Countdown to the Two Feet Showcase


We’ve been fortunate over the course of the past six months to work with some of the most inspiring organisations that are committed to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Whether it’s improving the lives of people with disabilities, reducing waste within our food system or tackling homelessness – it has been a privilege to work with such dedicated and passionate people.

As our Two Feet Program comes to a close across the country, we’d like to invite you to the Two Feet public showcases we are holding across the country.

The showcases will give you the chance to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the Two Feeters, and to network with thought leaders from social enterprise, NFP and the for-purpose ecosystem more generally. We will also be sharing our 2018 programs and accelerator calendar.

If you’d like to join us, click on the links below and sign up to the events we are holding across the country. It’s important you get in quickly though, as we only have limited spaces available that are filling up fast!

Sydney Two Feet Public Showcase

Brisbane Two Feet Public Showcase

Melbourne Two Feet Public Showcase

Finally, over the course of the next two weeks we are going to be sharing the stories of some of the teams to get you excited about who you’ll be meeting! As we release each story, we will add the links to their blog posts below.

Can’t wait to see you all over the coming weeks!

– TDi Team.



Introducing TDi's new CEO


After seven years building, piloting and growing TDi, Bessi Graham will be stepping down as CEO in December 2017, and Anthea Smits will be taking over as CEO.

With Bessi at the helm, TDi has achieved extraordinary outcomes, and we believe we haven’t even scratched the surface yet of what TDi will deliver over the coming years. As we move out of the early years and startup mode this is the perfect time for fresh leadership and new skills.

Bessi’s vision and commitment as a pioneer in the social enterprise and impact investment space has not only allowed TDi to flourish but has contributed significantly to the growth of the broader eco-system. Thanks to Bessi’s vision, TDi has been able to crack into a market in its infancy, and with her leadership we have found clarity and a method that allows us to make a real difference to communities around the world. 

Corrine Proske, Chair of TDi’s Board said that “I have seen firsthand the need for TDi, to bridge the gap between the for purpose and for profit worlds. Not many people have been able to achieve this, so it is no insignificant feat that Bessi has managed to build a sustainable business in a sector that has for so long been reliant on grants and philanthropy to keep it afloat. I can say with confidence that this would not have happened if it wasn’t for her extraordinary personal effort and sacrifice, and uncompromising vision for TDi”.

We are so excited to introduce TDi’s new CEO, Anthea Smits, after a succession plan that we’ve been working through with our Board for the last two years.

Anthea joined TDi in March 2015 as Deputy-CEO after a diverse career in both corporate and community organisations. Anthea is both a seasoned entrepreneur and impact investor and combines an incredible work ethic with a love of people that allows her to deliver remarkable results in all the work she does. Anthea’s experience at building organisations and teams in both a domestic and international context positions her perfectly to lead TDi into it’s next stage of growth and development.

Bessi is looking forward to some much needed rest and relaxation and will be exploring new opportunities in 2018 that continue to build the impact investment market and broaden the horizon of what’s possible.

Please join us as we thank Bessi for her extraordinary work and wish her all the best on her next adventure, and congratulate Anthea as the incoming CEO of TDi.

As always, please let us know if you’d like to have a coffee and chat about doing good and making money.

– TDi Team.



Why we've Broken Up with Social Enterprise

If you’ve ever experienced a break up, you’ll probably know how we feel right now. We began our relationship with Social Enterprise full of excitement. We saw our shared future together – it was the manifestation of all our hopes and dreams for a better world. We believed that together we could achieve so much more than we could on our own. But after a seven year relationship, the itch has truly kicked in. We’re breaking up. And to be honest it’s because we’re disappointed with Social Enterprise.

It’s hasn’t been easy, and we are feeling pretty heartbroken (there may be a tub of chocolate ice cream coming out tonight!) that Social Enterprise didn’t hold up their side of the bargain. But we’re realists, and we now know that there was a mismatch between our initial hopes and dreams and what Social Enterprise has ended up being.

So what did Social Enterprise do wrong? There were two key breaking points for us.

“Whether it is social enterprise or another term, at the heart of it for me is that holistic invitation and the profound belief that… when you are purpose driven you will be profitable and you will get there".

— Olivia Maclean, panellist, General Manager of Mission Development at Baptcare

The first is that Social Enterprise is increasingly self obsessed and inwardly focused. For some people this is an obsession with the idea of social entrepreneurship, or being a founder. We believe that Social Enterprise has lost some of its initial reason and motivation, and it’s become more about that label of being a ‘Social Entrepreneur’. Obsessing over definitions that are unhelpful, drives limited thinking and limits the impact that we can really be part of creating. Constant naval gazing limits collaboration.

