20 Years Later: A Brief History of Human

by Rachael Crouch

Here at Human Ventures, we’re super proud to be celebrating our 20th year as an active, successful and engaging social enterprise.

Since 1995, we’ve built our work around the belief that disadvantage affecting individuals and communities alike can be changed for good through cultural and creative engagement.

The history of Human Ventures is as varied as it is long; it may be surprising to learn that Human was actually known as SpeakOut from 1995-2008.

SpeakOut was formed to address issues of self-worth, poverty, homelessness and unemployment within Australia’s youth. It’s first project began in Marrickville, Sydney, as a social enterprise with a focus on t-shirt design and production. With start-up funding from The Body Shop, SpeakOut helped support disadvantaged young people with opportunities to work in a creative field to eventually become independent.

In 1998, SpeakOut received a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Employment Training and Youth Affairs for the exact purpose of teaching young people business strategies and principles associated with conducting a successful business. The t-shirt campaign worked through its sales to retailers, including Levis and General Pants Co. Then, with the introduction of the GST, it eventually became cost-prohibitive for SpeakOut to operate an on-shore clothing production label, and some changes needed to be made.

Of course, the SpeakOut team were resilient, and over the next 2 years they worked hard to reinvent themselves. SpeakOut relocated to Brisbane and shifted its enterprise focus from clothing design to the creative industries, particularly graphic design and multimedia.

Over the next ten years, SpeakOut delivered successful digital literacy and visual design programs to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The business model was publicly acknowledged by State Government Departments and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie as significant and an unprecedented success.

20 Years Later: A Brief History of Human

In 2009, SpeakOut merged with and changed its company name to Human Ventures Ltd (Human). Despite the developments and changes in direction, the organisation’s goals and beliefs have essentially remained the same; SpeakOut’s goal was to equip and empower individuals and communities with creative skills in order to bridge social, economic and cultural divides.

Human proudly carries this legacy on, and we hope to continue our good work with many more years of creativity-focused programs to help marginalised communities throughout Australia.

But we need your help!

As it is our birthday month, we’re taking the opportunity to ask the world to help us out a little; our aim is to raise $10,000 and you can donate to our cause by going to the chuffed.org website, or clicking here. In exchange for your generosity, we’ll be offering you an awesome gift designed specially by the talented staff here at  Human.

As well as our chuffed.org campaign, we’re celebrating our birthday in style with a free 90’s themed party! So come and celebrate with us on August 28 at the Fox Hotel in South Brisbane, and reserve your tickets here.

Here’s to another brilliant 20 years!

number crunching

attendees in 2016

From capacity building and intensive workshops to innovative creative productions, we focus on solutions that bring about positive change

Latest news

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  • Voicebox Program

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Contact human.

+61 7 3012 8531
Suite 3, Level 8, 141 Queen St, Brisbane, QLD 4001

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