Last year, we made a commitment to becoming a social enterprise. And now, we’re excited to announce that we’ve achieved our Social Enterprise certification!
Wait what? What’s a social enterprise?
Here’s the definition from Social Traders, Australia’s social enterprise body: “Social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.”
Another way of looking at it is a business that is looking to both be commercially sustainable and - through that success - be able to ‘do good’ for the community. For ColourSpace, our purpose is to support the Australian art community, in particular emerging artists from all walks of life.
Why is this important? Why not homelessness? Or diversity?
Because we believe that art has a fundamentally crucial role to play in society. And we’re not talking about about the hyper-elite world of fine art, we’re talking about the role that it plays at a societal level; it’s power to connect people, to engage, to heal, to inspire, and to enrich our lives. It does something that technology can’t! We believe art genuinely impacts the lives of everyone in ways that often cannot be quantifiable; from homeless people who have created art to help them find purpose and to connect with community, or people from diverse backgrounds who can connect over art. That’s why we spent the first couple of years of our life finding ways to bringing art to people and business in a way that’s meaningful to them.
Now we’ve confirmed that there’s a genuine need for what we do - the enterprise part - we are starting to double down on the social part: using art to help artists and the community. This is important to us because if Australia is to have access to all of these creative, artistic, cultural experiences, we need a thriving - not surviving - community of artists. But the art industry in Australia is suffering. Funding is down a staggering 80% in the past 10 years, and private galleries are closing.
What does that mean for us?
This is what we want to achieve:
1) To help local, emerging artists create sustainable, recurrent income from their art. 25% of all revenue from our subscription service goes directly back to artists
2) Direct a further 10% of our revenue to art programs for disadvantaged and underprivileged communities
3) Help people and businesses engage with and commercially support local art in innovative ways. We will help them look good, feel good, and do good with art
4) Bring art to people who don’t have the opportunity to access it, whether that’s to create or experience it
Image by Samantha Sophia
A broader movement towards social impact
We were inspired by Jacinta Arden’s decision to release New Zealand’s first ever well-being budget committed to measuring five specific goals: bolstering mental health, reducing child poverty, supporting indigenous peoples, moving to a low-carbon-emission economy, and flourishing in a digital age.
Although it’s not the first time a government has prioritised budget for well-being it was a nice reminder of conscious decisions needed to address big issues and real problems on a systemic level.
Just like Jacinta’s decision to re-think and implement well-being targets, we continue to see, read and hear about businesses who have made a choice to do good while continuing to satisfy their bottom line: Businesses that are acknowledging their role in actioning social change, taking accountability for their own values and meeting customers demand for purpose-driven businesses.
We’re excited to be apart of the movement too!
Other businesses doing good
These are some of the other businesses we’re inspired by, and hope to grow as successful and impactful as they are:
- Streat Melbourne - Tackling homelessness through hospitality by giving disadvantaged youth employment pathways.
Who gives a crap - Improving sanitation in the developing world by donating 50% of their colourfully labelled toilet paper to help build toilets.
Thank you - Committing 100% profit from their products to help end global poverty.
Words with heart - Donating funds from every purchase from their creative eco-friendly stationery products to support education programs for women and girls.
- Good on you - Contributing to a sustainable and fair fashion industry by helping consumers identify ethical ratings for fashion brands.