Movers, Shakers & Changemakers: March

Welcome to the first instalment of Movers, Shakers and Changemakers- where once a month we’ll be highlighting our favourite enterprises in the social and environmental sector. These are businesses that are proving you can do good and make money.

Read on to hear the stories of some enterprises doing great things in the space. First up, a pop-up cooking school fostering community connection.

free to feed

free to feed are a Melbourne-based organisation run by Loretta and Daniel Bolotin. The program is a hands-on training, mentoring and employment opportunity for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. Often, these people were chefs and cooking instructors in their home countries, before fleeing to Australia.

free to feed runs pop-up cooking courses either in people’s homes or at their kitchen in Thornbury, run exclusively by their team of international chefs.

 

“Perhaps the most beautiful part of joining a free to feed cooking class, is that you are saying ‘hey, you’re welcome here; we recognise that you’ve got a lot to offer … we want to listen to you and learn from you'”.

– Loretta & Daniel Bolotin, free to feed co-Founders

Not only are free to feed’s programs providing paid employment opportunities to people who have recently settled in Australia, they provide opportunities for community creation and foster a greater understanding of the refugee and asylum seeker journey.

At present, free to feed have cooks that are teaching traditional recipes from Iran, Syria & Sri Lanka. Sound delicious? There are a bunch of cooking classes coming up this month! Check them out here.

 

Alas

We all love a good sleep. But imagine being cosied up in bed this Winter, wrapped in ethically crafted pyjamas. ALAS is making this happen.

The enterprise, run by Kelly Elkin and Betony Dircks out of Sydney, believes that ethically responsible clothing manufacturing is fundamental to the future of fashion, and the world.

 

“We are constantly searching for ways to reduce our impact on the environment through our processes and selection of materials, which continues to be an exciting and challenging journey”.

— Kelly & Betony, ALAS co-founders

 

The enterprise take their garments from cottonseed to store via a fair-trade, organic and high standard supply chain. The founders regularly visit their factories to maintain a strong working relationship with their team and they believe that transparency in the fashion industry is key. We love what they do.

Check out ALAS’ gorgeous sleepwear, underwear and comfortwear here

 

Small Change

Small Change began on the belief that online activism doesn’t go far enough. The enterprise, run out of Sydney, were tired of seeing ‘doing good’ manifested in simply likes, hashtags and retweets. So they had an idea.

How about, after every time someone watched a viral video or read a hard-hitting article about a global issue, they were directed straight to an organisation seeking to solve the problem? People would have the opportunity to take real action.

 

In that moment you’re very emotionally invested in the cause, most people would reach into their pocket, like you would a homeless man on the street corner”.

— Henry Wells, Small Change co-Founder

 

Small Change’s purpose is to bridge the gap between the media and charity. As the enterprise says, “make your click count”.

So how does it work? If an activist wants to help a cause, they simply add the URL of an article or video that had an impact on them to the Small Change database. They are then connected with a relevant charity, are prompted to make a small donation and essentially create their own crowdfunding platform where others can donate.


See how Small Change works here

It takes a village to grow an inclusive sustainable business

TDi has been committed to inclusive sustainable businesses since the early days of the social enterprise movement in Australia.

Two Feet Accelerator: Where are they now? YEVU

This week we’ve been chatting with Anna Robertson from YEVU – a social enterprise clothing brand designed and manufactured in Ghana.

YuMi Tourism Partners (Alotau) – Milne Bay Organics

“Coconut has been incredibly embedded in the Milne Bay tradition – from the food consumption through to the traditional dancing.” Last year, the YuMi pilot program took us to Alotau in Papua New Guinea, where we worked with difference maker, Rhona.

Indigenous tourism is key to economic recovery

Long-time friend, and associate of TDi, Ash Bartley has just started a new role with Visit Victoria.  We caught up with her recently to celebrate her new role and ask about the opportunity for Indigenous tourism in Australia’s economic recovery.

YuMi Tourism Partners (Alotau) – VilLink Tours & Expeditions PNG

“With what I’m doing, I want to encourage the other young women out there, that they can also have the chance to make a difference.  Not only in earning money, but sharing what they know, and getting other communities involved.”

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...