After 20 years serving the nonprofit sector in one way or another, I’ve seen more than my share of organizations that started strong, grew, but then lost track of their vision and excitement (whether due to financial issues, ‘shiny object’ syndrome, or some other factor). It’s exciting to me to see organizations make a conscious decision to revisit their initial vision and find new ways to accomplish it. Kilmarnock is great example of this. By embracing social enterprises they are both accomplishing their goals and creating a sustainable way to finance it. I’m looking forward to hearing how they are able to scale this approach.
Kilmarnock’s story is one of transition: from an enlightened idea, to a well-respected and well-known local cause, to a struggling charity and finally to becoming one of New Zealand’s leading social enterprises.
Today, we employ over 80 awesome people – most with some form of intellectual disability. We fulfil commercial manufacturing contracts for some of New Zealand’s biggest businesses including Fonterra, The Gough Group, and Air New Zealand. We have a comprehensive and holistic health and wellness programme that has empowered our team to gain more independence. Soon we will be taking our pilot to the public and launching the Kilmarnock Training Academy. Even five years ago, this growth was unimaginable.