Recently I had the privilege of presenting to the women involved in Money For Jam, a learning project established by Per Capita Australia.
Per Capita, self-described as an independent, progressive think tank, works to fight inequality in Australia and build a fairer future. Their idea for the project came about from a report titled, Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. Taking into consideration the rising average age of our population due to science and health advances, the blueprint addresses positive approaches for older Australians to participate effectively in society and the economy.
Money For Jam works with women over the age of 50 to help set up and successfully run their own businesses and micro-enterprises, not only to contribute to the economy but also to support themselves financially.
Money For Jam shows its concerns for women, in particular. The project empowers women and encourages that self-employment is a great opportunity to overcome these adversities.
Myfan Jordan, Director of Social Innovation at Per Capita adds that the learning project is “teamed with positive psychology skills so that women build their confidence and are able to run their own businesses.”
Passionate about social enterprise, I’m especially drawn towards getting involved with Money For Jam to help women who are at a disadvantage. Born and raised in a middle-class family, I sympathise with the struggles of having financial uncertainties. My inspiration comes from my parents, who are both entrepreneurs in my home country of Nepal.
My mother is a founding chairperson of Leading Women’s Cooperative – Kathmandu, Nepal, an organisation which unites members to contribute to a revolving fund, from which members are able to take out a loan and repay for the next members. The loans have been able to help women pay for necessities such as education and medical bills.
The inspiration for this idea came about when my mother was offered financial assistance from family and neighbours to pay our school boarding fees. It quickly became evident that other women in under developing countries were faced with similar hardships and the best way to overcome this was to offer a helping hand. The social enterprise works on the basis of the ‘ripple effect’ or the ‘pay it forward’ movement, both of which work to spread positive results across society.
“As time passed, they quickly realised how valuable it was to help each other.”
At the workshop, I was able to offer my experience and expertise to help the women expand their business ideas. Encouraging the women to think about why they’re running their business – why are they passionate about what they do and why do they want the market to know about it? I show women entrepreneurs that when you discover your “WHY,” everything else comes naturally and clearly. I offered tips on the best digital marketing platforms, including LinkedIn, and suggested how to target each of the women’s niche market simply and effectively.
Most importantly though, I focused on the importance of asking for help and breaking down the stigma that asking for help makes you appear vulnerable.
“There are so many people here to help us in this world, the problem for us is that we don’t ask for help. We don’t ask because we’re afraid people will say NO, but people want to help,” as saying goes from – Mahatma Gandhi ‘If you don’t ask you don’t get it.