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Thought Starter: A world first social enterprise car park?

I am with Larry Page. A good idea is always crazy until they are not. Until people jump on the crazy wagon. And we are in an era where big ideas are needed. Transformational ideas that allow multiple partners to help us bust out some of our old, limiting paradigms. 

Having lived back in rural and regional Victoria, and travelled extensively in and out of Melbourne for meetings, I have long been holding the idea for a game-changer in the world of car parking. 

For me, I have been envisioning a Social Enterprise Car Park, and could very much see Melbourne/Victoria leading the way and creating a world first community-first car parking model. 

The working title is ‘Happy Parking’ which is very much the opposite of what I have felt in using a Car Park in Melbourne for the past 20 years! The other name is 'VALET' which sums up the experience you would have at this car parking hub. 

Here’s some of the highlights in the current working plan: 

1 Car Services: Think Good Cycles social enterprise for bicycles - we provide a range of education and employment pathways, with 500 cars a day at our finger tips! Our community members book their services on the Happy Parking app. Services range from oil and grease change, small dent removal, car wash, tinting services and more. 

2 Dinner services Many of us are jumping in the car to drive 1.5-3 hours, with limited dinner options on the highway (although Olivers has helped fill a gab in the marketplace). You can pre-book a Dinner-in-The-Car meal pack that's easy to handle and eat on the way home. 

3 Pregnant women: We have your back with our extra wide car parking spaces, so you don’t get in a jam when you are exiting or trying to enter your vehicle (Yes, I have been in that boat - literally stuck with my 8-month-baby-belly jammed trying to get out of my car!) 

4 All ability services: We’ll partner up with Travellers Aid and others to help our community members (note, we don't call you customers) to where you need to be. 

5 Anxiety Busting Moves: Most people's heart rate races in a car park, especially at night time. Not at Happy Parking. Our Concierge Service includes a couple of 6'6 car park bouncers who will walk you to your car, and even help carry your bags for you. 

6 Real Elevators: Happy Parking will be one of the first car parks to have a real elevator that treats us as human beings, not cattle. Where you can comfortably have 4 people in an elevator without having to lean against someone's armpits! There will also be sufficient room for a wheelchair and pram, and room for the person pushing them along. Novel, we know! 

7 Leave when you want: A Happy Parking believes that leaving a car park when YOU want should be enshrined into the Human Rights Charter. Seriously, how these car parks currently get away with pinging you because you want to leave before 3pm. At Happy Parking - we won't hijack your day. Your come/go when you need. 

9 Location services: Our Concierge anxiety-busters will also help you find where you are going. Off to an appointment, need to catch a tram. No stress. Come to the helpdesk and we’ll help you find your way. 

10 Profit: Last but not least. Because we are not sharks, we can use the profit to benefit our community – those who park with us, those who live in the vicinity of our service. We will evolve the model with you, and for you.  

The ideas to combine services and create a cluster of activity really are endless. I’d even pay for a quick $20 neck massage before I had to get back on the road. 

I’d be happy to hand over $50 for that experience. Anyone else?

The Xfactor Collective is a community of pre-vetted specialist consultants who help social change makers achieve their social mission. We have a diverse range of specialists across 300+ areas of specialisation, and this article was written by our Specialist Consultant Julia Keady. To find out more about working with Julia, or how the Collective can help you, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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