Two Feet Profile: Speakers Bank

In the countdown to our Two Feet Showcase, we are profiling some of the teams we’ve been working with over the last six months. Next on the list is Speakers Bank – a platform of professional speakers who experience disability or old age, who aim to inspire people with their shared experiences.

We sat down with Mimi Laurilla, the co-ordinator at Speakers Bank to hear more.

 

What problem is Speakers Bank tackling?

We live in a world where people are defined not only by the way they look, their ethnicity or cultural background, but also on the basis of whether they have a disability or not.  One in five Australians has a disability, and 88% of those disabilities are invisible. Most of us probably already have people with disabilities in our network of friends, family or workplace and we should know more about them! Misconceptions, stereotypes, and a lack of awareness around disability still exist, and impact the rights of people with disabilities to access services that should be made available to them, including opportunities to participate in meaningful pursuits such as being gainfully employed and living their lives to the fullest.

 

What is Speakers Bank’s solution?

Our solution to this problem is to break down those barriers through the power of communication. Speakers Bank members are people with disabilities, older people (with or without disability) and carers who have lived experiences that are able to talk about the issues and challenges that they face. Through their stories, they can help raise awareness, provide information, and assist in bridging the gap between what the community knows and how we can further work together to create a more inclusive society.

Ultimately, we want to address different groups to foster acceptance of disability.

 

Is there a highlight of Two Feet you’d like to share?

What we loved about Two Feet is that the structure of the program is in a sequence that enables us to think through what we have to do without being too overwhelmed. It engages us with new ways of thinking through and analysing what we need to do, and the Two Feet team are so engaging and committed to our success as well. They are upfront and honest about their ideas and this sense of openness is something we needed so that we could challenge ourselves to dig deeper into what we want to achieve and how we want to get there.

Two Feet was very instrumental in giving us the courage to push on as it helped clarify our sense of purpose and who we want to be within the social enterprise sphere.

 

“What we loved about Two Feet is that the structure of the program is in a sequence that enables us to think through what we have to do without being too overwhelmed.”

 

What’s the big vision for your enterprise?

I will be bold enough to say that I would love to see Speakers Bank as a leading organisation that continues to promote advocacy for people with disabilities through public speaking and educational programs like training and professional development.

I hope that in 5 – 10 years’ time, we would have been able to fully establish within Victoria, and expanded to other states as well. I would like to see growth not just in the number of speakers that we support and provided with opportunities to speak, but also increased connections with other organisations and businesses who find value in the work that we do.

In doing so, I would hope we’d have contributed to becoming more a more inclusive, open society.

If you’d like to meet the Mimi and her team in person, be sure to sign up to our public showcase.

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 recently a participant of our most recent Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) Accelerator Program. At 22 years old, Bininj man James Morgan has entered the entrepreneurial world. James has...

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...

Doubling your revenue and doubling your profits: a bold but achievable challenge

This week has been full of tough questions, soul searching, tears and laughter.
The theme of the week has been “Doubling your revenue and doubling your profits” – a bold challenge, but one that’s achievable.
Here are some of the interesting themes and lessons that came up in the accelerator…

TDi celebrates UN World Day of Social Justice with demonstrations of hope for a more just and inclusive economy.

20 February 2020 Today the UN is calling for “closing the inequalities gap to achieve social justice”. We want to share the ways in which TDi and our partners are helping to address inequalities through the power of business and cross-sector innovation. Inequality is...

PNG-Aus Partnership program connects a different kind of entrepreneurial network

“I’m very, very passionate about Indigenous female entrepreneurship, so, when I heard that this was going to be a cultural exchange that was purely women, that was really, really exciting.” Kylie Lee Bradford is one of 18 female entrepreneurs in a pilot program,...

Long-standing cultural connections forge new trade links between Australia and PNG

For Carol Vale, co-founder of Game Enough? – an Indigenous Australian bush foods and game meat company based in Brisbane, Australia – the Laikim Sister pilot program has deepened her connections with Papua New Guinea (PNG) both professionally and personally.

Game Enough? creates foods and beverages that adopt the flavours of the Australian bush.

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...