Worlds Biggest Garage Sale, Author at WBGS
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Author:Worlds Biggest Garage Sale

Volunteering to Make a World of Difference

This week is National Volunteer Week 2019, and this year’s theme is ‘making a world of difference’. At WBGS volunteers are integral to our events and the social impact that is a direct result of our events.

WBGS Volunteers

From the very beginning, volunteers have been integral to the World’s Biggest Garage Sale. Some amazing connections, experiences and even marriages that have come from volunteering at our events! These volunteers, many who have come to help year after year, really have been ‘making a world of difference’.

Some of our international student volunteers from WBGS 2018

 The World’s Biggest Garage Sale Events are hosted, organised and run by volunteers from the local community. Our goal is to connect the community and activate them in sustainable consumption while raising funds for much needed causes. And the engine that drives the setup of events are the volunteers – real everyday heroes.

In QLD alone, volunteering is worth an estimated $11.6-billion to the economy, with 95% of volunteers reporting their volunteering activities are linked to feelings of positivity, happiness and increased well-being.

Benefits of Volunteering

So if you’re sitting there:

  • watching issues in the world or seeing problems that need to be addressed, or
  • maybe you want to learn something new and build some skills or
  • you’d like to meet some new people while engaged in a worthwhile activity

 

then volunteering for a cause that you care about can tick many of these boxes. Interestingly volunteering was associated with less work–life conflict, burnout and stress, and better positive mental health, according to a study from researchers at the University of Zurich. So if you’re pondering “Why would I give my time to something for free?” the rewards appear to outweigh the time invested.

Volunteering with another group outside of your normal activities, in tasks that you may not regularly perform, can offer perspective and variety, which can be rejuvenating. If it’s tied to a cause that you care about, the benefits will multiply.

Corporate Volunteering

The World’s Biggest Garage Sale time recently took part in Global Payments Inc. #DayOfService at their Brisbane HQ. We spent time cleaning the streets with the Brisbane City Council Litter Prevention group, who provided some wonderful education on changing habits to keep our city cleaner! And the Global Payments team are a great example of a corporation that integrates volunteering into their ethos.

The WBGS Team at Global Payments ‘Day of Service’

If you care about sustainable consumption and want to help raise funds for much needed causes, then volunteering at one of our World’s Biggest Garage Sale Events would be a great fit. We welcome anyone and everyone and can find a role or task that you would enjoy – from department manager, to catering, to driving a forklift!

It can be a great team building exercise for companies aswell. According to Romualdo Ramos, one of the authors of the University of Zurich study “It does seem to be the case that people who volunteer are in their paid work more engaged”. Seems counterintuitive but companies like Global Payments and CISCO have caught onto the value of volunteering.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as we celebrate our own wonderful and valuable volunteers over the next week, who have helped make a world of difference!  

Profit for Purpose – Bringing Heart Back to Business

It’s a confronting and vulnerable experience putting yourself out there on national TV wearing a love heart on your chest and professing your desire to build a business based on people, planet and profit for purpose. Now we are preparing for our seed round this is the perfect opportunity to explore our triple bottom line focus.

Someone recently said to me, ‘oh you’re a not-for-profit’ and I said ‘no actually we’re profit for purpose’ and they looked at me confused, seeking clarification.

Profit for Purpose

To put everyone in the picture a “Profit for Purpose” business is ‘led by a mission to achieve social, community and environmental benefit through trading and by channeling a portion of their profits toward their mission.’ (1)

And this is exactly how we operate – mobilising dormant goods and harnessing the circular economy leading to reduced waste while simultaneously creating profit for purpose for our customers who host events. To cement this even further we are in the process of formalising as a B Corps which means we:

  • Aim to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose and
  • we will use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for employees, communities, and the environment. (2)

But my question to everyone is “when did we start forgetting about purpose and just go full tilt at profit?”. And when I say purpose, that doesn’t include a purpose that revolves around just making profit! In venture capital land the chase is still very much focused on lassoing the next Unicorn. Why is doing good for people and planet, plus doing well financially, considered a crazy far-flung concept?

