For instance, active citizenship, a ferry system, a cycle network, missing middle housing – we have the high rises and we have the suburbs but nothing in between, such as terrace housing, or small lot housing. Everyone has a role and responsibility in seeing the Gold Coast mature.
WHAT pisses you off enough? Well, therein lies your purpose, says social entrepreneur Ronni Kahn.
“Many people would love to find their purpose and I like to stress that purpose hides in many different ways,” says Kahn, speaking at a Young Professionals Gold Coast event at Nobbys Beach.
“A clue to finding your purpose – if something pisses you off enough, and you cannot find a solution, then perhaps by taking on that problem and solving that problem you might find something incredibly meaningful.”
Kahn practices what she preaches, founding OzHarvest in November 2004 after becoming astounded by the amount of food wasted by the hospitality industry.
In its first month of operation, the perishable food rescue organisation delivered the equivalent of 13,000 meals to eight different charitable organisations. Last month, that number stood at 875,000 meals to more than 850 charitable organisations.
In total, OzHarvest has delivered more than 46 million meals, providing assistance to countless vulnerable men, women and children, and saved more than 15 million kilograms of food from going to landfill.
Kahn, who grew up during the apartheid era in South Africa, says she was fortunate rather than lucky for her success. She says her parents were motivators for her life decisions.
“What they (my parents) did was instil in me the values that all men are equal, all of us deserve the same rights, and that nobody should be discriminated against for any reason – not because of their colour, not because of their race or creed, or disadvantage,” says Kahn.
“Leaving South Africa, which I left after I finished school, was a hard decision because I could have stayed in South Africa to fight the system (apartheid), and I probably would have ended up in jail and possibly be of not that much use.
“That was a consideration for me, but I left and actually went to Israel for many years. But when I came to Australia, I actually found the Promised Land.”
Kahn established a successful events business in Australia, and it was during her time in the hospitality industry that she discovered her true purpose.
She says she reached a point where she questioned why she had been put on earth. She says she wanted to know what it felt like to make a huge difference to somebody else.
“The by-product of every one of my events was, first of all, nobody left and had to go to Maccas on the way home because they were hungry, and secondly, there was wonderful food left on tables that got thrown away,” says Kahn.
“When I could, I would take some of that food and deliver it to a charity that I knew on my way home.
“When I started thinking about what it was that I was looking for and what it was that I could do, I knew that there was food and I knew that there were people in need and I thought what if I could connect that in a very powerful and impactful way.
“My initial goal was to rescue food and feed hungry people and do that until I ran out of food. That felt like a great cause. In no way did I have any understanding of the scale of the problem.”
In Australia, $8-10 billion worth of good food goes to waste each year, or about four million tonnes of food that ends up in landfill.
According to the NSW EPA Food waste avoidance benchmark study (2009), Australians throw out one of every five shopping bags, which equates to every Australian household throwing out $1036 worth of groceries each year.
Australia also produces enough food to feed about 60 million people, yet two million people still rely on food relief every year, according to the DAFF National Food Plan 2012.
Meanwhile, the Foodbank End Hunger Report 2012 highlights that food relief agencies are not able to meet demand. Nearly 90 per cent of agencies reported not having enough food to meet total demand. It found six in 10 agencies required at least 25 per cent more food while almost three in 10 agencies required double the food.
“Our purpose when I started was to rescue food, our purpose now is to nourish our country,” says Kahn.
Kahn was instrumental in changing the existing legislation across four states that had prevented food donors from supplying excess food.
Now, companies and registered businesses around Australia are protected from liability when donating quality excess food to OzHarvest under the Civil Liabilities Amendment Act and Health Acts.
OzHarvest is also dedicated to educating Australians about food consumption, and says people need to shift and change shopping behaviours.
“When we go into a supermarket or a grocery store and buy two-for-one deals, because we think it is cheaper, we need to evaluate if it is,” says Kahn.
“If you pick up two lettuces for one and you throw out one of the lettuces at the end of the week, it is costing you much more than the $2 you saved – it is costing you, it is costing our economy.
“It is about rethinking how we purchase, how we shop and how we live our daily lives.”
OzHarvest also provides the Nourish Program, a pathway to employment aimed at vulnerable youth between the ages of 16 and 25.
Offering advice to young professionals, Kahn says it is important for people to understand how important it is to live now, live for today and be the best possible person you can be.
“As you can appreciate in the event business, I did events that cost $500,000 or $1 million or $300,000, but no money that has ever gone through my hands, or that I have earnt, has felt as good as money that you know is making a difference to one or many people,” she says.
“Each and every one of us has a responsibility to be a leader without a title. What you have to know is that your role is to be a human being that takes care of others, that is aware of the fertility of our lives and that each and every one of us, I believe, has a moral imperative to make a difference to other people.”
The Young Professionals event on the Gold Coast raised close to $1000 which allowed OzHarvest to deliver more than 1830 meals to charity recipients.
In addition, host Simon Gloftis and his team at Hellenika packaged up and donated the excess food from the lunch equating to a further 20 meals which was donated to Rosies for its Friday night street outreach for the homeless.
YP Gold Coast has been working with OzHarvest since 2013 after meeting its Gold Coast representative Lee Danahay who proposed a partnership between the organisations.
OzHarvest links with the city’s other not-for-profits, a main factor in YP Gold Coast wanting to align with the charity.
The YP Gold Coast committee is committed to working with partners who are striving to make a positive mark on the city’s community.
SHANE Primrose and Adam Harrison are playing a different game when it comes to entrepreneurship.
The football fans have teamed up to create Good Football, a social enterprise where for every ball sold, another is donated to a child in need.
Primrose says Good Football doesn't just tackle issues with health and fitness in developing communities, but also kicks the supply chain in the right direction.
