PARTNERS WITH PURPOSE
There are currently an estimated 105,000 people officially experiencing homelessness in Australia (abs 2011 census). On any given night, 1 in 200 people will experience homelessness. On any given night, two of every three people needing crisis accommodation will be turned away.
One of Australia’s first accommodation sharing websites, flatmate.com has partnered with grassroots not-for-profit organisation StreetSmart, with a pledge from founder John Stericker to donate 50% of flatmate.com subscription revenue to help combat rising experience of homelessness in Australia.
From the establishment of Oxfam in 1948, to industry giants such as Tesla, The Body Shop and TOMS, to recent success stories Thank You (thankyou.co) and Who Gives A Crap (whogivesacrap.org), the notion of aligning profits with purpose is gaining ever greater traction around the world, and across the business landscape in Australia.
A 2010 FASES research report identified up to 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, which have operated for at least five years, and represent a wide range of industry sectors.
Established in 2000, Sydney based John Stericker set out with a mission to improve the lives of others by utilising what was then a new concept of share economy, and developed flatmate.com to connect people who wanted to share accommodation.
A self-funded passion project ever since, while holding down a full time job and becoming a father to three boys, John has recently moved flatmate.com to a paid model so he can grow his business and start contributing to the issues that really matter to him. An innate sense of social justice and responsibility has always been the flatmate.com thread.
‘I lived in an inner city suburb of Sydney and witnessed the impact of homelessness firsthand. I saw a natural affinity between my business and StreetSmart, an organisation I really admire and who themselves distribute 100% of funds across a broad range of smaller projects that tackle the many issues of homelessness in Australia.
One of my business values is fairness, and philanthropy is important to me. Though it bucks the usual business trend of ‘make money first then get charitable’, I wanted to start giving money to people who need it now. I don’t want to wait five years to lift the veil to show who we are – this is who we are and this is what we stand for. Ultimately we’d like to expand this model internationally, and ensure that each paid subscriber knows that their part donation goes directly back into their own community.’
StreetSmart founder and CEO Adam Robinson says a partnership with flatmate.com is a natural alliance, and this is where all parties can be really successful.
‘We are excited to team up with John, and the flatmate.com community. It’s a great opportunity to connect with his users and raise awareness and support for smaller grassroots homeless services in local communities across Australia. These smaller organisations are doing critical work in the homelessness and at risk sector, but don’t necessarily have the profile or resources to attract funding. We are really hopeful of a great partnership that will build out impact across the community.’
For more information, please see:
- flatmate.com founder John Stericker is available for comment and interview upon request. Please email [email protected]. Images also available.
- StreetSmart founder and CEO Adam Robinson is available for interview upon request. Please email [email protected].
For information and statistics about homelessness in Australia, please see:
For more information on the global trends of profit for purpose business, please see, http://www.wired.co.uk/article/julie-hannah-profit-purpose-startup