“What these terms have been helpful in doing is to reframe the conversation and get people thinking differently outside their normal silos of activities. And I think that is all that is happening here. I think the social enterprise term has passed its use-by date.”

- Christopher Thorn, panellist, Partner in Social Finance, Impact Investment, and Philanthropy at EY

The second, is the obsessive focus on profit, and what Social Enterprises do with it.

Social Enterprise too often breeds an obsession with labels, and makes entrepreneurs feel they can only make a difference through their profit distribution. For us, this is unsustainable, and totally misses the point. There is an underlying laziness in finding a nice, flashy term that you can call yourself, rather than do the work to figure out how your business is actually doing good in the world.

“If you limit the good you can do in the world, to what you do with your profit, or even worse, what you do with a percentage of your profit, you have completely missed the point”

- Bessi Graham

Social Enterprise for us became a partner who lost his way. Social Enterprise lost sight of what it originally set out to do, which was to work to create better social or environmental outcomes.

These obsessions and definitions have trapped Social Enterprise in the very problem it was trying to escape– the scarcity mindset that plagues the charitable not-for-profit space. There are already enough organisations competitively fighting over shrinking pools of capital in a philanthropic and government space. We don’t need more grant reliant organisations – we need enterprises with sustainable, high impact business models – and that’s what we would call a business that’s doing good and making money.

"I know a lot of people who work and come up to you with big ideas and will talk about being a social enterprise and I would try to go one layer deeper to the business model and normally it didn’t exist!”

— Eyal Halamish, panellist, co-founder and CEO at OurSay

We thought that Social Enterprise would open up new pools of capital. But by trapping Social Enterprise in the definition of a grant-reliant-not-for-profit-with-some-kind-of-trading-that-reinvests-or-redistributes-part-of-its-profit, it’s still in the same category. When you can’t access broader pools of capital – how is that different from operating as a charity? Why create a label and call yourself something else, if it doesn’t actually change the game of where you play or how you play?

So what does this break up mean?

“The idea of breaking up with social enterprise is in no way a breaking up with those people who call themselves a social enterprise. But social enterprise as an idea has come to a place where our relationship doesn’t work anymore”

- Bessi Graham

We promise, we won’t be changing our phone number, we’re not being overly dramatic, we can still be friends. We’re not changing who we are as an organisation – TDi remains committed to the vision of bringing together doing good and making money. We will continue to work with groups, whatever they call themselves, to identify opportunities to build sustainable business alongside social or environmental impact. What we are interested in, is the impact you’re trying to have in the world – regardless of your legal structure.


Introducing 2017's Melbourne Two Feeters!

Melbourne Cohort 1

Melbourne Cohort 2


Announcing our Second leveraged Investment into the Pacific with Tanna Coffee

TDi are proud and excited to announce the second investment that we enabled into the Pacific. Following months of working closely with various partners across the region including DFAT and Pacific Trade & Invest, we are pleased to announce that we have leveraged $656,000 in investment capital,  for a business making a real difference to peoples’ lives in the South Pacific.


In 2015, Cyclone Pam devastated many of Vanuatu’s 84 islands. One island, called Tanna, suffered the full force of the storm, and the coffee-growing hub, comprised of 750,000 plants, was almost completely flattened. This left nearly 500 of Tanna’s local farmers and their families without any source of income.

The collective of coffee farmers work with the enterprise Tanna Coffee to produce some of the rarest single-origin blend on the planet. The coffee plants on Tanna grow in volcanic soil, 400 metres above sea level, giving the coffee a unique flavour. Coffee also makes up majority of the profitable agriculture on the island and is the primary source of livelihood for a large portion of the population. It was vital that this industry survive the storm and be rejuvenated.

“In the long term, a sustainable economy in Vanuatu will reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign aid, including the $62.5 million [1]  in aid that the country is estimated to receive from DFAT this financial year”.

— Anthea Smits, Deputy CEO at TDi

When DFAT approached TDi about working in the Pacific to discover what doing good and making money looked like in a developing context, we took up the opportunity and the challenge willingly. Our Pacific team, comprised of Anthea Smits and Anna Moegerlein, have been working with Tanna Coffee over the last year to help regenerate the business, set them up for long-term sustainability and to help them have a greater impact on Vanuatu’s local economy. We also helped to leverage their investment.

 

The majority of the investment will be utilised to rehabilitate the crops that were damaged by Cyclone Pam, and redeveloping 200 hectares of land. This will help to increase Tanna Coffee’s annual production from 100 tonne to 250 tonne and the land will be equally distributed among 200 local farmers. Ultimately, when you consider the income that will be directed back into the community, this investment will help to improve the lives of more than 5,000 people, 16% of Tanna’s population.