The 26-year-old Gold Coast local says inspiration for the social enterprise sprung years ago when he was visiting Kolkata.
"I was 16 and little concerned me beyond chasing footballs and chasing girls, but I met a monk and the lessons he taught me shaped my life for years to come," says Primrose.
"We then served in charity homes in Dayadan, where all the children had disabilities in one form or another and had been abandoned at birth or soon after.
"The street children were taken into these environments by the sisters, under the vision of Mother Theresa, and the value of education for these kids just cannot be understated. Time spent in the school grounds is time where they can free themselves from harsh realities.
Primrose and Harrison came together for Good Football in 2014.
Both juggle full-time jobs, Primrose as a school teacher, and spend their evenings and weekends working on opportunities for the social enterprise. Harrison is currently in Africa visiting orphanages and mission hospitals.
Growing up in the country and attending The Southport School (TSS) as a boarder, Primrose was quick to call the Gold Coast home and now finds our lifestyle formative to running a business.
The first benchmark for Good Football is launching a fully-functioning football store and the ultimate goal is expanding into other sports.
Primrose says the wider community's reception of the concept has been 'incredible'.
Big-name players have purchased from Good Football off their own bat and the social enterprise has scored Fair Game as a trading partner.
"W-League players have been really keen to lend a hand, which is great because football is a growing market in Australia and particularly among young girls," says Primrose.
"We've also had a few pro players pick up products and post on Instagram, and others getting in touch saying how much they like the product and asking what they could do to help.
"It's a bit of a boy dream, coming from a football background, and Fair Game is making everything possible for us because they operate in isolated Indigenous communities teaching kids about health and fitness. They generally collect used sporting goods to use in their programs so were beside themselves when we contacted them to distribute our new products."
Primrose says the next challenge is guaranteeing fair trade through every part of the supply chain.
"The first range of balls on our website are limited edition, machine-stitched, and were sourced in China so we did a lot of research," says Primrose.
"Match quality balls really need to be hand-stitched and there are only four factories in the world that do that with ethical accreditation.
"We need to be dealing with fair trade factories so we aren't solving problems at one end of the scale to source more at the other end.
"If you're going to be in consumer products right now, you really have to consider the true cost of the product because it goes far beyond what the customer pays."
SHE'S 22, a CEO, and making kids think about the only thing that really matters.
Nicole Gibson, the founder of The Rogue & Rouge Foundation and the youngest National Mental Health Commissioner to ever be appointed in the Commonwealth, is proof that millennials are so much more than the stereotypes.
Gold Coast-based Gibson launched her social enterprise at just 18 years old in hopes of breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Her proactive approach to mental health has since helped her cut through over 300 communities and reach 200,000 people across Australia.
Two years earlier, Gibson was in an acting academy aspiring for Hollywood stardom, before spiralling into severe anxiety, depression and anorexia nervosa.
“This obsession with success and competitiveness was one of the things that impacted me my entire life and it wasn’t until last year that I actually started to recognise this,” says Gibson.
Gibson says it took a shock to her system for something to switch inside of her, which came in the form of hospitalisation for anorexia nervosa.
On her journey to recovery, she found herself constantly mulling over the state of Australia’s mental health system, where $600 million is spent every year on absenteeism directly correlated with these issues.
What’s more, seven people commit suicide in our country every day.
“I had 36c in my bank account and called up my best friend and said I was going to tour Australia and visit the most strained communities because I wanted to know the truth about what was really going on – she naturally thought I was crazy.
“But the more money spent on mental health correlates to rising incidences so it's pretty clear what’s been done in the past isn’t working.”
On a shoestring budget, Gibson estimated she would need $75,000 to bring her vision to life. She was fortunate to have a working relationship with SunSuper, who had featured her in their Champions of Change campaign the year before – but that still didn’t make for a shoe-in.
“They said no, I persisted, and they eventually scheduled me in for coffee with their marketing intern,” Gibson says.
“I was pitching for a speaking tour around Australia and I wasn’t a public speaker or expert facilitator by any means. I didn’t even have a car.
“I walked away with a verbal agreement for funding. It felt like the ultimate score of the underdog.”
Gibson found mental health challenges to be epidemic among young people across Australia. The same sentiment prevailed, whether she was visiting an Indigenous community in the Kimberly region, or an esteemed private school in Melbourne.
Some of the schools in remote communities had only 20 per cent attendance rates.
“I spoke to the school bullies, asked why they did it, and they consistently said because it made them feel powerful and the person they victimise then feared them.
“It sounds soppy, but truly the only way to transmute fear is through love. In rough and rural towns where intimacy and vulnerability just aren’t things, we implemented a policy where kids would just hug the bully.
“It’s not about plugging mental health as an issue, but working out how to inject love into a society that feels pressure to be a certain way. We get phone calls saying there’s next to no bullying at these schools anymore because of this hugging trend.”
Gibson continues to roll out programs across Australia, most recently a program in partnership with fellow Gold Coast social enterprise, Startup Apprentice.
They are focused on equipping kids with business smarts to give a sense of direction and purpose.
The local social enterprises are teaming up for an eight-week and one-day program, Startup Apprentice Express, an experience-based learning session that 'bridges a gap between book-smarts and street-smarts' where students come out with a digital business or social enterprise ready for a panel of judges.
“It's so crucial that young people are exposed to different styles of learning, and encouraged to look at both their values and belief systems to give them solid foundations to thrive in and beyond high school,” she says.
“If you look up success in the dictionary, it will likely say ‘a lack of failure’ – the most subjective definition of success ever. The definition for failure isn’t helpful either – ‘an unsuccessful person or thing’.
“We want kids to realise there’s no tangible definition of success or failure to get caught up in. It’s up to all of us to make up our own definitions.”