I have spent the last 13 years working in community development in Outback Australia and there is one thing I have noticed…things aren’t getting better, despite best intentions and millions of dollars and some good ideas.
The reason I believe is that the model for community development is flawed, fundamentally, because we have government and large not for profit organisations involved in service delivery which results in huge inefficiencies, ever increasing bureaucracies and services not actually reaching the people who need it most.
Why? Because they are operated by employees, who have never had to go out and fight tooth and nail for their income and who, without malice or deviousness, can just while away hours doing their ‘job’ OR are trapped by a bureaucracy and a poorly managed system that hamstrings them so badly that they simply can’t do their job properly.
As an entrepreneur who has regularly worked with these organisations and government departments, I see this first hand and it infuriates me. As a business owner, if I operated as inefficiently, unprofessionally and without real deference to the outcomes, I would be broke, starving and probably back in a job…
What makes me even madder about this is that there are brilliant employees who do an amazing job and are constantly undermined by the system they work in and these other people who, quite frankly, obviously don’t give a damn and are just there to collect their pay.
If entrepreneurs and business people were left to develop and deliver social and community development it would be a completely different story and THAT is why I work with entrepreneurs to grow their businesses so they can give back in this way.
It is why I NEVER encourage anyone to set up a not for profit organisation, rather grow a socially responsible business and it is also why we are establishing our Hungry Spirit Enterprise in Lightning Ridge, so we can create a safe space where young and enthusiastic individuals can get a start in their own business and go forth and make a difference.
If we focused on growing entrepreneurs and handed more community development opportunities to our local businesses, in our rural communities, we would be a million times better off.