ChewYings Lawn & Horticulture (CLH) is a profitable business providing quality lawn and garden care in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales. However, the business is more than a gardening service. It has evolved into a model for mainstreaming marginalised workers into employment.
Meet The Owners
Robert & Melinda Chewying
Robert and Melinda Chewying founded ChewYings in 1992, with barely $300 to start the business. Their determination, understanding of marginalised workers and Indigenous heritage encompass their business ethics and have resulted in a thriving business that benefits both their employees and their local community.
Robert has a passion for fishing, and along with his wife Melinda they lead a happy lifestyle with their two daughters in the rural town of Nowra.
Since its beginning in 1992, ChewYings has evolved into a model for mainstreaming marginalised workers into employment with the option of their own sustainable business . We specialise in employing people whom many other employers pass by. We provide opportunities for Indigenous people, welfare recipients, people with a disability, the aged and long-term unemployed, to become business people in their own right.
Robert and Melinda Chewying, the business founders and owners, facilitate the skill of lawn care and horticulture as well as practical aspects such as business skills, computer knowledge and customer service. Above all, the business creates an environment to allow all staff to flourish at their own pace.
The input of employees has been an essential element of the business's success. They are involved in every aspect of the work they do, given more responsibilities as they gain more skills, and they control the amount of work they do. Employees are the basis of the business, and their confidence and loyalty are what has made the business strong and successful.
ChewYings Lawn & Horticulture has demonstrated that it is possible to develop a viable and highly competitive business that is also socially responsible. Robert's empathy comes from his own disability and pride in his Indigenous lineage, and together with his wife Melinda they have achieved a workplace that is both understanding and motivating for their employees.
Today, Robert and Melinda have a business that is basic, but very successful. They know it has the potential to expand to other regions and industries. The current challenge is to explore the possibilities of developing a social business system arrangement.
"From being determined and sticking to our beliefs, we now earn a good living and have a wonderful lifestyle working in an industry we love. I have a fantastic life with my wife and two daughters, and I now feel that I can take the next step in constructing the business." - Robert Chewying
In 2001, Robert Chewying befriended Peter Botsman, a leading social entrepreneurial academic well known in the small business sector. He and Robert were of like minds and Peter gave the ChewYings business model his support.
Writing in The Australian, Peter Botsman comments on the letters that ChewYings regularly receive;
"...Letters from parents and their employees. Full of praise, they state quite simply that working for the ChewYings business has given the children hope, a new start, qualifications and independence."
Read the full news article go to "The Story" on this site.
Over the last 5 years, the business has achieved considerable recognition. Firstly, the outcomes regarding staff development have been considerable, both in terms of skill and personal development. Secondly, the business it has been profiled in The Australian newspaper and the Indigenous Stock Exchange. We have received numerous awards for employing people with disabilities. The business has also received 4-star accreditation from Micro Navigator the first Indigenous business to achieve such accreditation.
The impact and potential of ChewYings Lawn & Horticulture is best summarized by Peter Botsman;
"Robert Chewying and his family have created a pathway in business to what Noel Pearson calls "the real economy". Developed around his own inspiring example, Robert's portfolio work strategy builds confidence, capability and strength. Let us hope that one day soon there is the equivalent of a ChewYings Lawn & Horticulture in every Australian community economy."
To read more about our current work on developing the framework on this sustainable social model please e mail or use the online form to make contact.