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Ideas

“We are all social entrepreneurs,” says Seth Godin

We are big fans of Seth Godin here at Small Giants. His blog post from May 25th struck a particular chord with us. Raising an interesting point about the consequences of how we class entrepreneurs, Seth says:

“It’s tempting to reserve the new term ‘social entrepreneurs’ for that rare breed that builds a significant company organized around the idea of changing the culture for the better.

 

The problem with this term is that lets everyone else off the hook. The prefix social implies that regular entrepreneurs have nothing to worry about, and that the goal of every un-prefixed organization and project (the ‘regular kind’) is to only make as much money as possible, as fast as possible.

 

But that’s not how the world works.

 

Every project causes change to happen, and the change we make is social. The jobs we take on, the things we make, the side effects we cause—they’re not side effects, they’re merely effects. When we make change, we’re responsible for the change we choose to make.

 

All of us, whichever job or project we choose to take on, do something to change the culture. That social impact, positive or negative is our choice.

 

It turns out that all of us are social entrepreneurs. It’s just that some people are choosing to make a bigger (and better) impact than others.

 

It’s a spectrum, not a label.”

 

Thank you, Seth. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog here.

Small Giants partners with The Cape

In 2014, Small Giants entered a joint venture with the developers of The Cape to deliver one of the most sustainable residential communities in Australia.

The Cape brings together modern architecture, clean energy and community spirit in a unique development. To be completed over multiple stages, the community will feature over 200 houses with a minimum energy efficiency standard across the entire project that raises the bar for sustainable and affordable house design in Australia. The Cape will also feature a specially designed community garden and orchard, a 5000sqm project that makes it one of the largest urban food gardens in Victoria. Residents will enjoy good organic produce, lower food bills, as well as exercise, health and social benefits while working their green thumbs. There will be raised garden beds, a greenhouse, composting areas, worm farms, tool storage, public art, an orchard and poultry.

The Cape display home

Small Giants director, Danny Almagor, says that “we look for projects that we think will redefine the way things are done, and The Cape is definitely one of them. We love the project, we really admire Brendan and the others involved, and if you have visited the site, it is impossible not to love Cape Paterson.”

The first house at The Cape was recently completed by TS Constructions and will be open to the public as a display house for the remainder of this year. The house comfortably exceeded the Project Design Guidelines and achieved an excellent 8.2 Star Rating. The home will generate more energy than it uses, will be comfortable in all types of weather without heating and cooling, and will save homeowners significant money through the home’s minimal running costs. The home captures most of it’s own water, generates surplus solar energy for an electric vehicle, and is an example of the quality of sustainable houses at The Cape.

The Cape at Cape Paterson

This high level of energy efficiency has been achieved by using a combination of materials and design concepts including the following:

Thermal Mass.  The concrete slab design holds and maintains temperature over time, providing a more stable temperature and avoiding the need to artificially heat or cool to deal with extremes.  The floor has been polished to a high gloss which assists with light reflection, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Additional Thermal Mass has been added with the inclusion of rammed earth blockwork walls using local sourced gravel and pressed on site.

Solar Photo Voltaic System.  A 5.0kW solar photovoltaic system has been installed along with a digital energy monitor to show energy generation and use

Hot Water.  A Sanden Air Sourced Hot Water Heat Pump system has been installed which reduces up to 78% of hot water energy needs compared with a traditional system.

Windows.  All windows and aluminium doors are double glazed aluminium units with Low-E glazing

Strategic Shading.  Fixed pitch, aluminium blade window shades have been installed on selected first floor windows to reduce thermal heat gain in summer while allowing for thermal penetration in winter.  On the lower level a timber pergola has been built to achieve the same result.

Insulation.  The home has been fully insulated with external walls having R2.5 insulation, ceilings under the roofline are insulated to R5.0 and between floor insulation of R3.0.  All insulation is Earthwool bats, which are classified as Zero ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) and Zero GWP (Global Warming Potential).

Airtightness.  All windows, doors and openings have a 20mm compressible bead applied between the building frame and the unit, minimising any air leakage.  All exhaust fans are sealed units.

Rainwater collection and use.  Two 5,000 litre slimline tanks are utilised in toilet flushing and for gardening.

Climate Control.  A Daiken Ururu Sarara 7 Reverse Cycle Split System unit was installed to the main living room.  This is an industry leading appliance that has a 7 star cooling and heating rating.  It is considered a complete indoor solution as it heats, cools, purifies the air, provides ventilation, humidification and dehumidification as required.

Garden Design & Plant Selection.  All plant species are native and/or indigenous to the region, require less water and fertiliser and provide habitat for local species.

Vegetable gardens. Raised, water efficient wicking vegetable garden beds in the back yard allow the homeowner to grow food with minimal water, maintenance and effort.

Electric Vehicle Charge Points. Every garage is fitted with a dedicated 15amp Charge point in the garage. This point suits most common brands of EV vehicles including Nissan and Mitsubishi.

