SEVENmile Ltd 2022 Annual Report
prepared by SEVENmile Ltd Director, Greg Twemlow, December 2022
Looking back on our first four years, it's clear that we began closing chapter one in 2020 and simultaneously opened chapter two. Chapter one, the support of entrepreneurs, is now closed, but only because we could not convince any level of government in Australia to provide meaningful financial support for that work. I've shared below more about what we achieved working with northern beaches entrepreneurs.
Chapter two is about our work with high schools, training teachers and students to apply the nine crucial skills they need to maximize their impact and achieve their true potential. Chapter two is explained below. Chapter two is made possible by the wonderful support of the Regional Industry Education Partnerships group in NSW Education.
SEVENmile Ltd has made an even greater impact than in 2021, particularly with the expansion of the Enterprise in the Community program for high school students.
- Our Startups secured well over $6m in early-stage funding.
- Multiple Grant programs successfully delivered.
- Hundreds of Sydney metro high school students trained in entrepreneurship.
- Founders made good use of our co-work space at Seaforth Village until it closed on June 30.
- We also managed to host several meetup events in between periods of lockdown.
We acknowledge our volunteers, who've been instrumental in helping our mission to upskill our community to explore the dream of their venture. At SEVENmile, you've found an organization and a community that supports entrepreneurs to succeed, to collaborate with people who've launched their venture and know how incredibly awesome it feels to see entrepreneurial dreams become a reality.
Your journey as an entrepreneur is guaranteed to include challenges, big and small. The best chance to realize your potential is to join a community of like-minded people who know how hard entrepreneurship is and who how to help you avoid the traps that can easily lead to failure.
Watch this video made with assistance of a Grant from the Australian Government to encourage volunteerism. Videography by Nigel Abbott.
Since 2018 SEVENmile Ltd has demonstrated we believe in the power of innovation to help bring about more equitable opportunities for entrepreneurs of all ages. We do this by removing barriers and helping the adoption of new venture best practices. The term we use for this work is, "Democratizing Entrepreneurship."
SHOUTOUT to Michael Zhu, Principal of Blueprint Accounting & