Illawarra social enterprise promoting sustainable food wins national award

Winning way: Former Wollongong lifeguard Paul Hellier who founded a start-up called Fair Food Forager that won a major pitching competition in Sydney.
Winning way: Former Wollongong lifeguard Paul Hellier who founded a start-up called Fair Food Forager that won a major pitching competition in Sydney.

An Illawarra social enterprise founded exactly one year ago by a former Wollongong council lifeguard has been recognised nationally at the Accelerate Social Innovation Startup Bootcamp Pitching Competition in Sydney.

Fair Food Forager is an environmental profit for purpose enterprise that was started in October 2015 with a web based search engine.

It recently launched a free app for both Android and iPhone that enables businesses to promote, and consumers to source, ethical and sustainable food.

Founder Paul Hellier has flown to China since pitching his concept last week but before leaving said the competition was strong and the panel very thorough. Its members wanted to see Fair Food Forager had a strong business model.

But when the panel members started pulling out their phones to download the app he knew he was in with a chance.

FFF continually monitors suggestions made by app users and only adds food businesses that satisfy its sustainability criteria. It presently has more than 600 listings in Australia and New Zealand and global interest is growing. The social enterprise is fielding many inquiries from overseas and Mr Hellier is visiting an investor in China this week before heading to the U.S and the UK to prepare for the launch of FFF in the northern hemisphere.

The judging panel at the Accelerate Social Innovation Startup Bootcamp Pitching Competition in Sydney included Amanda Goodman, of the Impact Investment Group, Jan Owen, of the Foundation for Young Australians, and Matthew Tukaki, of NewsNow/Entrehub.