Forming Circles are advocates for business start-ups and entrepreneurs and it was great to have our first Business Grant of 2013 going to young entrepreneurs! In partnership with Enterprise Network for Young Australians (ENYA) we created a unique opportunity to win a trip to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit 2013 in Moscow plus a $5000 business grant through an application procdess. The winner of the $5000 business grant went to Tom Dawkins of StartSomeGood.
Renata Cooper sat down with Tom Dawkins from StartSomeGood to discuss his business from conception to launch and how winning the $5000 grant from Forming Circles helped his business to grow.
How did winning the $5000 grant from Forming Circles help with your business growth
Winning the Forming Circles/ENYA award and funding earlier this year was a very important injection of funds at a very critical time for us. It allows us to invest in adding credit card processing for Australian projects. This was our mostly requested feature, which has allowed us to engage a new group of projects and organisations. Forming Circle’s support also allowed me to attend the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit in Moscow in June which was a great experience meeting inspiring young entrepreneurs from 20 countries.
What was your motivation behind StartSomeGood and how has the journey been so far
I have spent most of my life exploring how we can encourage and support more people to be involved in creating change in our community. This has involved founding a couple of youth non-profits, opening Australia’s first coworking space and spending a couple of years in Washington DC as Social Media Director for Ashoka, one of the world’s leading organisations promoting social entrepreneurship. It was there I met my StartSomeGood co-founder Alex. We were inspired by the impact we saw sites like Kickstarter having in the arts, maker, design communities and we wanted to offer that same opportunity to social entrepreneurs, non-profits and community groups. Since then we’ve helped 250 groups raise $1.5 million in funding.
How long did it take from the inception through to launching StartSomeGood
We started working on StartSomeGood in about October 2010 and the website launched in March 2011.
What was your most successful campaign
Our most successful campaign by money was the Do Good Bus who raised $101,000. Our most successful solo fundraiser is Jennifer Windrum who raised almost $40,000 to launch her social enterprise SMAC.
What is one campaign you are currently working on that you would like to highlight
This campaign from The Welcome Centre in South Australia is very important. They just had $160,000 in federal government funding taken away, putting their essential services at risk. They’re trying to replace those funds with those raised on our platform in order to keen the Centre open.
You are involved in the Changemakers Festival – what is it?
The Changemakers Festival is an “open access” or “distributed” festival – anyone in Australia can create an event and request to be added to the festival line-up. The Changemakers Festival is a celebration of the great work happening in our community, an exploration of the ideas, techniques and technologies that are driving this change, and an invitation for everyone to get involved in creating a better future for our communities and our world.
How would you summarise Changemakers Festival’s first year and what are your plans for 2014.
The first year featured over 150 events in every state and territory, with an estimated 10,000 people attending at least one event. Next year we hope to double to 300 events!
What lessons have your learned so far
You can read about more of my lessons learned in a recent post I did for pro-bono Australia.
What are you 5 tips for starting a social enterprise
- Know the community you are trying to serve
- Be resilient and patient. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- Work with great people. Have a co-founder.
- If you feel like you need more support to get started check out some of the great programs in Australia such as the School for Social Entrepreneurs or Centre for Sustainability Leadership.
- Crowdfund with StartSomeGood! 😉
What are you currently reading
Annapurna: First Conquest of an 8000-meter Peak by Maurice Herzog (I love mountaineering books) and Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson.