Power of an idea – how can an individual shake up the status quo? SED Talks with Taboo, Fruit2Work and ConnectHear
In a globalised world, it becomes harder to imagine that individuals could change the world. SEWF22’s SED Talks proved otherwise. The audience and the moderator Brett de Hoedt, heard from three social enterprises Taboo, Fruit2Work and ConnectHear, about their efforts to make the world a better place.
Eloise Hall talked about Taboo, a social enterprise selling period products. Together with Isobel Marshall, they learned about the barriers menstruating people face and decided to change that. They reached out to many businesses and faced a lot of rejections. They finally found a supplier, who gave them a quote of $48,000. As young bartenders, they felt discouraged but persevered and crowdfunded $56,000 in only two months. They now run an ethical business supplying organic, carbon-neutral tampons and pads. They cannot provide free products yet but offer to ‘pad it forward’, thus allowing people to purchase products for someone in need. To increase their impact, they are actively scaling up their operation one state at a time, hoping to end period poverty as their customer base increases.
Simon Fenech started with a captivating story of his life – a family man injured at work, struggling with pain so much that he got addicted to drugs. He became a drug dealer and ended up in prison. After working hard to re-socialise himself and leaving prison, he learned that life outside was even harder. He struggled to find work but eventually became a delivery driver. He’s now the general manager there, providing jobs to ex-offenders and service to over five hundred businesses in Victoria. Fruit2Work currently has thirty-six employees and has successfully transitioned seventy ex-offenders into the community. Not a single one of their employees has gone back to prison when, statistically, one out of two people released in Australia go back to jail. Fruit2Work is actively changing people’s lives while providing a commercial service to its customers.
Azima Dhanjee was born to deaf parents and quickly noticed barriers they faced outside their home. Her parents couldn’t attend school meetings or go to the doctor. Azima grew up hoping someone would find a solution for them. At the age of nineteen, she realised that she had to find one herself. She now runs ConnectHear, providing interpreting services online, free of charge. The user can request in real time via phone. ConnectHear now works with six banks in Pakistan, covering over one thousand branches each and has increased their profit by 100% in 2021 alone. They are expanding internationally, with trials in Africa and Europe. They also managed to provoke a social shift, with government officials expressing a need for a change in television. 5% of the world’s population ⏤ 400 million people, are deaf. ConnectHear allows those people to live independent lives connected with society.
SED Talks at SEWF22 highlighted the importance of social enterprises in bridging the gap and providing real solutions to real people. Each of these inspiring ventures started with a spark within a person, a need to change something. Through hard work and perseverance, they introduced their visions to the world and helped not just individuals but also started the shift of societal norms – shaking up the status quo. It is crucial we provide opportunities like SEWF22 for these discussions to inspire more people to support and create that change.
Join SEWF23 (11-12 October) to access world-class content, connect with thousands of other purpose-driven people and be part of the world’s largest social enterprise conversation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and online. Also visit the updated SEWF Video Library to watch sessions from past events.