The Cape and Small Giants

If you’re interested in joining this exciting sustainable community, then please visit The Cape’s website www.liveatthecape.com.au or contact our sales agent Lisa Roberts on 0413 265 362.

Small Giants Fellowship

SG Fellowship 2015

 Thank you for applying for the Autumn 2015 Small Giants Fellowship. Applications are now closed. Stay tuned to smallgiants.com.au for details on further rounds

The program

Small Giants is seeking two driven, passionate changemakers to join our team for a 10-week Autumn fellowship program commencing in April.

Fellows will learn about the Small Giants philosophy of business, help implement creative business projects such as action tanks and incubators, as well as contribute to the day-to-day running of SG and the White House.

More details

Fellows must be available two days per week for 10 weeks at The White House, St Kilda

Fellowships will include combined hands-on and theoretical experience including one-on-one ‘philosophy coffees’ with SG staffers, informal education, and ownership of a project. We are looking for people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and dive in.

Fellowships are open to people at different points of the career journey: just starting out, established but looking for change, or desire to shift to a new way of doing business.

Apply

To request an application form, email Yasmeen Richards by Friday 20 March: yasmeen@smallgiants.com.au

Burning questions? Call 03 8534 8009

A NEW-ECO-VILLAGE IS BORN – THE COMMONS IS COMPLETE

A NEW-ECO-VILLAGE IS BORN – THE COMMONS IS COMPLETE

Just over 2 years ago, Small Giants embarked on the ambitious task of building one of the most sustainable residential developments in Australia. Today, Small Giants has handed over the eco-apartments to the new residents – ready for the new owners to build upon the foundations of this inner-city, vertical eco-village. The Commons is home to just 24 apartments, along with two artist studios, a cafe and retail space. All of the apartments were sold prior to the completion of construction and all purchasers were eager to settle and move in before Christmas. The café space is currently being fit-out and is expected to open in early 2014.

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This striking building, with its copper and ironbark clad façade, was designed by local Brunswick architects Breathe Architecture. The Commons was meticulously built by Kubic Constructions who appreciated and responded positively to the bespoke nature of the job. Their attention to detail and willingness to explore alternative construction methods and finishes shines through in many aspects of the building.

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The proximity of The Commons to public transport is critical to the overall sustainability of the development. Uniquely, there are no car spaces allocated to the residences of The Commons – residents share the 65 bike spaces located in a secure garage and share the GoGet car parked directly out the front of the building in Florence Street. Being only 6km from the CBD and a short walk to the Sydney Road shops, the luxury of a personal car space is not critical to enjoying the lifestyle that The Commons presents.

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The sustainability features do not end with the various transport options. Other ESD features include:

  1. Double-glazed, and thermally broken windows and balcony doors throughout – including locally made timber sliding doors by Binq;
  2. Recycled timber flooring and feature wall salvaged from demolished houses and schools around Victoria specifically sourced by Small Giants during the course of construction;
  3. Exposed concrete ceilings and structural columns to provide thermal mass to the apartments. This thermal mass, along with extra insulation and ceiling fans, ensures that no air-conditioning is required in the apartments;
  4. Raw and toxic free finishes to tapware, door handles and joinery ensuring that the indoor air quality is as optimal as possible for residents.

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However, the highlight of The Commons is the extensive green roof with sweeping CBD views. The productive garden has 46 raised vegetable boxes – locally manufactured in Brunswick by Future Environment Garden Builders. These boxes provide ample space for residents to grow and share their own produce. The green roof also features an “intensive green roof” featuring hardy native plants that filter stormwater run-off from the building and act as an insulating blanket on the apartments below. This area also provides for a sensational entertaining deck.

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Small Giants is proud to have delivered this landmark project and to have raised the sustainable living benchmark in Australia. It is now the blueprint for future inner-city residential developments, including Oxford & Peel – a Small Giants project currently being marketed in Collingwood (www.oxfordandpeel.com.au)

Small Giants launches the Impact Investment Group

Co-Founded by Small Giants CEO Danny Almagor and Chris Lock, the Impact Investment Group (IIG) has recently been launched. IIG is a private investment and advisory firm committed to harnessing capital markets to drive change. Danny and Chris saw the benefit in offering a blended value proposition through their sustainable and ethical investment opportunities. Drawing on progress in the USA and Europe they developed an Australian impact investment house.

IIG supports investments which generate blended value. This means that investments generate social or environmental returns alongside competitive financial returns. IIG believes that aligned investment can be profitable, sustainable and ethical.

IIG’s purpose is to shift capital from the unconscious to conscious spaces to ultimately improve our shared world.  This purpose is supported by IIG’s Theory of Change: that global behaviour will change for the better when capital is shifted from the traditional commercial investment sector into the impact investment sector. IIG is creating a new investment paradigm in the Australian investment landscape to help change our world for the better.

IIG is also a certified B Corporation.

For more information, please visit http://www.impact-group.com.au/ or contact Will Richardson at will@impact-group.com.au.

B Lab comes to Australia!

B Lab, the not-for-profit behind B Corporations (B Corps), has crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed safely on Australian territory. As Australia’s first B Corporation, Small Giants is proud to announce the establishment of B Lab Australia & New Zealand, based in Melbourne, Australia.

