Kids Under Cover (KUC) is a non-denominational, not-for-profit Australian organisation that delivers programs that prevent youth homelessness through provision of secure and stable accommodation and a diverse scholarship programme.
As a not-for-profit, KUC faces the ongoing challenge of generating sufficient funds to operate, with state and philanthropic funding becoming increasingly difficult to access. To alleviate this pressure, KUC leveraged its successful studio program aimed at preventing youth homelessness to develop a social enterprise where profits would be reinvested into its core mission.
Partnering with Nous, the organisation developed a plan for a new profitable “side” business in the tiny homes market. The business case quantified and market-tested various business models in this emerging market in Australian real-estate, based on chosen target markets and leveraging KUC’s existing core business strengths in this sector.
With the help of brand specialists, the venture was named 'Nestd' and brand collateral was designed to appeal to its wide range of target customers. The launch of the venture closely coincided with the next Melbourne International Garden Show (MIFGS) at the Royal Exhibition Buildings – a perfect marketing springboard, with over 100,000 visitors passing through the grounds, seeking ideas about homes and gardens. Although this placed the launch on an aggressive timeplan, the initiative was a great success – with thousands walking through the Nestd tiny home and a sales pipeline of 500 potential buyers.
As a new business in a competitive market, the leader of this new venture was critical to its success. A structured approach for the search was undertaken that cast a wide net to find the right individual, that had the skills and experience to start a new venture in this space, but also fit with the culture of the broader KUC organisation. The incumbent also needed strength in corporate governance to ensure correct procedures were undertaken to integrate the business into the strict not-for-profit requirements.
The revenue from the Nestd is expected to generate 10% of the total budget for 2022 for the organisation and 30% of the total budget by 2027. The goal is for 15 sales in the first year.
Nous will continue to support the venture to help meet these goals using light-touch support and advice to the Board. This advice will range across the business needs – from supplier and architectural relationships to marketing and sales and corporate governance.