Borrowing from Ted Rheingold, a common question from investors is:

Q: ‘Why don’t you just earn your wealth first, and then donate it afterward?”

A: ‘Why don’t you want to build a highly profitable business that can provide impact more reliably than your future donations?’ (3)

To the investors out there my question to you is: “Take a long hard look at the why of a company, and I mean the real why (not the ‘to make profit’ why) and check whether they’re trying to make the world a better place, not just disrupt existing systems, gather a whole swagger of followers in a short space of time and make quick gains.”

Businesses Aligned to Purpose

I was really heartened by our RiverPitch experience, particularly when I heard Yohan Ramasundara President of the ACS say “It’s really exciting, startups are exciting and ones (startups) with a purpose are even more exciting (because they’re going) to change the world.”

And what is business really? Businesses are teams of people aligned to a common vision, who provide goods and services, to help others by solving problems. If they’re guided by Milton Friedman’s concept that the ‘only social responsibility of companies is to create profit’ then I think current sentiment would agree they are misguided.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock certainly believes we need to move in a different direction, “As wealth shifts and investing preferences change, environmental, social, and governance issues will be increasingly material to corporate valuations.”

We need to remember that we all spend so much of our waking lives working in business or interacting with business – whether it’s yours or someone else’s. Surely we want businesses to be led not just by profit, but to be underpinned by a basic human decency that requires care (aka love) for our environment and the community.

As the Spellbinder from Robin Sharma’s The 5am Club said:

“The great women and men of the world were all givers, not takers.  Renounce the common delusion that those who accumulate the most win. Instead do work that is heroic – that staggers your marketplace by the quality of its originality as well as from the helpfulness is provides.”

We want to live and breathe this at World’s Biggest Garage Sale and build a profitable business, where people come to work expressing the best versions of themselves while helping others and solving the world’s problems. We want to activate the circular economy and reduce waste and give a large portion of the wealth generated from this enterprise back to the community along the way. And on this journey we want to address as many of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals as we possibly can and demonstrate a new type of business model that can help achieve #agenda2030.

Patient Capital

We’re looking for investors who are aligned to our vision, for people who are patient with their capital (not greedily needing a return asap) to be part of a business that aims to provide impact every step of the way. As Vicki Saunders, SheEO Founder says:

“The pursuit of maximizing profit at the expense of everything else has created a global crisis of inequality, environmental degradation and countless critical challenges to humanity.

Only considering financial returns has led to a winner takes all mindset where 5 people have the same wealth as half the planet. This economic model is entirely broken and needs a radical rethinking.”

Original Image: Brian Trelstad, Kauffman Fellows

 

With that in mind, the capital we have in mind comes for a person who thinks long term and is comfortable with the following:

  • Longer time horizon for return of capital
  • Forgoing maximum financial returns for greater social impact
  • Unwillingness to sacrifice the interests of the end customer/employees/community/environment  for shareholder gains
  • Greater tolerance for risk than traditional investment capital

This diagram demonstrates our position really well.

 

As a profit for purpose company, we strive for more than just a sustainable business model that creates wealth from waste in the community.  Our passion and purpose is a triple bottom line focus, with community and sustainability (including the Sustainable Development Goals….aka the SDGs or #globalgoals) equal measures in the success of our scaling journey. We genuinely agree with Richard Branson

 

‘The brands that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond profit’

 

We are excited to be opening our Seed Investment Round. Please contact us if you would like to learn more.

 

References

 

  1. https://food-x.com/profit-purpose-business-model-whose-time-come/
  2. https://bcorporation.com.au/about-b-corps
  3. https://www.fastcompany.com/40420834/the-non-paradox-of-highly-successful-profit-from-purpose-businesses

Take Action in Your Business to Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Action Awards

Coming up soon is the Global Festival of Action “to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG advocacy and SDG action.” Held every year in Bonn, Germany, the festival recognises individuals, groups and organisations “who are advancing the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way” via the UN SDG Action Awards.  We encourage you to check out these businesses and find inspiration in what others are doing.

