Learning | Growing | Thriving

Meet cool entrepreneur Jaclyn

The YFS Spark program was the ticket Jaclyn needed to set herself a pathway for independence.

The single mum of three was at a local courthouse varying a domestic violence order when she came across a pamphlet about the program. “When I read it was an out of the box service for people who don’t necessarily want mainstream employment, I thought, ‘This is me’,” she said. “I’ve always had a vision for starting my own business and this pamphlet made me feel like it was doable.

“Also, I needed something to keep my mind off the court action and keep me going, and to distract my children also from the trauma that we just went through.”

At the time, Jaclyn was, and still is, working for a business that runs an ice cream truck and her employer had just posted a message on social media that made her stop and think.

“It was along the lines of: ‘If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs.’ That really hit home to me,” she said. “So when I read about Spark just a few days later, I knew I had to put my hand up for the program.”

Deb, who runs our Spark program, organised some funds for Jaclyn from a YFS fund established by legal firm Maurice Blackburn. This grant kick-started Jaclyn’s own business venture: a mobile snow cone business.

Linking clients with local businesses that donate products and services is a hallmark of Spark.

“I added $200 of my own savings to buy a commercial esky and insurance with the money,” Jaclyn said.

“Finally, I had the money to launch my own businesses.”
For her first trading days, Jaclyn set up shop at the Kuraby and Milton markets, next to the jumping castle.

“It was a bit slow but I was sure it would pick up,” she said. “I heard Coca Cola only sold 25 bottles in their first year, so I thought if they could do it, so could I.”

Since her initial trading days, Jaclyn has worked at school fetes and community festivals around the greater Brisbane area. She’s now exploring opportunities with the food truck scene, too.

“Deb has been there every step of the way,” Jaclyn said. “I get real flustered when I can’t do something, so it’s comforting to have Deb’s number in my phone.

“If I need to print something or whatever, it’s great that I can give her a call and get her support.”

Spark is an out-of-the-box approach that YFS has developed to support public housing tenants to live their best lives.

Through Spark, we listen to people’s dreams, goals and aspirations and work with them to create individual pathways to success.
This involves linking people with:

  • job-specific knowledge and training as well as job search know-how
  • prospective employer and volunteering opportunities
  • business training, mentoring and support, including business and marketing plan mentoring
  • scholarships to support their further education and training
  • other vocational and non-vocational community service organisations that provide the support our clients need to better focus on securing jobs or starting small businesses
  • confidence and motivation skills development, helping people feel positive about their prospects.

Find out more about SPARK on the YFS website: www.yfs.org.au/services/employmentpreparation.