This year Community Engine launched a pilot for their social commerce website in Byron Bay. The pilot has been successful and now the company is ready to expand its reach.

“We have around 1000 organisations using the engine,” said Dean Power, who heads up the Northern Rivers office in Byron Bay. “It’s been a joy connecting them all, as so many people previously felt that e-commerce or even having a web presence were beyond their reach.”

To say thank you to the Northern Rivers for hosting the pilot program and to help launch the community building tool nationally, Community Engine has set aside $100,000 to give to Northern Rivers community groups and charities.

“Any not-for-profit organisation in the Northern Rivers can access this money,” said Power. “From Tuesday July 3rd any new followers of groups on the engine attract $1 each. So we encourage groups to spread the word, claim your profile and ask people to follow you. It’s all free and takes no time at all.

“If a group attracts 4000 new followers we will give them $4000. We will keep giving until the money is gone.” is a website to help small businesses and community organisations – Find new customers and members – Stay in touch with existing customers or members – Sell goods and services online, including special offers For everyone else it’s a personal guide to information, products and services from businesses and community groups they are interested in.

“The Northern Rivers was chosen as the place to start the engine because it’s a region of villages, and people here have really held onto their village values” said Power.

“Community Engine exists to make it easy for both businesses and community groups to promote and sell online in a way that also reinforces a sense of community. Essentially, we are about putting business back into the community and community back into business”.

The tool is free to use with only a small fee for processing payments (4.5% for community groups, 6.5% for business).

What do you need to do to get a share of the $100,000 for your group? 1. Go to, search for the name of your organisation and claim your profile, or 2. Get Community Engine to do it for you. Call 1300 266 686, drop by the shop at 1 Byron St, Byron Bay, or email 3. Click to register for the campaign 4. If you’re a not-for-profit group, gather followers on community engine 5. If you’re a business choose an organisation to support and start gathering followers for your business. You can then donate the money raised from your followers to your chosen group. 6.  Tell everyone – post it to Facebook, Tweet it, put up signs, whatever. Just start collecting as many follows as possible on your claimed community engine profile.

Community engine will donate $1 to you, if you are a not-for-profit organisation, or to your nominated group if you are a business, for every follow you collect above a minimum of $50 and up to $5,000 per group.

“We hope that once people see what the engine is about they will like it, see the value for them and want to stick around,” said Power.

PICTURE: Community Engine’s Dean Power with client David Styles.