Five Female Founders Feature Impact Enterprises At Pitch For Good Parramatta
Impact Boom recently had the pleasure of attending the Pitch for Good event, an initiative of the City of Parramatta and StartSomeGood. five female social entrepreneurs pitched their great ideas for new social enterprises they hope to establish and officially launched their crowdfunding campaigns that will run for the next month.
On the night, roughly 100 attendees didn’t just watch from the sidelines, but they directly contributed to the success of these great projects by donating their $30 ticket towards one or more of the crowdfunding campaigns. City of Parramatta then matched that donation, giving the campaigns a great head start.
Whilst there was a good variety of strong pitches, Diane Gatto of Carers Compass came away with the people’s choice award, which received an extra $300 prize boost.
After each pitch Elizabeth Trewhella of SheWorks and myself were the ‘dolphins’ (not sharks!), providing questions to each of the founders.
Impact Boom would like to thank StartSomeGood and City of Parramatta for putting on a great night and supporting the local social entrepreneurs.
Five female founders pitched
Their full interviews are below and on the podcast. Check out their crowdfunding campaigns here.
Carers Compass - A Journey of Care by Diane Gatto
Making it easier for families to look after ageing loved ones by connecting them with the right type of service that can best serve their needs when it matters most.
Small Shift by Julia Suh
Supporting locals to reimagine and create public spaces together, and upskilling people with barriers to employment.
Faith, Hope, Love Soap by Agatha Simanjuntak
Transforming women’s lives globally, restoring hope locally with one ethical & sustainable soap at a time.
Green Renter by Sandy Tsui
Find an environmentally friendly home, good for you, your pocket and the planet.
People of Purpose Network by Christina Jarron
Ending the brain drain in the community sector by supporting people to build rewarding and impactful careers in for-purpose organisations.
Highlights from the interviews (listen to the podcast for full details)
[Tom Allen] - We're with Tom Dawkins from StartSomeGood, Tom, thanks for having us along tonight.
[Tom Dawkins] - Thanks for coming Tom.
Tell us a little about StartSomeGood and Pitch for Good Parramatta.
StartSomeGood is a crowdfunding platform dedicated to supporting social impact projects, with a particular interest in how we cultivate more innovation for social change and how we connect innovation to capital to support, to essentially increase the pace of experimentation and innovation within the sector. Pitch for Good is the kind of program that we love to run that gives us the opportunity to unearth, in this case, five great female founders of social enterprises in Parramatta, and launch them on stage tonight. Pitch for Good is a unique combination of two different types of crowdfunding; live crowdfunding, where the audience determines the distribution of money within the room, and then online crowdfunding. And they both have unique advantages. In person has advantages in terms of intimacy, connection, and building local social capital, building a community and getting the feeling of community here in Parramatta. But of course it lacks for reach and any sort of long tail or viral effects. There's no peer to peer mechanism. You're in the room or you're not in the room, and so we link that to online crowdfunding campaigns on StartSomeGood, using the event tonight as a kickoff for those.
So helping these founders overcome the kind of day one money challenge, to get that really early momentum that validates and creates excitement and so on, helping them do that by packing a room full of friendly supporters of social enterprise, and then putting all those funds which are then doubled by the council I should say, onto their crowdfunding campaigns. They've got another 30 days now to hopefully quadruple again the funds that have been raised.
You've partnered with City of Parramatta. What have these five different female founders done before coming along tonight in order to get themselves ready and prepared?
They've come on a real range of pathways. One has come out of quite a serious accelerator, called Energylab, for sustainability and low carbon technologies; that's Green Renter, helping renters find and focus on more sustainable housing, which is often hard to do if you're not a property owner. Three of the people are really kind of doing this for the very first time. They've never had any equivalent experience, never been on stage, never pitched their own business venture. One of them came to a conference we held here in Parramatta earlier this year, and actually won a voucher for Academy XI, a kind of start up skills programme. And so she got to go through that and now has come back, that helped her find her pitch, and was selected to be here tonight.
Fantastic, so have StartSomeGood helped pull together these crowdfunding campaigns and get their building blocks in place and get them ready for today?
Yeah I guess to get selected in the first place they have to have a fairly robust idea, this is not a kind of deep accelerator where you really tear apart their business model, at root causes and do a power analysis of the sector they're trying to impact and all of that. You kind of need to know what you want to do and I would call it a go to market accelerator. So we've been working with them for six weeks. We're very focused on the launch elements, both coaching to help them nail their pitch in the room, as well as coaching to help craft a really compelling online campaign.