“To meet the SDGs we need everyone to take action.” SDG Action Awards

Australian businesses CEO Statement of Support for SDGs

Together with several other countries, Australia has signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – a blueprint for action to “promote prosperity while protecting the planet”. Australia’s participation started on 1 January 2016 and runs until the end of 2030. Further to this in September of that same year, over 30 Australian companies signed a CEO Statement of Support for the Sustainable Development Goals. We applaud their commitment and contribution to realising a sustainable future for Australia and the world.

 

SDG Private Sector Importance

This points to the importance of the private sector and the critical role businesses will play in achieving the SDGs. As Alice Cope, Executive Manager of the Global Compact Network Australia said, “We are seeing companies embrace the SDGs both in recognition of the critical role they have in contributing to the agenda but also the upside to their businesses in doing so. The SDGs provide a framework for both risk management and opportunity.” “

 

Businesses that are able to offer solutions to the local and global sustainability challenges represented by the goals will build resilience, find new markets and position themselves competitively for the future,” Ms Cope.

 

WBGS and the SDGs

At WBGS we are all about action. Our events that promote the circular economy and facilitate activation of dormant goods for good, directly impact SDG goals:

  • 1 (No Poverty),
  • 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities),
  • 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) 
  • 13 (Climate Action) and
  • are realised by goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

The goals that our activities target through the community and grassroots activities are:

  • 3 (Good Health and Well-being),
  • 5 (Gender Equality),
  • 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and
  • 9 (Industry Innovation and Infrastructure).

Finally from funds raised at our events we can partner with other organisations to direct impact to the remaining goals.

In order for the SDGs to be realised by 2030, it’s going to take a global effort, with a local grassroots foundation and a realisation that we are more connected than we are divided. We all impact one another, and businesses can dovetail more sustainably into others. Partnerships (SDG17), collaborating with government, the private sector and the community were key to how WBGS got started. As stated at a UN press conference: “We will need all partners to make this a success.” 

 

SDG Workshop

We want to help your business take action, so this May we are partnering with THE IMPACT FACULTY and The University of Queensland Centre for Policy Futures to deliver Sustainable Development Goals for Business. This is a one day workshop on the United Nations #SDGs to help you map the SDGs to your current plans and learn from other case studies.

Business engagement is key to achieving #agenda2030. Come and spend a day learning how to align and action the #SDGs in your business. If you would like to know more or to register your attendance please see Event details or use the link in our comments section!

 

RiverPitch – A fantastic journey!

The WBGS team is only just coming down from the epic time we had in Sydney for the #RiverPitch finale. There was incredible energy on the day – all of these businesses have amazing founders and proven market worth and I look forward to seeing everyone’s continuing journey. I’ll be able to say, “I knew you when…”

Some of the WBGS team with Peta Ellis of River City Labs & Harley Weston, Managing Director of Solaire Properties

Founder Sharing

Preparation and filming for the grand finale offered all teams a rare chance to spend a high-energy day with other awesome founders who have embarked on the same journey emotionally. We’re all going full tilt, all-in towards our dreams. 

Your 2019 #RiverPitch Contestants!

So spending time together with this wonderful team we couldn’t help but feel like our own team at the end of it, developing a strong sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.

James Fielding from Audeara,

Lucinda Hartley and Jessica Christiansen-Franks from Neighbourlytics,

Carolyn Mee from Sound Scouts,

Hanno Blankenstein and Jason Grier from Unleash live, and

Tony Wu from Weploy

 

StartUp Mentoring

Yas & Steve Baxter behind-the-scenes

Once again I was grateful to spend more time with mentor Steve Baxter, someone who knows what it takes to grow and scale a business. The opportunity to benefit from his experience is immeasurable. It was also brilliant to meet and learn from the other fantastic mentors Sheona Devin and Peter James who have been equally awesome with their teams. All helped me hone my pitch even further. And overall the RiverPitch journey been a great process for gaining pitch clarity and business focus.

Finale Questions

So when it came to Q&A time from the judges (Yohan Ramasundara, Siobhan Hayden, Andrew Johnson and special guest judge Duncan Davidson) I felt well prepared for the challenging questions that came my way! I say challenging with love, because I absolutely want hard questions. They help us find the gaps, holes or potential issues that lie ahead for us when scaling. It’s the only way we can grow successfully and be ready for what’s to come.

