Canberra’s Krofne donuts are a city-wide hit, with the family-run social enterprise set to have an even bigger year in 2019.
“From starting up a humble little market stall at the Bus Depot Markets – in November 2016 – to now; we’ve moved into our own commercial kitchen out at Fairbairn which is just awesome,” says Krofne owner Danijela Vrkic.
“We did that the day before Christmas. From having one intellectually disabled employee, we now have seven at the moment and [are] actively recruiting for more.”
Krofne do donuts with a difference; they are a social enterprise that works to provide meaningful employment for adults with intellectual disability. Danijela and her husband were inspired to create Krofne by their son, Anthony, who has Down syndrome.
“He’s only got this year left of school, and so we were looking at how we can actually assist him in his future,” Danijela says.
“People with an intellectual disability, they find it very hard to find any type of meaningful employment post school. So we thought that we’d actually create something for him.”
Using Danijela’s mother’s family recipe, passed down for generations, the Vrkic family has created a successful enterprise, operating out of several locations, with big changes on the horizon.
“We’ve just started doing weddings … we’ve got a couple of weddings coming up in March. The reasons that they chose us were: one, they really love the product, but two, the social aspect of what we do as well.”
The Krofne team are also looking to start catering, serving up savoury products alongside their donut offerings.
“That’s going to happen not too far away. And we’re also welcoming wholesale enquiries at the moment as well,” Danijela says.
“Alongside this, we’ve also started up a training company. It’s another social enterprise. Being a business owner, we found that a lot of these young people that are presenting to us for work have actually got no soft skills training, which will help them keep their employment.
“The whole premise of this is to give these young people training so they can essentially have a better opportunity of gaining employment,” she says.
“The training actually focuses on skills such as problem solving, communication, customer service, work health and safety, understanding social necessities, etiquette in the workplace … We’ve actually just offered a job to a young lady in Krofne who’s just about to complete the training.”
The training business, Positive Change, runs separately to Krofne, with the skills transferrable to a range of industries.
“We’re really excited about that, and we’re also actively assisting young adults find employment, not just with us but with other employers as well,” Danijela says.
According to Danijela, the Canberra community has been “awesome” in their support of Krofne.
“The purpose of our business is to provide meaningful employment for people with an intellectual disability, but also to advocate strongly on behalf of these people as well.
“There needs to be more awareness in our community, and by the community supporting our business, buying our products, they’re actually supporting our cause.”
For more information or for enquiries, find Krofne on Facebook [@krofnecbr].