So how many people are you expecting here today to come along?
We know it's our third time in Parramatta, we normally get about 100-110, which I think is a really good turn out for the local community and they've got five women on stage, and that will all then be matched by the...so people pay 30 dollars to be here, and then they get to distribute that across the ventures on the night and have that matched by the council. So we'll raise a little over six thousand dollars here together and kick off those five campaigns so we hope that they'll raise another 30 or 40k over the course of the next 30 days.
So what is the future then for Pitch for Good.
We'd really love to pull together a national network of Pitches for Good. We've done Melbourne, Adelaide, Parramatta now three times, Perth for the first time in two weeks. Sydney, we just got confirmation will be happening in February. Hoping to get Brisbane on board really soon. Hoping to get back to Melbourne where it all started, and one of these days hoping to get the support online for all those cities to happen in the same year, and then I could imagine some awesome national finals of Pitch for Good and then beyond that we need live streaming, we need a socially focused version of Shark Tank with public participation through the crowdfunding mechanism and who knows? Take it from there, the next Eurovision!
Well it's really exciting to be here Tom, so thanks so much for having us here in Parramatta, and we'll look forward to speaking again soon.
Thanks for coming.
Diane Gatto - Carer’s Compass
[Tom Allen] - We're with Diane Gatto from Carers Compass. Diane, tell us a little bit about what Carer's Compass is, and what you're going to pitch about tonight.
[Diane Gatto] - Carers Compass is like your GPS in the Aged Care industry. The challenge that carers who are looking after their elderly loved ones have, is that they don't know where to find the services that they need to help look after the health and well-being of their ageing loved ones. And the ageing loved ones don't want to actually end up in a nursing home. They want to stay at home connected to their family, their friends, and the community because that's what they're familiar with. And even though the government has encouraged that decision, the challenge is trying to find all the services to support the family to enable that person to stay home as long as possible.
So Carers Compass becomes like a focal point, like your own GPS, everything that you're going to need to make sure that your loved one is being looked after at home. For example, if your mum is diagnosed with dementia, as a family carer, what do you do? Who do you call? And how do you put a care plan in place without relying on guess work or googling, worst case, what to do in a particular situation? So we connect providers who are specialised in services for dementia, for financial planning, for legal, because obviously for dementia, it has cognitive implications. So you need to get the enduring power of attorney, enduring guardianship, advanced care plan, advanced care directive. So all these terms that the average person doesn't know about. And if they don’t get it in place at the right time, it becomes too late. It becomes an absolute nightmare for families to navigate that space.
Whilst we're also looking at families, we're also looking at the other side of the marketplace, the providers who are very ethical, who have customer service at the core of what they do. Because if I'm needing a solicitor and I'm bed-bound, you can't expect me to actually go to a solicitor's office. One of the things I ask a solicitor is, are they prepared to go and visit someone in their home. And if not, are they prepared to have that consultation using technology? You've got a smart phone. You've got an iPad. You can have that conversation using technology, and just send through the paperwork. If you're not accommodating to the family's needs, then you're probably not going to be one of my preferred suppliers that I'm going to give you qualified leads when my clients come to me and say, "Diane, this is what I need. Who can you refer me to?" That's what I'm building.
Fantastic. For the crowdfunding campaign, how much funds are you seeking, and what will you be doing with it?
I have two targets. My target is $8,500, and that'll allow me to get my initial platform built. I have to obviously do a lot of work in the background to populate it with data because the data is in very, very many sources. So I'm trying to curate the data, and become a single source of truth. Then I'm also going to be working with Westmead Hospital to identify five families who are in the very position of having to look after an elderly one, either because of brain cancer or some sort of dementia or a stroke victim or something that has got a significant issue. Working with those five families in the next couple of months to actually trial the platform to see whether it's actually pitched the right level, and whether it's actually giving them the right information they need.
And then if I do reach my stretch goal, which is $25,000, I can then employ two part-time relationship managers to work in the area of Parramatta. The thing with the relationship managers, is I'm planning on recruiting ex-carers because in caring, the statistics back in 2015 said that two thirds of the carers are women over the age of 55. Now, we know ageism is an issue, right? So if I've taken time out to look after my parents, I have trouble trying to get back into the workforce, and you're exactly the sort of person I want to be mentoring a family who is going through that journey in the very first place. So there's a job opportunity to reengage longtime carers who find it difficult to get back into the workforce, and you become a mentor for other families who are going through that journey.
