EXI's journey has uniquely positioned the company today as a leader in social business development with strengths in marginalised communities, critical incident response and personal and business regeneration.
EXI was founded in 2004 by Louise Earnshaw as the developer and owner of accredited courses, courseware and training services in Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Skills.
Whilst the services were located largely in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, the methodology was a powerful psychological intervention.
EXI was established as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to deliver Certificates and a Diploma of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Skills across Australia in partnership with schools, TAFEs and community organisations.
EXI's courses taught students how to turn a hobby or passion into money.
EXI's courses and training were recognised as successfully engaging marginalised youth, people and communities in sustainable earning, learning and cultural preservation.
EXI methodologies are based on empirical research, having been developed from the founder's PhD investigation into the similarities between successful entrepreneurs and at-risk youth. In 2005, EXI's suite of courses were the only accredited entrepreneurship courses in the Australian VET sector.
In addition to trauma and critical incident response, Employee Assistance and therapeutic services, EXI's services include courses, courseware, train-the-trainer training, professional development and mentoring in transpersonal and social business development.
In March 2002 Earnshaw introduced her methodology to the public as training workshops in youth entrepreneurship development.
Since then the following has been accomplished:
- A self-initiated volunteering project in Malta, using EXI's entrepreneurship curriculum with refugees
- Workshop tours in seven countries working with in excess of 11,000 participants resulting in skilling high-risk youth to launch micro-enterprise
- Trialling the Certificates in Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Skills in five Australian states
- Launching three Australian Chutzpah Inc. sites including two Indigenous sites in the WA Goldfields and Western Desert
- Supporting hundreds of high-risk indigenous and non-indigenous youth to create micro-enterprises, leading to employment, education and training, work placements, traineeships and apprenticeships
- Identifying a number of micro-enterprise projects for the purpose of cultural preservation in the Indian Himalayas
- Consultancies to assist with the psychosocial and economic rebuild in post-tsunami southern Sri Lanka
- Extensive acclamatory print, television and radio reports about the efficacy of micro-enterprise development in marginalised youth across Australia, NZ and Denmark including features on ABC TV, The 7.30 Report and Catalyst
Earnshaw was the winner of a number of prestigious awards for the social entrepreneurship work, including
- 2007: The Endeavour Executive Award to work with remote Himalayan-desert Villagers on the Indo/Tibetan border
- 2004: Queensland Government's Smart Women Smart State Award- 2004: UniQuest Trailblazer Award: Student Category
- 2003: UQ Research Travel Award to visit Wall St New York and Denmark
- Finalist: UQ Business School's Enterprize Competition 2004
EXI methodology continued to evolve whilst Earnshaw lived and worked in the WA Pilbara where she established a remote Palya (indigenous) wellbeing service for the Martu people (the Western Desert traditional owners) and for the broader Pilbara community.
Earnshaw noted the relevance of her work to migrant communities when in December 2010 Earnshaw commenced work as a Psychologist in the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre. EXI methodology assisted her to developed new interventions to work with asylum seekers and refugees who suffering as a result of prolonged mandatory detention.
Earnshaw continued to work with three other major Christmas Island stakeholders until 2014. Consequently, Earnshaw has gained extraordinary insight into the asylum-seeking processes and associated issues. These unique experiences have enabled her to continue to adapt EXI's work to supporting distressed and displaced communities and to support the organisations that support them.