Growing up, my parents, family, teachers and mentors always made sure to remind me that I, one person, could change the world. They told me my ideas can change the world. Of course, I didn’t believe them. After all, how could I, one person among billions, make my voice be heard or make impact in such a huge space? It couldn’t be so – I merely didn’t have the resources to help end global issues like poverty and disease.
It wasn’t until I was years into my retirement that I figured it out. You see, changing the world isn’t about fixing ALL the world’s problems. It’s not about being famous or having all the money in the world to make an impact. It’s about using your individual skills and talents, and using them to make some sort of a difference. It’s about realising that your talents and ideas can change the world. You can impact one person’s life, and that’s still a difference.
After finding out that hundreds of millions of children can’t go to school because they don’t have adequate footwear, I not only knew my calling but my difference. My difference was going to be shoes. Shoes that can send a child to school and provide them with a good future free of poverty. Then, Moeloco was born. A year later, and we’ve raised almost 3,500 pairs of shoes for children in need.
Social enterprises make the everyday essentials life changing. Thongs are an integral part of Aussie culture, and an Aussie, on average, owns five pairs. Aussies also spend hundreds of millions of dollars on everyday essentials like bottled water, toilet paper and personal hygiene products, to name a few. So what if your everyday common purchases went towards providing life-changing solutions for people in need?
Well, I’m not the first person to ask this question, nor will I be the last.
Zambrero is a healthy Mexican food chain founded by Dr Sam Prince in Canberra in 2005. With ‘fresh ingredients and a good cause all rolled into one’ serving as the chain’s slogan, Zambrero has teamed with Stop Hunger Now to offer a plate 4 plate initiative where, for every purchase made, a plate of food is donated to a person in need. To this day, Zambrero has donated over seven and a half million plates of food.
Thankyou Group, the group behind Thankyou Water, which is sold in most major supermarkets and service stations, started as an idea in 2008 by a group of university students who were alarmed to learn that approximately 900 million people in the world didn’t have access to safe drinking water. The idea was simple: to get ‘everyday Australians to make a difference through a simple choice within their everyday life’. These choices help the company fund different projects in developing countries. The company has since expanded to include cereals, snack bars, soap and hand wash in their range, and customers can track the impact of their purchase through a unique code on each bottle.
Who Gives A Crap was launched in 2012 with a crowdfunding campaign where one of the founders, Simon, sat on a toilet in their warehouse and refused to move until they had raised enough pre-orders to start production. Their products are made with environmentally friendly materials, and the company donates 50% of their profits to Wateraid to help build toilets in developing countries. To date, WGAC have provided sanitation to 69,000 people, saving 12,000 trees and 29 million litres of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2,300 tonnes by using environmentally friendly materials and cleaner processes.
SEED Parks and Property Maintenance is a Brisbane-based landscaping and commercial cleaning social enterprise that provides sustainable and supportive employment to long-term unemployed people and those excluded from the traditional labour market. A Social Return on Investment Analysis study found that for every $1 invested in SEED, $2.45 is created in social value.
Orange Sky Laundry is an Australian first mobile laundry service for the homeless. Founded in 2014 by two 20 year olds, Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, Orange Sky has expanded to five Australian cities with a goal of going global. Just last month, the Prime Minister awarded the Young Australian of the Year Award to both Lucas and Nicholas.
All these social enterprises began as a seed of inspiration. These entrepreneurs saw an opportunity for change, and then turned their ideas into impact. Ideas CAN change the world – no matter how big or small or crazy – because if every person came up with a solution to even something small, wouldn’t the world be okay?
You can help make a difference today by heading over to moeloco.com/shop to purchase a pair of thongs that’ll not only look SO GOOD on your feet, but also help send a child to school. What do you think? Are you in?
Come along to our Namaste Party this Thursday 7 pm till 9:30 pm to share your big or small or crazy ideas with other heart-centred entrepreneurs. We will be celebrating Moeloco’s first birthday by taking you on a journey back to India… You can find out more about it here, or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you there.
Be the change you want to see in the world (and remember your ideas can change the world).