Agatha Simanjuntak - Faith Hope Love Soap
[Tom Allen] - We're talking to Agatha Simanjuntak from Faith, Hope, Love Soap. And Agatha is pitching tonight, so tell us about your idea.
[Agatha Simanjuntak] - Yes, thank you Tom. So my project is basically Faith, Hope, Love Soap. It's soap with a mission, and that mission is to create transformation for women in Bali, and also restore hope for women and children who are experiencing homelessness in Parramatta.
So when did you start the project?
I think the beginning of this year. I have connections with a cooperative of women who were in Bali and I made some contacts and just communicated with them in getting some ideas and inspiration for their products. So the original idea is basically to help them to scale up their products here in Australia. But then again, because I myself am in the social work field. I have also another passion which is to women who are experiencing homelessness here in Australia because they are escaping from domestic and family violence. So I try to connect the two causes and finally have been able to combine this ideas together.
So if the audience were to buy a bar of soap, what would happen in return, apart from obviously getting a great product, I imagine?
I plan to bring the soap here and market it here with buy one, donate one soap. So let's say, if you buy one, that will be able to donate one soap as a love and welcome package for women and children who are experiencing homeless once they enter the homeless shelter here.
Perfect, so for the crowdfunding campaign, how much are you looking for, and what will you do with those funds?
I am actually looking to raise about $7,000, and I need to get it done by October 23rd of 2018, so I'm so excited but I can't do this alone. I need your support, I need people’s support. The idea is not only about my project, it's a project for anyone. It's a project where everyone can participate, can invest, can collaborate and can partner. So it is for social good.
Christina Jarron - People of Purpose Network (POPN)
[Tom Allen] - We're with Christina Jarron from the People of Purpose Network. Thanks for a great pitch tonight, Christina, tell us more about your project, what are you doing?
[Christina Jarron] - I think to understand the People of Purpose Network, or POPN, as it's known, it helps to understand a little bit about the problem that people working in full purpose organisations face.
Well, there a few that come to my head straight away. Low wages. Limited and sometimes no professional development opportunities in their organisations. And really unstable career paths and unclear career trajectories. And these things lead to one of two things. You keep going in full purpose organisations, and you're not fully resourced, and you feel like you're not achieving everything you could, or you leave to find a better opportunity. Higher wages. Better career options for you.
Either way, what ends up happening is that there's a brain drain from the community sector.
So POPN is about turning the solution to social problems upside down by focusing on those people that are working to fix social problems. So social workers, charity workers, social entrepreneurs, anyone working in a full purpose organisation. And it's a really simple concept because it's not about introducing any new technology, or anything really fancy, it's about people connecting with people, supporting each other, developing professional networks with each other. So it's going to really focus on learning and networking events that will have people face to face with each other, and also a website that has resources for members, and an advocacy function which I think over time will become important to really unify and amplify the voices of people working in full purpose organisations.
So what funds are you looking for through your crowdfunding campaign, and what will be people be funding if they were to chip in to your crowdfunding campaign?
So we really don't need too much to start. I'm looking at raising $6,800, and with those funds I'll be able to launch an 18 month pilot in Parramatta, and the pilot will be able to offer members six learning and networking events and a fully functional website. So it's really kind of the bare bones POPN. We have a stretch goal of just over $9,000, which will help to develop a report about what the for-purpose sector looks like in Parramatta. So what are the characteristics of people working and for-purpose organisations? What is it that they feel they need? What are they missing? What matters most to them? That would be a really great piece of work that would help to really inform the growth of POPN, and to help us scale it as well.
JULIA SUH - SMALL SHIFT
[Tom Allen] - We're with Julia Suh from Small Shift, who has just pitched tonight. It was a great pitch. Tell us more about your initiative Small Shift. What are you doing?
[Julia Suh] - Thank you so much. Small Shift is actually a spin-off company off of my existing business, Urban Toolbox, (through which) I've been consulting in place making for about two or three years now. And what I realised, (even through that and previously as an architect working in the space of urban design, community engagement), is that…
IN THE ENGAGEMENT PROCESS, AND IN PUBLIC SPACES, THERE'S ALWAYS PEOPLE THAT ARE MISSING.
