Thursday 24 November 2011

9News - NineMSN

An Australian-first social franchise initiative has seen Rick Pass rocket from unemployment to a star of the Brisbane stock exchange.

The Wise Foundation, the charity that brought the Big Issue magazine to Australa, is set to launch Buffed, a shoe shining business that aims to empower individuals who want to work but whose opportunities are limited.

Mr Pass, one of the first four Buffed franchisees, said he previously struggled to secure permanent and satisfactory prospects in the job market and is keen to set up his stand and start work.

"A week from now I'll be sitting in the stock exchange building polishing shoes and making money," he said.

"This is a winner."

Buffed manager Peter Ball told AAP that a social franchise is a business model that uses established market mechanisms to achieve social outcomes.

Mr Ball said the Big Issue was a great example of a business model that can help people transition out of hardship, and hopes Buffed will have the same impact.

"We want to have a network of 200 shoe shine stands across Australia," he told AAP.

A no-interest loan to assist funding the franchise has been set up to help disadvantaged people take the opportunity.

Punk rocker and franchisee Jimme Jam is a fast talking and energetic character, and a wizard with the brush, who told AAP he was looking forward to being his own boss.

"It's my own little enterprise," he said.

"It's a whole life changing experience."

Jimme has been motivated to return to stable employment as he recently become a father for the first time and said he can't wait for his little boy to learn the drums so he can back dad up on stage.