B Corporation certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or Organic certification is to food and food products. Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business. By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, Certified B Corps are distinguishing themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

Global B Corps are certified by the not-for-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. Companies in Australia and New Zealand can now obtain their B Corporation certification from B Lab Australia and New Zealand with continued support provided by B Lab.

B Lab Australia and New Zealand will be officially launched at industry events in Melbourne and Sydney in early 2014.

Small Giants and its family of businesses are certified B Corporations.

For more information, please visit www.bcorporation.net/ or contact Mele-Ane Havea at mele-ane@smallgiants.com.au

Small Giants renews its commitment to the UN Global Compact

Small Giants renews its commitment to the UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate citizenship and sustainability initiative. Since its official launch on 26 July 2000, the initiative has grown to more than 10,000 participants, including over 7,000 businesses in 145 countries around the world.

In 2012, we (Small Giants) became a participant in the UN Global Compact initiative. As part of our ongoing involvement in the initiative, our CEO Danny recently submitted our annual Communication On Progress to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-moon.

In this letter, we expressed our continued support for the Global Compact and renewed our ongoing commitment to the ten principles in the four issue areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. We also provided a sample of practical actions that the Small Giants family of businesses have undertaken over the past year. These actions sit across a number of areas, including: strategy and internal governance, transparency, employee and stakeholder relationships, community engagement and social and environmental impact.

Finally, we took the opportunity to express our renewed support for the broader development goals of the United Nations, particularly the Millennium Development Goals.

You can find more info on the Global Compact here, we think it’s pretty awesome: http://www.unglobalcompact.org.au/about-us/un-global-compact/

 

Romy, and the Small Giants team

The UK PM: Social investment can be a great force for social change

The UK PM: Social investment can be a great force for social change

Last week the team at SG were incredibly inspired to read the text of a recent speech by the UK PM on social investment and social change. Below are the first couple of paragraphs and a link to the full text. The main question we were asking in our office was “how long will it be before an Australian PM gives a similar speech?”

 

It’s great to welcome so many of the world’s top social entrepreneurs and investors to London. As Prime Minister I am frequently asked to speak at conferences. But this is a conference I actually asked to speak at. In fact, I asked to set the whole thing up. Today I want to tell you why.

We’ve got a great idea here that can transform our societies, by using the power of finance to tackle the most difficult social problems. Problems that have frustrated government after government, country after country, generation after generation. Issues like drug abuse, youth unemployment, homelessness and even global poverty. The potential for social investmentis that big. So I want to make it a success in Britain and I want to sell it all over the world.

To read further: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-speech-at-the-social-impact-investment-conference

Pots n Pans Turns 1!

Pots n Pans Turns 1!

2 years ago Small Giants ventured into Vietnam and began a partnership with KOTO, a wonderful organisation providing hospitality training to disadvantaged young people. KOTO has been around for more than 12 years and has now got cafes and training centres in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Our journey with KOTO led to the opening of the Modern Dining restaurant Pots n Pans in Hanoi in March 2012. Pots n Pans employs KOTO graduates and provides a “post-graduate” training experience for these inspiring individuals. Excitingly we’re about to turn one year old, and we’re celebrating with a feast befitting such an important milestone!

See below for full details:

 

Celebrating One Year of Culinary Excellence

Hanoi’s own Pots ‘n Pans, is excited to announce its first Anniversary on the Friday 29th March, 2013.

Opened since March 2012 as a partnership between KOTO (who works with street and disadvantaged youth), Small Giants (an Australian Impact Investment Group) and a dedicated group of KOTO alumni, we have truly enjoyed creating wonderful dining moments for the last 12 months. It’s time to celebrate in style!

This year Pots ‘n Pans have the great honour to host the internationally acclaimed, Michelin Star Chef Felix Eppisser accompanied by Chef Marco Mehr. The two inspiring chefs will present a four-course gala dinner paring with wines at Pots ‘n Pans to mark an important milestone to the unique Pots ‘n Pans Culinary Experience.

 

Chef Felix Eppisser’s biography

The renowned Michelin Star Chef Eppisser, with his wife Lucia operate the most prestigious restaurant in Myanmar, Le Planteur. After a brilliant career in the Fine Dining business, the highly decorated chef has set the bar in modern European and Indochine Fine Dining in Myanmar and globally. Their property in Zürich, the hotel & restaurant Rigiblick belonged to the top addresses of Switzerland and was internationally renowned.

 

Chef Marco Mehr’s biography

Marco has joined Felix at Le Planteur to further develop his skills he has earned as the private Chef of the German World Cup Ski team. Since working with Felix at Rigiblick in Zürich, Marco has a wealth of experience including the Stamford in Singapore, Burj al arab and Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. Marco has already been awarded a number of competition titles including the All-over winner at the Culinary World Cup (world championship) in Luxembourg.

 

For more information, please contact Amy Ngoc at ngoc@potsnpans.vn or +84 162 6370 882