Hello Awesome Foundation Melbourne Chapter!
My name's Marjorie Tenchavez and I'm the founder and director of social enterprise, Welcome Merchant. Our mission is to elevate the voices of entrepreneurs who identify as a refugee or as a person seeking asylum in Australia. As a social enterprise, Welcome Merchant acts as a directory, making it easy for conscious shoppers to find unique gift hampers and products and cultural events operated by underrepresented entrepreneurs, all while making a meaningful social impact.
Since we launched on Instagram in March 2020, we've featured over 125 refugee-powered businesses, from across Australia, on our social media pages & online directory, for free. Since April 2021, we've organised 29 refugee powered events, in Sydney, Melbourne and Wollongong. These events include 3 markets, 3 art exhibitions and 19 dining events, which have all sold-out. We run our events in partnership with chefs and entrepreneurs who are also refugees and people seeking asylum. The chefs take home 50% of the ticket sales from the dining events. We also donate a portion of each event ticket to a select charity, for example, at our Iranian Pop-Up in Melbourne, the chef decided to donate $5 from each ticket to the Syrian American Medical Society, to help the Syrian earthquake victims.
We also offer free skill-building workshops to the entrepreneurs, to help them scale up their own businesses. We provide information & referral, as we don't do casework due to lack of resources.
We also sell gift hampers in partnership with 5 refugee business owners, they are sold nationwide.
In January 2023, we were given accreditation by Social Traders Australia, so we are now officially a Social Enterprise.
In full disclosure, in March 2021, the Awesome Foundation Sydney chapter awarded us our very first grant, which helped us run our first cooking class with a Sri Lankan refugee chef. The money went to the venue hire, it was a huge help!
Financé par Melbourne (May 2023)