Elisha Taderera has always been determined to build something big that positively impacts others – and the innovative Bundaberg entrepreneur hopes his work can grow community and resilience for Wide Bay’s young people too.
A CQUniversity student and founder of Home of Champions mentoring organisation, Mr Taderera is helping change how the region tackles social issues, thanks to his role in CQUniversity’s iActivate regional social enterprise accelerator.
“I’d always been interested in social impact and business, and even bought my first business as a teenager – but joining CQU’s iActivate cohort helped me further understand Queensland’s social enterprise ecosystem, and how business can make a difference in communities,” he said.
Mr Taderera was one of 13 iActivate graduates in Bundaberg in 2022, participating in a 13-week course to design and grow their for-purpose business ideas.
It was the first time the popular program had been delivered in Bundaberg with face-to-face and online support, thanks to the Queensland Government’s $8 million Social Enterprise Jobs Fund.
While Mr Taderera was in the iActivate program, Damien Tracey, CEO of CLS Ability Enterprises LTD, invited him to be project lead for the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Activation project for QSEC, the peak body of social enterprise in QLD.
“That was four months of research, and leading events across Hervey Bay and Maryborough and Bundaberg, and bringing inspirational entrepreneurs to the region to share their experiences in social enterprise.” he said.
“At the same time, I was building my own social enterprise, and realising the need in the community for young people to get experience as entrepreneurs, and how learning entrepreneurial skills and mindset could help upskill them for future careers.”
Last year, Mr Taderera also secured a $50,000 Backing the Future grant from the Vincent Family Fairfax Foundation, to support his projects under Home of Champions for upskilling young people.
“When I bought my first business at 18, there wasn’t a lot of support or encouragement outside of my immediate family – but I believed anything was possible because I loved to look at problems and find solutions,” he said.
“Now, giving young people those opportunities, and providing networks for new entrepreneurs means a lot to me personally, and could make a huge difference to connection and wellbeing in our local community,” he said.
Mr Taderera is working with local high schools, and also recently started CQUniversity’s Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Leadership.
“It’s the perfect timing, having a highly flexible way to learn, and learning really relevant, innovative approaches alongside the work I’m doing,” he said.
Home of Champions is an organisation developed to support creators, entrepreneurs and makers in regional and rural areas, through mentoring, workshops, resources and other supportive tools – learn more here.
To explore CQU’s iActivate program and other Social Innovation opportunities, visit cqu.edu.au/changemaker.