Groups of people that are always missing. And that's what I pointed out tonight. And Small Shift was really set up to create an opportunity, and change the city making narrative to be more inclusive.
As you know, traditionally, and that's the way I've mostly been educated in architecture…
TRADITIONALLY CITY MAKING HAS BEEN DOMINATED BY PEOPLE THAT ARE ABLE-BODIED, LACKING DISABILITIES FOR EXAMPLE, AND OF CERTAIN GENDER, AND OF CERTAIN ETHNICITY. WE NEED MORE DIVERSE REPRESENTATION.
And of course, I realise that in the current forms of community engagement, I'm not saying they are wrong, but there's got to be other ways to engage people, and get them involved in city making. What Small Shift is trying to do is not only improve the neighbourhoods, but use that process to really change that conversation, and change the way that we make cities.
It's a fantastic initiative. You say it's a spin-off of an existing business that you've been running; so you've found that that's been a problem that you've identified in your existing work?
Yeah, that's right. When I started the consultancy, I was trying to think of ways to scale, but not just scale the business, but scale the impact. And I didn't know quite how to do that. Last year, I had the massive opportunity to travel for three months as a Westpac Social Change Fellow. Throughout that experience, I spoke with 67-odd thought leaders across 15 cities in academia, in private, and public sectors, social enterprises. And what I learned was that to create that opportunity to engage, and get the people who are on the margin directly in city making, social business and social procurement in city making is the key. That's how we've set up Small Shift to be.
Fantastic. You’ve obviously planned that to start in the Parramatta, and then do you have plans to really scale that out across the rest of Australia or worldwide?
Yes, but not in the way that tech start-ups might scale. The way we see scaling is actually creating local opportunities for the local people. So what we are doing when we go to a site is to actually inspire and train communities so that they can go away with the same set of skills that I may have as a place maker or an architect. It may not be the same level of expertise, but enough to get them set up to initiate their own projects, in their local community, with the opportunities that they had with their neighbours. What we're trying to do is build relationships locally, give them the skill set they need to be able to negotiate something with the local council or the local businesses, and form a partnership, so they can move ahead with that.
SANDY TSUI - GREEN RENTER
[Tom Allen] - Sandy, thanks for joining us.
[Sandy Tsui] - Thanks, Tom.
Sandy, tell us a little bit about Green Renter. What are you pitching tonight and what is this idea that is looking to essentially help people find sustainable housing?
Green Renter is a property listing website to help people to find sustainable and energy efficient houses. That is good for them because they can live there happily, and also good for their pocket, which means they don't have to pay for high energy. And also good for the planet as well, which means they reduce their energy consumption.
When did you come up with the idea and how did you identify that there was a problem here that needed solving?
The idea came up from one of the Hackathons that I attended last year. It was more about energy efficiency. And I came up with the idea of helping people to find energy efficient homes and potentially office spaces as well. This whole story began with my personal story because I ran past a for sale sign of an office building. And in the office commercial building space, they have a mandatory requirement called Neighbours. They have to have an energy efficiency rating. And that particular building has two out of seven stars, which is really bad. It was like, ‘who is going to rent that office space?’ And then I thought about this like, oh do we have a similar rating for residential as well? And then I tried to search whether my place has an energy efficiency rating and sadly, in most of the states except for ACT, we don't have the legislation for having a mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency data in the residential space. So the Green Renter idea's from the thoughts from "oh wow, maybe we should push the industry to have mandatory disclosure for energy efficiency" and also from my personal experience as well because the place I live in is really cold in winter because it doesn’t have good insulation. And builders are not building their buildings in a energy efficient manner. That's really terrible. And also, climate change, all the issues, more and more cities are suffering from the Urban Heat Effect, which is terrible. People, they can't, they have air conditioning, but sometimes the energy prices goes up. It's really hard for people to afford to turning the heater or air conditioning on all the time.
For the audience listening, how will your platform work and with the crowd funding campaign, what are you looking to raise and how will you spend that money?
Good question. So the Green Renter website is similar to realestate.com.au or Domain. The only differences is we have strict standards. We only list the properties that have six stars or better. Just giving the audience a bit of background; we have the natHERS rating for residential properties, which is a energy efficiency rating from a scale one to ten, ten is the highest. All the new buildings built after 2012, they should have a rating of six or above. Six is the minimum, comfortable requirement. We are trying to help people to find good places to stay, to help them become safe and save the energy bills.