"We have trained and empowered all the farmers to become self-sufficient individuals and we now pay them up to 270vatu (AUD 3.20) per kg for their sun-dried coffee parchment (up from AUD 25c), providing an enormous back-flow direct into the community”

- Terry Adlington, Managing Director at Tanna Coffee

Managing Director Terry Adlington adds, “We have worked with TDi on an overall plan for sustainable growth to increase coffee production… and anticipate farmers’ incomes to increase by 20% as a result of the investment, which will increase peoples’ livelihoods and improve their ability to afford consistent education for their children.”
We are immensely proud of the growth and development that the team at Tanna Coffee has achieved over the past year. It is incredible to see local farmers being empowered through industry and sustainable business. We are so excited by this model of business and its capacity to both do good and make money for communities in developing regions.

“This is groundbreaking for the Pacific Islands, and has the potential to help Tanna Island achieve long-term trade independence and a sustainable economy".

— Caleb Jarvis, Australian Trade Commissioner for the Pacific

Tanna Coffee is currently stocked in most of Vanuatu’s premium resorts, restaurants and cafés, along with Air Vanuatu and Au Bon Marche Supermarkets, as well as providing strong regional sales to Fiji, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand.


What do TDi & the Oscars have in common?

Over the past year, we’ve been working closely with coffee-growing and producing enterprise Tanna Coffee on the island of Tanna in the south of Vanuatu. But Tanna Coffee isn’t the only entity drawing attention to the island- last night saw Australian filmmakers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler head to the Oscars with the stars of their nominated film Tanna. The feature film, shot entirely on the island of Tanna, powered by solar batteries, was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. We caught up with Bentley before the ceremony to discover how they found filming a movie on Tanna and how industry can help the people there.
Bentley and Martin headed to Tanna island with one purpose, “to make a film in collaboration with the local community, we had no script ideas, nothing like that”. After being introduced to the Yakel tribe, who live half an hour from Tanna’s main town, the directors made their pitch, “we rocked up there, and they said that they’d never seen a feature film before, so we took with us the Australian film ‘Ten Canoes’ which is similarly developed in close collaboration with an indigenous community. We showed them the film and you could tell that they loved it, we got to the end and they said “can we start tomorrow?””.

“The best thing about the Oscars is experiencing it with everyone that you’ve been with the whole time, particularly the folks from Yakel"

— Bentley Dean (Right), Director of Tanna

Bentley, Martin, their families and the crew lived with the Yakel tribe for seven months, with the first three months devoted entirely to talking, and learning about the local culture, stories and customs. Bentley says, “what makes them [the Yakel tribe] really interesting is that they’ve made a very deliberate decision to not take up aspects of Western culture, they’ve chosen to dress the way in which their ancestors did… they stick true to custom, observe all the traditional ceremonies, have kept their own legal system- its a very unique situation”. Tanna ended up being a film completely improvised and created in close collaboration with the community. The film tells a story of forbidden love which occurred in the tribe in the 1980s.
Being produced in a village with no electricity, Tanna was powered completely by solar panels and solar batteries that were purchased in the island’s main village. Bentley says of the experience that, “as a filmmaker, its what you dream of”. “Its stimulating, and because we built in so much time, we had the time to learn and build friendships, life long friendships. When you’re embedded into a place, your mind does actually start to shift and you start to think of the world in a different way, and I think thats probably been the most lovely thing that come out of it”.

“One of the main reasons that they wanted the film to be made is because they feel that they’ve got a message, something to say to the rest of the world. They’re completely proud of their culture and at any opportunity they love to get in their dress, show it off, and have no problem going into spontaneous dance, say, in the middle of St Marks square”

- Bentley Dean, Director of Tanna

TDi have been working with Tanna Coffee for the last year, working closely with coffee farmers and the management team to create a commercially and financially sustainable enterprise that benefits the community on Tanna. “I think Tanna Coffee is a really great business, everyone says its really great for the island…It’s very important, because its the only cash crop that provides some income for the community” Bentley says. The team at Tanna also say that their film was fuelled by Tanna Coffee! “We drank Tanna Coffee every single morning. Its been grown and processed on the island, so you get to see the very beginnings and then right up to drinking it- its just great coffee”.

TDi's Anthea inspecting coffee plants with Tanna Coffee Director, Terry Adlington on Tanna Island.

Bentley and Martin headed to the Oscars on Sunday with three of the Tanna cast members, adorned in their traditional dress. While the film eventually lost out to Iranian film The Salesman, the achievement of being nominated for an Academy Award is huge for the island. Bentley said before the awards, “I think its a little bit of magic. From never seeing a feature film to being nominated for an Academy Award is quite a journey. Its going to be funny because of course the Yakel tribe won’t know anyone, we’ll all be star struck, but they wouldn’t know Brad Pitt from anyone else. It’ll be a fun time”.
We look forward to continuing our work with the people of Tanna.