Meet: Social Cycles

Social Cycles are a tour de force. Aside from organising exhilarating and life changing adventures for their customers, Social Cycles also give back to every community where they leave a footprint (or a bicycle trail). Social Cycles guide cycling tours through Cambodia, Vietnam and Iran, alongside day tours around Melbourne. With a strong focus on doing good, every tour visits a number of NGOs en route that Social Cycles backs.

Wherever possible, Social Cycles support social enterprises and small businesses such as local restaurants and guesthouses to ensure that their tourist bucks are going straight back into a sustainable market.

Through their motto ‘Ride With Purpose’, Social Cycles give the cyclists who join their tours an adventure cycling holiday with depth.

 

“Brett came in with significant management experience, but more importantly he had actually cycled through several countries and spent time in communities. He understood that ‘making a difference’ is contextual and it’s about respecting and understanding the local context while leveraging the local expertise”

– Ishani, Head of Programs at TDi (2016)

 

In a world where Voluntourism is on the rise, the challenge for Social Cycles has been to generate trust with their customers. Trust that their involvement with NGOs and charities in developing countries is genuine, sustainable and not detrimental to the local community. Social Cycles have embedded this challenge into their business philosophy, they believe in learning from local experts to create positive impact in the communities. They do this by supporting “transparent, ethical, sustainable and community based projects”.

In order to ground their purpose, Social Cycles are active supporters of ChildSafe, the International Friends campaign that aims to warn of the hidden risks of visiting children in third world orphanages. As part of their child protection policy, Social Cycles do not take their tour groups to orphanages, schools or NGOs where children could be exploited.

 

“The key benefit of the Two Feet program is having someone to challenge you, family and friends are supportive, but they tend to shy away from offering critical advice”

– Brett Seychell, Founder at Social Cycles

 

Social Cycles are an enterprise from TDi’s first Melbourne Two Feet program cohort. They will be graduating in November 2016 at the Dragons’ Den event along with thirty-six other successful Two Feeters from around Australia.

The key benefit of the Two Feet program is “having someone to challenge you” says founder Brett Seychell, “family and friends are supportive, but they tend to shy away from offering critical advice”. Through the mentoring offered in the Two Feet program, Social Cycles were able to refine their mission while still maintaining their vision.

The TDi team pose the difficult questions, such as ‘who is your customer?’ and ‘what is your intent?’ In addition to posing these questions, TDi have also guided Social Cycles through the process of finding greater clarity. Social Cycles’ journey through the Two Feet program has really been focused on understanding and articulating their customer segments and developing a clear value proposition.

What could be better than seeing the world, and doing good at the same time?
Check out Social Cycles here

Flexible and responsive coaching is key to sustaining women’s economic empowerment during a crisis

While each business owner faces their own set of challenges in response to the uncertainty and upheaval of COVID-19, we are observing a series of consistent coaching requirements emerge.

When life gives you lemons… pivot your business model

Nemika Brunton is based in Alotau, Papua New Guinea.  We met her during the YuMi Tourism Partners Pilot program.  The program addressed starting small, testing and learning, and how to adapt and respond to market needs.  These lessons have certainly helped Nemika shift her business focus in response to COVID-19. Tourism is a key industry for the town and many of the local businesses were tourism based.  So, the impact of COVID-19 hit the town hard.  Many locals – including Nemika – have adapted quickly to totally new businesses and customers.

Supporting Social Enterprise during COVID-19

Following a tumultuous year of bushfires, COVID-19 and recent floods in Southern NSW, lots of small businesses and the families and communities they serve, are doing it tough.  One way we’ve seen people showing their support for these local businesses is through the #shoplocal #shopvictoria and #buyfromthebush movements.  We’ve been inspired by this and wanted to share a #shopsocialenterprise guide based on some of the businesses we’ve been working with over the last 18 months.

Resilience, at what cost?

Over the past six months we as a team have navigated our own business and helped hundreds of others to do the same. We went from having a clear business model and ready to write our best year ever to having nothing as certain and many parts of our own business model under threat.

Finding motivation to continue business during COVID-19

As the current economic climate evolves with COVID-19, we have been sharing some perspective from both our own work and the continual conversations and support we’re offering others. Initially, we shared a metaphor about what this first felt like – like our house was...

Pivoting during COVID: responses from Fiji

Recently, we caught up with Deb Sadranu at Essence of Fiji to see how things are going for her, her business, and Fiji in the face of COVID-19.  Tourism is a key industry for Fiji, and Essence of Fiji usually serves the tourists. As a result of COVID-19, Deb’s whole business model has pivoted from predominantly local, in-store sales, to predominantly international, online sales.

A letter to my daughter about Black Lives Matter and racial inequality

Dear Willow,  I’m writing to you because I want to share some rumblings in my gut that have troubled me.  You are at an age now, where it is time for you to step into a conversation that for us as Australians is long overdue. I have tried to teach you about love,...

Why mindset matters to women’s entrepreneurship and why we should invest in it, especially now

At The Difference Incubator (TDi) we’ve been supporting social entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses for over a decade. In 2019 we partnered with PNG Women’s Business Resource Centre and Kate Wilson from Kamaji Tree Consulting and Coaching, with the support...

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...