Bessi’s Reflections on Samoa

It was such a privilege to be in Samoa recently and not only have the chance to meet some incredibly inspirational local entrepreneurs but also to meet young people who will be the future of the country. TDi’s reputation in the Pacific is growing and we were encouraged to have entrepreneurs seeking us out to pitch their businesses. We can’t wait to find ways to support these wonderful organisations.

Spending a few days on the island of Savaii was the highlight for me. We had the chance to spend time in farmers’ homes talking about how the work of one of our investees, Samoa Coconut Cluster, is impacting their lives. With a massive focus on providing funds for schooling for their children and contributing to their communities through tithing to the Church, people were finding that the increased income they were receiving was providing much needed relief from the strains of financial burden.

We met one extraordinary young woman who was doing remarkably well at school and had a hope of going to university to study maths and science. When we asked her how she planned to pay for university she said she would keep collecting coconuts with her family! She was an enthusiastic, driven, intelligent young woman and I have no doubt that she, and hundreds of other girls and boys like her, will do incredible things for themselves, their families and their communities over the coming years. It’s an absolute privilege to play a small part in creating positive change and transformation in these peoples’ lives.

TDi has had an intense focus in the Pacific over a number of years but it has been in the last 18 months that we have been able to actively be on the ground working with local businesses, to find the business models and methods that will allow them to take their businesses to the next level.

Our focus in the Pacific is to work on projects impacting three key areas:

  • Improvements in peoples’ livelihoods
  • Increased value add in country
  • Responsible environmental management

 

Having worked with over 100 businesses in the Pacific and now working across Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji we have no doubt that there are exciting things ahead in these countries and that there will be wonderful exemplar projects that emerge with many lessons for all of us on how we transition from aid reliance to sustainable and commercially viable trade.

If we can be part of helping shift to a more sustainable model that takes government and other grant based funding and uses it in a targeted and catalytic way to address the gaps in businesses; then build them up to a point where they are then able to attract private capital, to grow and strengthen their impact in the world I will be a very happy woman!

Leveraging private capital for public good has been one of my driving themes for many years now and nowhere is this getting more traction than in the work we’re doing in the Pacific. Watch this space!

Customer Empathy Interviewing

When was the last time you asked your customers what they thought? We use Customer Empathy Interviews to help businesses deeply understand their customers and design competitive products and services. It’s also been one of our top coaching tips for business owners...

Pivoting your business model during a crisis

A conversation with Geert from FarmWallGeert Hendrix founded FarmWall in 2016. Farmwall is an agrifood-tech startup that designs urban farming technology and experiences to enhance fresh produce accessibility in the city. In our constantly developing world, the need...

Business During COVID-19: In perspective

At TDi, we believe in the significance and power of small business’ and social enterprise’s contribution to life and the economy. It is this belief that drives us to support them now more than ever.

Working from Home

It’s one thing to make the choice to work from home, but it’s another to be forced to for reasons beyond your control. Even the seasoned work from homers are feeling the pinch in this time of forced isolation – I am no exception!! Oh, and throw in supervision of remote learning for your children and it’s even more challenging.

Surviving the campsite in the COVID-19 crisis

Two weeks ago, I shared with the team an analogy of a campsite. I reflected that our house has burnt down and we are struggling to reconcile the shock and the grief of all that is happening. I shared with them that I’ve been thinking that we need to set up camp, for now while we figure out how to reinvent for the new normal. We have a temporary place of residence and it’s not what we would have chosen but we can create from it. So, for the past two weeks, we have been focused on getting the campsite set up, trying to work out where stuff goes, who’s sleeping where and how to trade out of a tent.

COVID-19 Support Options Available for Your Business

We have compiled a comprehensive list of support available to Social Entrepreneurs, Not-for-Profits and SMEs in Australia.

Navigating upheaval: our last 7 days

Like most small business and NFPs we only just began to comprehend the wholescale impact of the Coronavirus on our business and the Australian economy last week. Within 7 days it hit us hard.

Koongarra cultural tourism: creating experiences and opportunities in Kakadu National Park

Meet Difference Maker James Morgan and cultural tourism entrepreneur. James was a participant of our most recent Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) Accelerator Program. “I feel privileged to have an education, but I had to move away. I want to create more...

The hidden value of creative industries: bringing life to many economies: International Women’s Day 2020

It fascinated us that creative industries aren’t included in Papua New Guinea’s GDP, in fact there is very little data to understand the economic impact of creative industries in PNG. This is staggering considering that creative industries represent $US2.250 Billion in the global economy (World Economic Forum, 2015). This includes all creative industries including visual arts, media, TV, music etc. Other research suggests Handicrafts contributes around US$32 Billion to the global economy (The Aspen Institute Artisan Alliance) but this is a difficult figure to nail down when whole economies don’t even count handicrafts in their GDP.

Other interesting facts from the World Economic Forum’s study found that Creative industries are more inclusive employers employing more youth (15-29 years) than any other sector, employ a higher percentage of women compared to other sectors globally and small business makes up a large portion of this sector as well. In the US artists are 3.5 times more likely to be self-employed.

TDi enters a new stage of consciousness and clarity

What is TDi? This is a question we are asked all the time, and have struggled to answer with real clarity. TDi started as a private quest in response to societal problems, long before it became a public conversation which culminated into the entity today we call The...