BORDER business operators have banded together to think outside the square to solve social problems in the community.
The Shared Value Forum in Wodonga on Friday urged business players to identify projects that fitted the bill.
Shared Value occurs where companies create business value by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business.
Wagga-based Department of Family and Community Services community development co-ordinator Donna Argus said businesses could pinpoint projects by going back to their values.
“What do you believe in and why do you do what you do?” she asked.
“It’s not: ‘How am I going to solve all of these social problems’.”
Ms Argus said Wagga was at a similar stage to Albury-Wodonga in identifying key projects that would benefit from Shared Value.
“In Wagga we’re making a really concerted effort to bring parties together to identify their purpose and then work out how and what projects will benefit,” she said.
Ms Argus said Wagga beef processing facility Teys Australia had adopted a Shared Value project aimed at employing disadvantaged Riverina youth.
She said they planned to increase both production and jobs for disadvantaged youth through a program of mentoring and training.
“They are supporting young people to stay on beyond six and 12 months and in their lulls in business are also prepared to donate time to address community issues,” she said.
“Their maintenance teams might be able to help with a kids’ boot camps, for example.”
Skinners and Associates solicitor Chris Halburd, who is a B Corp Europe board member, said Shared Value projects were already operating on the Border.
He said Skinners and Associates, Freedom Accounting Group and Freedom Financial Group were investigating a Shared Value project to empower Border women around domestic violence.
“Eighty per cent of women assaulted by a partner don’t go to the police,” he said.
“We’ve got three services that can help empower them.”
Other speakers at the forum were Dr Gary Saliba, Regional Development Australia – Murray chief executive; Mary-Anne Scully, www.globalsisters.org; and Catherine Jefferies, Rural Housing Network.