Social Change Champion: Greg Twemlow
Greg Twemlow is an accomplished CEO, skilled at making decisions based on both deep data analysis and market intuition, and at a speed to match business needs. In late 2018, he founded SEVENmile Venture Lab, a not-for-profit social enterprise that supports entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into realities.
SEVENMILE was created to formalise an idea Greg floated in late July 2018 – “I’m putting this story out on LinkedIn to see who could be interested to help get the Manly Innovation Hub up and running. I can’t think of a more perfect place to help entrepreneurs find their path to a successful new venture.” – here’s the original LinkedIn post.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Greg’s vision and goals include establishing SEVENmile in other regional economies and in particular in regions where technology will be highly disruptive. A creative thinker and business catalyser, we interviewed Greg to get his thoughts on social entrepreneurship and building an inclusive network of social impact innovators and entrepreneurs.
What is your social enterprise elevator pitch?
SEVENmile Venture Lab is a social enterprise, a not-for-profit, supporting our community in launching new enterprises, focusing on women and men who want to design their future, young adults (16-25 years), diversity and over 50s. We were founded in Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches in late 2018.
Launching first in the northern beaches region of Sydney, we aim to empower individuals to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and to contribute to the economic growth of their communities. Our vision is to develop an inclusive network of innovators and entrepreneurs that have the support, skills, and connections to positively change their communities and countries.
We serve a broad demographic from 16 years to 70+ years.
SEVENmile entrepreneurs are provided with training, mentorship by world class entrepreneurs from all parts of the world, and a community of creative changemakers to share their experiences with.
What are your biggest personal and/or professional challenges as a social entrepreneur in Australia?
Saying “sponsors” is almost too obvious, although in the end there won’t be the kind of impact I’m hoping for without corporate sponsors. I’ve realised how challenging it is to secure mindshare with corporations, even when the fit between our vision and their culture is like hand-in-glove.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received so far since starting your own social enterprise?
Stay focused, persevere, be patient. I’d add that my mentor coached me to not feel overwhelmed about the range of issues and questions to be answered, rather she advised me to channel the old Chinese proverb that says, “a thousand mile journey begins with the first step”. I try and take a step forward every day.
If you were to start over, is there anything you would do differently?
In hindsight, I involved a large group of volunteers too early in the process and it had the effect of dramatically slowing progress. I worked on trimming the core group of volunteers to 4 people and immediately our rate of progress improved.
Where do you see the future of social enterprise in Australia?
The Social Change Central changemaker community is growing at a fast rate. How can our members learn more about you and help support your organisation?
Like most NFP’s, we sure need lots of help and right now we need sponsors, mentors, a community manager and a journalist to write of press releases.