Australian entrepreneurs share tips on building socially responsible businesses

Two acclaimed Australian social entrepreneurs shared their experiences building businesses that tackle social problems, improve communities or support the environment.

Through a programme organised by the Australian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam, co-founder of Social Good Outpost Elise Stephenson and co-founder of The Content Division and founder of Britt’s List Brittanie Dreghorn conducted a series of workshops on social enterprise and sustainable fashion.

Social enterprises use the power of the marketplace to solve pressing societal problems. They are commercially viable businesses that exist to benefit the public and the community, rather than owners and shareholders.

Stephenson and Dreghorn provided tips and advice to Bruneian social entrepreneurs on how to grow their business, make it sustainable and achieve higher impact for the community. They also visited local schools and colleges to explain to students the power and potential of social enterprise. Sustainable fashion is about reducing waste and alleviating the negative impacts of the fashion industry on the environment and communities. As consumers become more educated about the clothes they wear, fashion labels are taking a stand against fast fashion and prioritising ethical fashion, creating their new lines using eco-friendly materials, and introducing ethical practices, such as paying a living wage to workers.

Stephenson and Dreghorn met with representatives from across Brunei’s fashion industry, many of whom were already grappling with the challenges of building a sustainable fashion brand. Through these workshops they were able to get insights into issues such as product selection, supply chains, and ethnical employment practices.

The visit was part of the Australian Government’s Youth Entrepreneurs and Leaders Speaker Series designed to deepen business and community ties between Australia and countries across ASEAN.

Brittanie Dreghorn with participants during a workshop. PHOTO: AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION