2018/19 Celebrating Diversity Grants – Projects

a report by SEVENmile Venture Lab for Multicultural NSW

In February 2019, we received formal notification that our application to Multicultural NSW for grant funding had been approved. In March 2019 the formal grant agreement was received and executed.

The grant funds were received in early July 2019.

SEVENmile Ltd acknowledges our sincere appreciation of the support of Multicultural NSW to enable our work with the migrants living on Sydney's northern beaches.

letter of approval from MP Ray Williams, Minister for Multiculturalism to SEVENmile Venture Lab

The grant application scope

The Project will educate and upskill recent migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds residing in Northern Beaches to conduct or "establish a business using their own language and cultural skills". This unique opportunity to celebrate and draw tangible benefits from cultural diversity will be implemented by SEVENmile Venture Lab, commencing with a series of face-to-face workshops over 6 days at Seaforth Village Community Centre followed by ongoing support for a period of 12 months providing education and mentoring sessions focused on intercultural skills for business, enterprise spirit and cooperation between members of diverse groups.

SEVENmile Venture Lab sought funding of $28,900 to supplement in-kind contributions of $9,200 to deliver the project.

The funding approved in the grant was $10,000 which required a re-design of the project format and deliverables.

Tibetan and Brazilian Migrants

The Directors of SEVENmile Ltd determined that it would be necessary to focus on 2 specific migrant groups that are well represented on the Northern Beaches, Tibetans (about 1500) and Brazilians (about 900).

We gratefully acknowledge assistance to connect with the Tibetan community from the then Deputy Mayor of Northern Beaches Council, Sue Heins and the Manager of Brookvale Community Centre, Maria-Elena Chidzey and her assistant Dhondup Dolkar and for the Brazilian community we were assisted by Flavia C. Ribeiro De Souza.

Education events and meetups were held on the following dates

Thursday June 20, 2019 at Brookvale Community Centre

SEVENmile Venture Lab Tibetan migrant business seminar at Brookvale Community Center

The seminar agenda was arranged to present the services of SEVENmile Venture Lab to assist Tibetan migrants who were interested in starting a business. In the picture below, seated centre front row is Northern Beaches Council Deputy Mayor, Sue Heins and to her right is Brookvale Communty Centre Manager, Maria-Elena Chidzey. SEVENmile Venture Lab founder, Greg Twemlow, is standing far left.

SEVENmile Venture Lab Tibetan migrants seminar June 20, 2019

Thursday June 27 at Brookvale Community Centre

Tibetan migrants who expressed interest in starting their own business attended this seminar. Pictured below is SEVENmile Venture Lab founder, Greg Twemlow, engaging with the migrants.

Tibetan migrants attend a SEVENMile Venture Lab seminar on June 27 at Brookvale Community Centre

Thursday July 4, 2019 One-on-one meeting with Ally Xion

Friday July 5, 2019 One-on-one meetings with Ngawang  and Lobsang Tenzing

Monday July 15, 2019 One-on-one meeting with Dorji Tsering

Wednesday July 17, 2019 One-on-one meeting with Dorji Tsering

Friday July 19, 2019 One-on-one meetings with Ngawang and Lobsang

Following the seminars and various one-on-one discussions only 2 of the Tibetans wished to proceed with their business idea.

Dorji Tsering wanted to create a website for his photography and handcrafts. SEVENMile staff worked with Dorji to create his website.

Lobsang Tenzing was determined to create a cleaning business and SEVENmile staff helped him to create his website.

As at the end of 2019, Lobsang decided that he was unable to secure enough regular customers to earn a viable income.

Dorji has continued to offer his photography and handcrafts and has kept his casual job in an aged care facility in Narrabeen.

In the interests of helping the Tibetan refugees to share their life stories we invited Ngawang, Dorji and Lobsang to be interviewed by a Tibetan interpreter who asked the questions and recorded the answers in Tibetan and then translated them to English. The three stories are available here:

SEVENmile offered to fund barista training to the Tibetans. The offer was taken up by Lobsang, Dorji and Pema Dolka.

The training was conducted by a Master Barista, Christine Alcorn, herself a migrant from Taiwan, on a Saturday at her cafe, Grassroots in Seaforth.

The attendees were each issued with a certificate of completion and Northern Beaches Council, Deputy Mayor, Councillor Sue Heins was an observer of the training.

SEVENmile Ltd Comments

Overall engaging with the Tibetans was challenging due to their culture and humble nature. Language was also a barrier, although most could speak basic English, the level of spoken English hindered our work. Often their written English was slightly better their spoken English.

Most Tibetans are naturally shy and are not eager to be in the spotlight, only a few were more outgoing and the two most outgoing, Lobsang and Dorji, were the ones who wanted to try to create a business.

A good deal of our work turned out to be helping them feel more confident, being prepared to record a short video and to be interviewed and have their story made available publicly.

Brazilian Migrants

There is a large population of Brazilian migrants living on the northern beaches and they are quite unlike Tibetans. Brazilians are naturally outgoing and confident and they are inherently entrepreneurial.


SEVENmile Venture Lab received valuable help from Martin Stark and

There is a large population of Brazilian migrants living on the northern beaches and they are quite unlike Tibetans. Brazilians are naturally outgoing and confident and they are inherently entrepreneurial.

SEVENmile Venture Lab received valuable help from Martin Stark and Flavia Canelhas Ribeiro De Souza. Our first event was held August 8th, 2019 at the SVENmile Ventyure Lab campus in Seaforth.

SEVENMile Venture Lab Brazilian migrants meetup Aug 8, 2019

We gave 4 of the Brazilian migrants an opportunity to tell their story and below the SEVENMile Founder, Greg Twemlow, talks about the migrant work that SEVENmile did with support from Multicultural NSW.

SEVENmile Ltd Comments

Our work with the Brazilian migrants was very rewarding for all involved. The Brazilians were connected to the SEVENmile Venture Lab community and in fact, many of the migrants who attended our events hadn't met each other before.

The networking alone has proved highly valuable for everyone involved and we took a group of migrants to an event at Homebush Bay to hear Sir Richard Branson live. Watch the video below.

Accounts Report

This project was funded by NSW Government through Celebrating Diversity Grants Program. The SEVENmile Ltd grant application to Multicultural NSW sought grant funding of $28,900 in conjunction with in-kind contributions of $9,200. The approved grant was for funding of $10,000. The lower amount of funding necessitated major changes to the approach and scope of the original proposed program of work. The table below details how the grant funds were utilized and the signed copies can be downloaded.

Finance report by SEVENMile Ltd for Multicultural NSW by Greg Twemlow

The Directors of SEVENmile Ltd wish to thank Multicultural NSW, MP for Manly, James Griffin and Northern Beaches Councilor Sue Heins for their support to enable our work with the migrant community of the northern beaches.

This report was prepared by SEVENmile Venture Lab founder, Greg Twemlow.

Please email Greg Twemlow regarding this project and report.

logo for SEVENmile Venture Lab by Greg Twemlow