#RiverPitch Art Imitating Life, Yas watching herself pitch on the big screen!

And although we weren’t the winners on the night – congratulations to Weploy!! – we really can’t put a price on the experience we gained and the connections we’ve made by being part of the show. A huge thanks to ACS, River City Labs and Your Money for bringing the show together.

It has been an inspiring journey and one I am so grateful to have been a part of. If you haven’t yet had a chance, you can catch-up on #RiverPitch at Your Money. Take the time to check-out the amazing Australian #tech #entrepreneur #startup space – we’re worth it!!!

 

Radical Generosity is Creating a New Playing Field for Female Leadership

I’ve just spent the weekend at the inaugural Australian SheEO Venture Retreat, where fellow Venture finalists spent time deep-diving on goals, challenges and visions in a safe and open environment. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. When we arrived at the Venture retreat it was clear we were in the midst of something amazing.

 

SheEO Australian Ventures Happy Hour on Retreat!!

What is SheEO?

To set the scene, SheEO is a movement started by Vicki Saunders. It aims to mobilise $1 billion in capital behind 10,000 female-led ventures through the contribution of 1-million activators. It’s a simple formula. As an ‘Act of Radical Generosity’, individual activators contribute $1100 into a perpetual fund to support female-led ventures. Those activators then vote on which of the ventures that apply should receive funding. There is no fiscal return on your investment, it’s something much greater than that. The supreme knowledge and well-being that comes from knowing you’ve helped make the world a better place.

We are not trying to fit into the existing models and systems and level the playing field, we are creating an entirely new field.

First Australian SheEO Ventures

Five Ventures made it through as Australia’s first cohort of finalists. It is an honour to be included alongside this incredible group of women. The time spent together at the retreat has led to the most profound web of trust between us. We all know that we are in this together — we’re here to uplift each other. I walked away with four new team members for World’s Biggest Garage Sale and I joined their teams too. We’ve got each other’s backs and will help each other on our journeys.

Leading with Love

We went through some incredible processes, led by the inspiring MJ Ryan (outstanding human being and author of Radical Generosity: Unlock the Transformative Power of Giving), culminating in the final day where the Ventures divided up how the SheEO Venture fund would be distributed amongst each other. Just one of the key differences in how SheEO operate. They support and empower female founders to make critical decisions with trust, love, transparency, and radically generosity.

After the Venture Finalists announcement

SheEO Summit

Finally on Monday we spent time together at the inaugural Australian SheEO Summit, hosted by the legendary Holly Ransom, where we were announced as the finalist Ventures to all our Australian Activators. To say the energy in the room was electric is an understatement. It was an amazing day sharing our ventures with this incredible room of Activators and meeting so many remarkable people!

Room full of female leaders and Holly Ransom (Super Activator and a rock star – just saying!!)

 

SheEo selected Ventures that aligned with the ‘world’s to-do list’ aka the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

SheEO Ventures for 2019

All the ventures are led by truly phenomenal women who are tackling really important problems that desperately need wise solutions. Here they are:

  • Jenny Brown from Envorinex who currently recycles 50% of Tasmania’s industrial waste and are seeking to expand this to 100% and include household waste for recycling.
  • Sarah Gun from GOGO events who are creating life-changing paid-work and pathways to employment for homeless people, predominantly women, at events and festivals.
  • Kristina Freeman from Grow Your Mind who are educating young children, their schools and their families about the importance of taking care of their mental health and empowers them in ways they can do this.
  • Lucinda Hartley of Neighbourlytics which is a social analytics platform for neighbourhoods, pioneering the use of social data in cities, giving city-makers real-time insights into the social life of neighbourhoods, transforming the way they plan, design and manage places.

I’m so incredibly fired up about SheEO #radicalgenerosity and enormously grateful, honoured and indebted to the Australian Activators for selecting our Venture. At World’s Biggest Garage Sale we will use these loan funds very wisely to help us scale and grow. If you have the capacity to, I’d love to invite you to activate too — join the movement http://sheeo.world