Celebrating the 2019 difference makers as we enter a new decade

At TDi 2019 was another amazing year. Again, we’ve had the privilege of helping Difference Makers from Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Australia.  We’ve helped entrepreneurs build out their ideas and business models. We’ve worked with NFPs to explore new revenue streams and forge new pathways of doing business. We’ve had interesting and important conversations with our corporate and government partners.

It’s interesting because most people assume our work is about numbers and spreadsheets, marketing plans and slogans. But our work goes much deeper than that – it’s the human stories of struggle and triumph, of resilience and adapting that make our work what it is.  All our team would say that our work moves and changes us, and we are inspired by the grit, determination and sacrifice of the amazing people we get to work with.

On a personal note, our TDi team has grown, we’ve had babies born, and we’ve also been working behind the scenes on some special, fun stuff that will help us better tell our own story. Watch this space early next year you’ll see a new chapter in TDi’s life released!


Our favourite projects of 2019

At a time of year that invites reflection, our team looks back on the projects that have been meaningful, heart-warming, fun, adventurous, challenging, exciting and special…

LIV

It’s just got to be “Accelerate with IBA” for me!  Together with Indigenous Business Australia we run an accelerator for Indigenous Social Entrepreneurs. I love the passion and commitment these entrepreneurs bring to their enterprises and their resilience and hope. It is such a joy to be part of a room of people who care about and make time for genuine relationships. We laugh together and cry together and long after the formal journey has finished, we still cheer each other on. Through this work I see a shared future for Australia that I can be proud of.

ANNA

My favourites have been the Guria Accelerator – an outstanding group of brave businesswomen (PNG-Australia Partnership and Women’s Business Resource Centre in PNG); the Laikim Sister program, for opening my eyes and heart to a sisterhood I never knew I could call my own (PNG-Australia Partnership); and finally, our work with the team at Essence of Fiji who create belonging and opportunity for so many women in Fiji.

SHANNON

This year I have been blessed to meet and work with some amazing entrepreneurs in PNG as we launched the Alotau and Rabaul ports for the YuMi Tourism Partners program – a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (including PNG-Australia Partnership) and Carnival Australia. We are there to help them, but I can honestly say that I have learnt so much from them and am all the richer for that experience. I feel that PNG has become a second home to me, and I love sharing this with people who perhaps aren’t quite as informed on the beauty that PNG has.

ISAAC

My favourite project this year is the Guria Accelerator (through PNG-Australia Partnership and Women’s Business Resource Centre in PNG) – twelve incredible entrepreneurs in Port Moresby.  Guria means “Earthquake” or “Shake-Up”, and it’s living up to its name. These business owners are working together to double their sales and double their revenues, without doubling their workloads.  The energy and spirit of the cohort is remarkable, we will have a lot of great stories to share at our Showcase in March in Port Moresby.

ANNIE

My favourite project this year was Laikim Sister which has been supported by the Australian Government under PNG-Australia Partnership. Laikim is an exchange between Papua New Guinean businesswomen and Indigenous Australian businesswomen. This project brings together so many of the big themes in my life into one place – themes of female entrepreneurship, themes of overcoming, themes of exclusion and social justice. It was a humbling experience and privilege to have been able to facilitate this program. The stories of these women which have begun to be told publicly have etched a place in my spirit. It has and will continue to change me.

ERIN

My favourite project this year was our work in Goroka in partnership with the Australian Government under PNG-Australia Partnership and Pacific Trade Invest, understanding the bilum supply chain. It combines two of my greatest loves: strategy and storytelling. We got the rare opportunity to understand the mechanics of a growing export industry working with key players all along the supply chain to shape its growth. Bilum has many stories to tell: that of the art form, of the weavers, of its history and place in PNG’s culture and I enjoyed learning about them.

CARLO

I’ve had the privilege of working with the Porgera District Women’s Association to help build out a sustainable social enterprise model.  For me personally, Porgera is one of the most challenging environments I have worked in and at the same time one of the most welcoming and rewarding. The women we worked with are strong, inspiring, and warm-hearted. I feel privileged to have been invited into this world and look forward to a lasting relationship with our new “family”.

ELISA

My favourite TDi project this year has been Yumi Tourism Partners in Rabaul, PNG, in partnership with the PNG-Australia Partnership and Carnival Australia.  As somebody who usually works ‘behind the scenes’ I loved getting out on the front line and seeing TDi in action.  It was a fabulous experience, seeing the amazing towns and people of Rabaul and Kokopo and getting a glimpse in to their fascinating history, who they are and what they have to share with the rest of the world.  We spent time talking with tour operators, local businesses and politicians and I could see how TDi is really helping be a conduit to connect them to opportunities that they have hungered for for years, but not known where to start or how to go about it.

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

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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

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