Category – Social Enterprise
Sponsor – MatchWorks
Winner – Waverley Industries
Finalists – Kare ONE, Casey and District Multiple Birth Association
Waverley Industries’ reputation as a business with a heart has been firmly cemented with its third award in the Social Enterprise category.
Waverley Industries has made this category its own, winning in 2015, 2016 and, now, 2017.
The not-for-profit organisation commenced operations in November 1984 with the aim of providing employment opportunities for people with special needs, in particular intellectually disabled adults.
The business employs more than 250 disabled adults at its Waverley Industries Notting Hill site and at its new packaging factory in Star Crescent, Hallam.
Waverley Industries opened its 4000-square metre factory in Hallam in 2016, creating 40 jobs for people with disabilities.
Director and chief executive Frank Cresia said the expansion enabled the business to develop its accredited training programs to neighbouring special schools.
“We’ve created a lot of new jobs,” he said.
“Our success is our people.
“That’s our essence and our growth – people with disabilities.”
Across its Hallam and Notting Hill locations, workers specialise in packaging solutions, assembly work, manufacturing, mail outs and catering.
Mr Cresia said that Waverley Industries was proud to play an important role in the lives of its employees.
“Their work enriches their lives and builds their self-esteem, knowing that they are producing things that we, as a community, need,” he said.
“They still receive their disability support pension, so working with us provides a supplement to that.”
Waverley Industries makes it a priority to reach out to special needs schools to provide employment opportunities.
Working with Waverley Industries since 2001, Mr Cresia has seen it develop into a thriving business. Assisted by a team of hardworking volunteers, he said the business provided its customers with more than just high-quality products and services at competitive prices.
“We’ve gone from an organisation on its knees to a thriving, sustainable, business model,” he said.
“Customers see that they’re providing job opportunities for people that wouldn’t otherwise be working.”