Last updated: 21 Jun, 2017

Congratulations to Transitioning the Valley, winner of the VicHealth Community Challenge.

The VicHealth Community Challenge: Latrobe Valley involved supporting community driven ideas to generate more jobs in the region. After calling upon the community to share their ideas with us in May 2016, we received four very different initiatives with the aim to create local jobs and boost health and wellbeing in the region. These ideas were:

Transitioning the Valley is a jobs and collective impact, future industry initiative that blends existing hard and soft infrastructure, new energy technologies and a blend of business models. Initiated by the community, it will work together with government, business and educational facilities to provide a pathway for transition to the future industries. The project will initially focus on the brokering and founding of a Transition Centre and industry incubator, to retool the industrial and educational base of the Latrobe Valley for the requirements of a 2050 Hybrid Energy future.  Find out more here.

ALT_ART aims to provide career opportunities creative connections and skills development for emerging artists as an artist run, community owned gallery. This involves a physical gallery space at the VRI Hall in Traralgon, cultural events and an online database and store, with artists supported by professional mentors and networks. ALT_ART is a launching pad for aspiring creatives, an artistic and cultural attraction to Latrobe Valley, sharing local art with a broad range of buyers, collectors and appreciators of art and connecting people in our communities through the benefits of art. Find out more here.

‘Get Stuffed’ is a new initiative to boost the local food economy of the Latrobe Valley, creating sustainable jobs through fresh local produce. The ‘Get Stuffed’ Food Network wants to work with new and existing food suppliers to improve their access to customers, and help to get local entrepreneurs into the market with an intelligently designed portable growing module. This evolving local food culture will be amplified by an online platform connecting the community to all sorts of local food related information and activities. By promoting good food, good health and local jobs growing in the Valley, let’s all Get Stuffed together! Find out more here.

Hospitality Hire* is an employment initiative that connects young people with restaurants and cafés in the Latrobe Valley. It provides training and job placements, and strives to build a local hospitality community. It will provide young people with engaging, hands-on training to meet the needs of today’s hospitality industry while supporting the health and wellbeing of young workers. Find out more here

Each of the ideas was supported over a period of two months to further develop and refine their ideas with an intensive business planning support process.

This support process included workshops and individualised advice on:

  • Getting clear on the social impact
  • Putting together an advisory board
  • Community engagement
  • Developing a business model canvas
  • Financial modelling
  • Value propositions and assumption testing
  • Project plans
  • Revenue/fundraising options
  • Legal structures
  • Prototyping – market testing
  • Pitching

Three of the four ideas also received $10,000 in seed funding to support them to gain access to experts, enable market testing of their ideas and the development of promotional material. Each idea was able to use their $10,000 for gaps and needs identified throughout the business planning support phase.

We look forward to seeing all four initiatives developed through the Community Challenge take off over the coming months, and will be proudly supporting them through regular follow up, provision of advice and identification of opportunities for further development and support. 

At the end of the business support phase, Transitioning the Valley, ALT_ART and Get Stuffed were all in the running to receive a further financial boost of $20,000 that would help them to progress their idea. The assessment criteria was based on:

  • feasibility and sustainability of the idea
  • potential for community benefit
  • scope and scale of employment/economic benefit
  • willingness and ability to engage the community broadly
  • Community support for the idea (via the poll)
  • Proposed use of the $20,000

All the ideas were very deserving, which made for a difficult assessment process. Transitioning the Valley came out on top and have benefited from the $20,000 boost from VicHealth.

Voices of the Valley are the local group behind the Transitioning the Valley initiative, and they plan to continue on the path they established through the business planning support process of the VicHealth Community Challenge. The next steps for Transitioning the Valley will include a series of community workshops and further development of a business plan.

Congratulations to everyone who was involved in the VicHealth Community Challenge.

*While four ideas participated in the business planning support period, Hospitality Hire was invited to participate in the program as a gesture of support. They were not eligible to receive any funds.