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Exploring the Social Economy: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

October 17, 2023 @ 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Free – $25

Social economy, solidarity economy, co-operatives, social enterprises, mutuals … what does it all mean and how does it get us to a more eqitable, sustainable … humane economy? What are the real challenges – the pros and the cons? 

Join us for an evening of facilitated dialogue and enlightening conversations, hosted by the 888 Co-operative Causeway at the Kelvin Club. Dive deep into the intricacies of the social economy, featuring insights from leaders and practitioners. This is your chance to:

  • Learn about different forms of social economy organisations
  • Challenge myths and preconceived notions – and explore the pros and cons
  • Foster cross-sectoral collaboration for greater collective impact.

Our panel for the evening includes:

  • Carolyn Suggate, Founder & Director of ORICoop, working tirelessly for a more equitable organic agriculture sector
  • Colin Long, Just Transitions Organiser at Victorian Trades Hall Council, co-founder and Board member of Earthworker Cooperative, CoPower (an energy retailer), Earthworker Smart Energy Cooperative, and Hope Cooperative (a co-operative of young asylum seekers)
  • Robyn Evans, researching member contributions in co-opererative social housing (888 Co-operative Causeway and RMIT FORWARD bursary awardee).

Carolyn Suggate is a co-founder of ORICoop and a driving force in pioneering innovations across climate, ecological sustainability, and organic farming. She has developed a collaborative, community-based co-operative investment vehicle focused on the organic and biodynamic farming and food industry.  She runs her own organic and regenerative farm in North East Victoria, specialising in livestock, food, and artisan grains. She is passionate about supporting the next generation of committed, open-minded producers, believing it is a pivotal time to be an innovator in the organic sector. Juggling a family of three teenagers, a tree-climbing husband, and ambitious travel plans, Carolyn lives by the belief that life should be lived and fulfilled to its utmost potential.

Colin Long is the Just Transitions Organiser at Victorian Trades Hall Council, Melbourne, Australia. He is also responsible for supporting Trades Hall’s work on cooperatives, and is a founder and Board member of Earthworker Cooperative, Earthworker Smart Energy Cooperative, and Hope Cooperative (a co-operative of young asylum seekers). He is a member of the Global Advisory Board of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, and several other national and international union climate change organisations.

Robyn Evans serves as a director in a Victorian social housing co-operative. Exploring member contributions in co-operative social housing, she is involved in research collaborations with 888 Co-operative Causeway. Robyn is also a recipient of the RMIT FORWARD bursary award to assist her work in this important area.

Date: 17/10/2023
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Complimentary finger food: on arrival
Drinks: available for purchase at the bar
Dress up a little: but no stress (low-key casual is fine)

The Kelvin Club
14-30 Melbourne Pl, Melbourne


  • $25 for the passionate
  • $20 for union, co-operative, and Kelvin Club members
  • $15 concession.

Don’t miss out on this enlightening discussion: secure your spot today.

The 888 Co-operative Causeway is a Victorian based social economy member network. The co-operative offers a community of mutual support; members are all individuals and enterprises focussed on creating social, cultural and economic value for each other, the Victorian community and beyond. Practically the co-operative offers a city HQ with members enjoying co-working diskspace in the heart of the CBD as well as access to the Kelvin Club. Members include the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, Co-operative Bonds, Sorted. and the Community Services and Health Industry Training Board Victoria. The co-operative regularly hosts events like this, and even a podcast to support and further develop the social and solidarity economy in Victoria.

Picture: Joaquim Borge

Basil’s Table is an interview series presided by Basil Varghese, a well-known Melbourne-based community builder and advocate for social justice, who has long been committed to ‘bridging the gap between those that have and have not’. As a Patron of 888 Co-operative Causeway, Basil hosts these conversations with special guests online or at the Kelvin Club in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD on topics relevant to building a connected community across Victoria.


October 17, 2023
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Free – $25
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Antony McMullen