Start Some Good was founded in 2011 with the aim of specialising in social change projects and helping idea generators bridge the funding gap.
The opportunity for female empowerment was evident, with 72% of social enterprises in Australia being founded by women with only 2% of venture capital globally, going to those enterprises. This made the team at Start Some Good, and in particular Western Sydney-based Natalie Wadwell… well pissed.
Start Some Good saw a great opportunity and launched Pitch For Good, a live pitch event series showcasing some of the best emerging social entrepreneurs in Australia while helping them launch crowd funding campaigns to maximise the funds they can raise to grow their impact. Their idea is that women need an opportunity and they can line it up and make it happen (something we know all too well here!).
As one of the seven finalists of our Female Empowerment Grant, we sat down with Natalie to hear more…
What are the values of Start Some Good?
At Start Some Good we believe anyone can create social change, which is why we are dedicated to not limiting ourselves by geography or a person’s business structure.
The idea could be a for profit social enterprise, a not for profit, or have no structure at all and just be a group that wants to start a really great project in their community. We dedicate ourselves to helping everyone through that process.
I think it’s that commitment to the idea that anyone can be a change-maker.
What does female empowerment mean to you?
For me, female empowerment is about providing someone with the tools or the knowledge to actually go and do things themselves.
Part my role daily is to check in with online support – so that could be women who are coming online and saying “I want to do a crowd funding campaign, here’s the draft, what do you think?” and it’s my job to provide them with tailored feedback specific to their campaign to make it as strong as possible. It’s part of my role to help them communicate and help them build that strong storytelling focus for their project.
Our event Pitch For Good targets female founders and focuses on that empowerment. We’re giving them the platform, the awareness and the audience to promote their message as well as give them workshops for improve skills in community building, fundraising and digital marketing strategy.
These are skills they can take throughout their business lifetime and also have that extra platform and audience to promote their message to.
Tell us more about Pitch For Good…?
Pitch For Good brings together the excitement of live pitch event with the added benefit of the digital crowdfunding platform so it really means we capture energy in the room and go beyond traditional pitch events. It goes beyond your graphical boundaries to promote their message and their brand around the country.
Hopefully 100 female founders come through the workshop program and we’ll will take six of them through to Pitch For Good and help them get the money they need to kick start their ideas!
Why did you get involved, specifically in our Female Empowerment Grant?
I really wanted to get involved in the Grant, because I personally know the struggles that females have trying to get a social enterprise off the ground.
This Grant is an opportunity to really push for what we believe in and to help platform female founders around the country. There’s no shortage of them.
What would winning the Grant do for Start Some Good?
For us it is a huge opportunity to push Pitch For Good to the next level. We see a great opportunity to develop our workshop programs, one in each major city around Australia and capture female founders in that actual skill building capacity.
We’re going to do a really great workshop program and then we’re going to do a national call out for female fans who feel that they’re ready to have pitching training and crowd funding training to help them get their skills behind launching a crowd funding program.
What would be the positive impact for you to be successful in the Grant?
For us, the positive impact and success is going to come down to that live event in Melbourne to start with, and that’s just seeing women coming together and supporting each other and having that camaraderie.
How do you feel when you talk about camaraderie and what is the link here?
One thing we see is that the campaigns start to support each other, and it no longer becomes a competition for the minimal funding that is out there.
Where you get the volume is when you’ve got pockets of women all around the country championing female founders. That volume is so important if we want to change the current state.
It’s about how we actually support each other as an ecosystem. We will have one hundred women around the country just as committed in supporting each other to do amazing work.
The social sector needs to do better. Everyone in business is talking about women on board and women in higher roles, but the social sector isn't talking enough about it. We really need to lead from the front and this is a chance to do that.
How does the ‘network effect’ help female empowerment?
I think the most important thing about a network and empowerment is that feeling that you’re not alone, particularly when you’re trying to start your own business.
I have a really great quote that someone said to me where “you’re going to feel lonely but you’re not alone”. That’s one of those quotes that really hits home, especially when you experience it.
I think to have a network that is there saying you can do this is so important.
To know that there is a network of women first and foremost around Australia that are going to back you, helps take you to that next step.
What is the next step for the business?
The next step for us with the growth of Pitch For Good, is actually as a TV series. Think Shark Tank, but for social entrepreneurs. We really like to harness that difference between the physical and digital and push that message further and get past geographical boundaries.
We really think is a really great opportunity to start drumming up how much people love the Pitch For Good model focusing on female founders.
Photo of Natalie courtesy of Your Creative taken in the TOM office garden.