With a long background working with local homeless and disadvantaged young people, Kylie Lowe decided the time was right to start giving back. Her business, Joining Hands, provides free wellbeing services to the vulnerable and homeless in society through partnerships with 'ambassador' businesses and supporters.
My name is Kylie Lowe, I am from Joining Hands and I'm from Brisbane.
We have 4 revenue streams that generate income and then we have an impact embedded in our model which is about providing access to wellness for homeless and vulnerable young people.
My background is psychology, so I have a psychology degree and I've spent the last 21 years in the youth homelessness sector. When I began, I had zero business experience.
Being your own boss, that's a great question. It's mixed. I love the freedom and the flexibility that comes with that but what also comes with that is quite a large amount of responsibility.
So we have quite a large group of contractors, up to about 50 and that's growing nationally so most of our contractors are Brisbane-based and as I said, then we have contractors growing around Australia.
Joining Hands is an innovative, Brisbane-based social enterprise providing health and wellbeing services to the disadvantaged in society. Kylie, an energetic and tenacious cancer survivor, passionately believes in not just giving back, but paying forward.
It all began when Kylie began providing monthly complementary health clinics to homeless young women and their children. She was soon inundated with requests for help, with 15 young women arriving for the sessions. In order to fund this service, Kylie established Joining Hands in 2012, a social enterprise that built momentum to be able to help homeless and vulnerable young people in Brisbane.
Joining Hands generates revenue from 4 income streams, including offering wellbeing services to corporate entities. For every health and wellbeing corporate service provided, Kylie can provide a free health and wellbeing session to a young homeless or disadvantaged person. In this way, Joining Hands has provided over 3,000 health and wellness sessions to homeless and vulnerable young people, including haircuts, massage, fitness, nutrition, dance and mindfulness. This is achieved through an ambassador program, where like-minded businesses unite in the Joining Hands collective and have the opportunity to provide their services to young people in need.
Kylie admits that the growth of her enterprise hasn't been without challenges – the biggest being finding the time to be both a business owner and a parent. She counts being surrounded by the right supporters and mentors as a key to her success, as well as having a gift for storytelling and building connections. Marketing the enterprise in innovative ways has also been extremely successful, not only for Joining Hands, but for raising awareness of the important social issues that underpin it.