In terms of this crowd funding, we are looking to raise for $5,000 to finish building our platform and start promoting the Green Renter website to property agents and other tenancy groups as well.
We have got thirty days if you are in to it and want to support us.
DAVID MOUTOU - CITY OF PARRAMATTA
[Tom Allen] - We're with David Moutou of the City of Parramatta, and David we've just seen the five pitches at the Pitch for Good event. So, please, tell us more about City of Parramatta's partnership with StartSomeGood to make this event happen.
[David Moutou] - So at City of Parramatta, this is our third year in this model and our fourth year of working with StartSomeGood. Our role really is to take the platform that is StartSomeGood and think how could it be a platform active for our place based community. It's a global platform but how can we give it a local life.
So we do that through two ways of putting an expression of interest out to our community and a broader network to say "who has an idea, that is ready to be turned into a real thing?", so we can use our networks to help with that DIY process. We then also invest our resources in an event, so giving it a public life, a real sense of people and the people behind these ideas and by doing an event, we launch the campaigns and through tonight, everyone gets a voucher, everyone's ticket price is converted in to a donation but then we've committed to match those funds. So we get investment of resources through the time and effort we put in to producing the event, the actual investment of our own cash in the projects, and the investment in the community that forms around them.
We've always found, I think it's the big selling point for Pitch For Good for us as a council, we can read 100 grant applications, and we often do, but there's something different about seeing an idea, handing it to the community, and already saying "community, where's your interest and where's your investment?" And then we follow that money. So in a grant process, you're often behind closed doors, not asking anyone else, but here we get a chance to ask our rate payers, “where do you want our money to go?”
And then do you think it sort of gives more transparency to the sort of work that you're doing in the council?
Transparency; I guess it gives transparency to the process where decision making happens. It's saying that we value participation in decision making. So that's transparent. So it's transparent that this is not something anyone can do. Anyone can have an idea, but it might not be ready to launch that so I think that's why there’s transparency on why we have given these people a platform. Because they've shown us that they're ready, that they're passionate, they have a network that they can connect into and that they're ready to get to action.
A great initiative to be supporting the local community. And it's obviously part of a range of initiatives that City of Parramatta have to support the local community. So, what advice would you give to other councils around Australia or the world from what you've learned in participating in a project like this or perhaps other projects that you're involved in?
I would say tonight is a great event and it's a great project, but it sits in a context and a suite of things that we offer, all in the area of social investment. So for just over ten years now, City of Parramatta has been one of the leading councils in Sydney and Australia in supporting the development of social enterprises and now in the last three years we've expanded that to see the whole range of different types of social investment that can happen in the community.
And the big learning I have over that ten years is that we've done many things in that ten years. So we've been investors ourselves, we've been venture capitalists in our own effort and we started with a very strong grant focus and trying to support enterprises at different life stages through grants. We've also had times where we prioritised mentoring or consultative services that local lawyers and so on could give, and that worked well. We've tried attraction strategies, so granting success to come to Parramatta.
AND NOW WE'RE LOOKING AT STILL HAVING OUR GRANTS, BUT HOW CAN OUR GRANTS BE MEANINGFUL, NOT JUST IN A TRANSACTION, BUT IN WHAT WE CAN CONNECT PEOPLE TO?
HOW CAN WE BUILD UP THE MARKETS FOR OUR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE BY BUILDING AWARENESS IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY OF BUYING FOR GOOD? HOW CAN WE GET COUNCIL TO PUT ITS MONEY WHERE ITS MOUTH IS? ESPECIALLY IN THE SOCIAL PROCUREMENT SPACE.
So my key message is, try many things. You don't have to start perfect in doing this because it is a nascent sector in Australia and take that investment frame. You have to give a chance to yourself and give a chance to people in the community inspired to do things differently. Whether they’re… that's not just the not-for-profit sector, it's the small business, medium businesses, it's church groups, it's the scout club that wants to start being a little bit more sustainable in how it runs programs with its young people. Just support all of that good thought.
Fantastic. Well there's been some fantastic pitches here tonight, David. So personally I'd like to thank City of Parramatta for getting behind an event and supporting social enterprise. That's great to see that you're working hard in the space and we'll look forward to tracking your work in the future.