'Shagadelic' success: How disabled Rocky boy created 13 jobs

L-R Michelle Landry, Zach Roberts, and Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice in Rockhampton.
L-R Michelle Landry, Zach Roberts, and Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice in Rockhampton. Chris Ison ROK110717cndis1

UNWAVERING in his Austin Powers impersonation, charismatic businessman Zach Roberts said all was "shagadelic" at Groovy Mood Food.

The young entrepreneur had his peers, and Coalition MPs Michelle Landry and Jane Prentice, in stitches as he spruiked his hand-made gelato venture during this morning's early NDIS rollout announcement.

Groovy Mood Food was a concept borne at age 18, soon after Zach graduated from the Emmaus College.

A few years on and the fruits of his labour are evident in the now 13 people with disabilities working to produce the sweet treats from a Rotary kitchen two days a week.

"When I was 18 I got my business certificates and I said to my mum, 'hey mum can I make a business," he recalled.

"She said 'yes, gelato my dear'.

"We worked things out and we hired and we have done pretty well.

"We are very shagadelic now."

Zach, who lives with the genetic condition Fragile X Syndrome, has also set his sights higher.

The vision is to grow the business using produce from the gardens on site the Home Assist facility in Wandal, where CEO Grant Searle said they hope to build a 40-person capacity commercial kitchen.

WATCH | Early NDIS rollout for Rockhampton


Mr Searle said the not-for-profit venture was an opportunity to train people with disabilities in everyday skills such as hygiene and cooking.

The disability support service also organise a range of other employment opportunities which could lead to employment for clients.

Groovy Mood Food are often out and about at community events and markets, with their next big event at Challenge the Mountain on September 2.

All proceeds feed back into expanding the business, any profits back to the employees.

Zach and Mr Searle encourage members of the community to sample some of their classic and more whacky flavours; Mexican chocolate, chocolate cherry, white chocolate, strawberry, salted caramel and hibiscus lime.

Zach is one of the 2,600 Rockhampton people expected to benefit from the early National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout, which Ms Landry and Ms Prentice announced today.

Topics:  business disability health home assist jane prentice michelle landry national disability insurance scheme ndis not-for-profit

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