Kilmarnock Enterprises

Kilmarnock Enterprises

Below is a case study from a New Zealand Social Enterprise. To learn more about Kilmarnock Enterprises, visit their website.

Who are Kilmarnock Enterprises

Kilmarnock was established in 1958, founded as the Canterbury Sheltered Workshop Association by Miss Christabel Robinson, a humanitarian and educationalist. She believed that if people with disabilities could undertake work, it would give them skills and self-confidence for life in the wider community.

As demand grew, the government made available land which is the current site for Kilmarnock operations. Originally established in a school structure, Kilmarnock gained their first commercial contract with Suckling Brothers in the 1950’s. Over time, Kilmarnock evolved to a more commercial model whilst still upholding the foundations of care, support, empowerment, passion and integrity for all.

What Problem Are They Trying to Solve?

People with disabilities have long been marginalised and undervalued. Kilmarnock aims to change that. Kilmarnock has a vision to be recognised by their stakeholders as a secure, sustainable pathway to independence. Their purpose is to provide a supportive, dynamic and connected environment where people can realise their individual potential as a contributing member of their community and gain the skills needed to pursue the life they choose.

How Does Their Model Work?

  • Kilmarnock provides commercial services in a highly competitive open market including assembly work, collation of goods, food repacking, shrink wrapping, carpentry, e-waste recycling and much more. They are constantly diversifying, expanding and seeking innovative new services that work to improve the confidence, wellbeing and proficiency of their employees, and their organisational efficiency and return. All profit is reinvested into their purpose.
  • Through providing a supporting and enriching paid work environment, Kilmarnock has been teaching adults with a wide range of abilities the skills needed to transition into open employment.
  • The work environment is supported by professional training, social development, health and wellbeing initiatives and ongoing support.
  • They are also actively working to develop social and vocational inclusion and opportunities in the wider workforce for their staff. By working with their customers and other commercial entities they are providing tangible employment opportunities across a variety of industries.
  • They regularly engage with the community, driving sector changes within Government, helping other organisations transition into more robust business models and showing the wider community the incredible contribution people with disabilities can make when given the opportunity.

What's Their Scale and Impact?

  • 30% of Kilmarnock’s revenue is generated through contracts that actively divert waste from landfill.
  • Kilmarnock were the 2014 winners of the ACC Workplace Safety award and 2015 winners of the Champion Charity award at the Champion Canterbury Business Awards.
  • Kilmarnock are ACC Tertiary accredited and ISO9001 quality and HACCP food safety certified.
  • Kilmarnock are recognised by Fonterra as a Grade A globally accredited supplier.
  • Kilmarnock presented to and gave tours to 1,000 people in 2016, actively changing attitudes towards disability.
  • In 2016, 14 people with disabilities came to Kilmarnock for work experience and employment increased by nearly 8%.
  • 65 employees participated in the Kilmarnock Health and Wellbeing programme in 2016.
  • Kilmarnock Health and Wellbeing funded fun runs in 2016.
  • Factory operations were closed down 22 times in 2016 to deliver Health and Wellbeing courses.
  • 25 hours of fitness classes were delivered to employees free of charge.

How can you get involved?

Kilmarnock has worked through a number of challenges during its journey and has identified six key pillars required to support them to achieve their vision:

  • Purpose – Kilmarnock believes that having a cohesive and well-articulated vision and mission is essential for engaging the team and growing in a way that is true to their core purpose
  • Culture – Kilmarnock’s culture defines them and allows them to pursue their purpose with integrity and conviction. Kilmarnock promotes equality, honesty, innovation, open communication and a whole lot of fun
  • People – Kilmarnock exists for the sole purpose of opening new doors and providing new opportunities for people with disabilities. It is essential that personal and professionally development is at the core of all their relationships
  • Competency – Key to changing attitudes toward disability is exemplifying the incredible contributions people with disabilities can make when given the chance. To do this, Kilmarnock must be the best in the business and provide a relationship and service that is superior to their competitors
  • Business Acumen – It takes a lot of knowledge and experience to run a sustainable social enterprise. To achieve this, Kilmarnock has to focus on best practice, diversify significantly and build strong equal relationships with their customers
  • Community – Kilmarnock realised they didn’t need to walk this journey alone. They opened their doors and invited the community, government, and commercial sector in. Since that shift they have been working with a variety of different people and organisations to maximise impact and change attitudes together

Everything at Kilmarnock is a balancing act between core social objectives and achieving incredible results in a highly competitive open market. The amazing team at Kilmarnock are provided with the safety and support of a stable and inclusive environment. They are empowered to open their eyes to a new future where they are valued, respected members of the community.

Want to find out more?

Check out Kilmarnock Enterprises’ website.

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