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Social Enterprise, an organisational form that seeks to achieve community goals through business methods, has become an increasingly popular option overseas for government policy makers and business leaders. Social enterprise is a new term for what Rotary has effectively been doing since 1905 and in Wellington since 1921. It is a concept which internationally is energising young people to apply new approaches and create new business models that are both financially sustainable and contributing towards community and social needs.


In 2015, the Rotary Club of Wellington partnered with the Ākina Foundation in order to promote the growth of social enterprises in New Zealand through a social enterprise startup award programme. This is known as the Rotary Club of Wellington Ākina Social Enterprise Awards.  In addition to RCW providing $10,000 in prize money each year, RCW members are also available to support the selected social enterprise ventures. Our members' diverse range of backgrounds can assist with giving access to a wide range of networks, provide advice on accessing markets along with general business and technical support in addition to possible mentoring.


 The inaugural RCW Ākina Social Enterprise Awards were held on 31 August 2015. The winner (of $7,000) was Vogelmorn Community Group and the runner up ($3,000) was Sew Good. The second annual awards saw first prize go to LearnCoach whose online tutorials and workbooks reach 60,000 students and second prize awarded to Sub Urban Co-Working who will put the money towards rental and establishing more user groups.

Drawing on the experience of RCW, Newmarket Rotary have also established a social enterprise award.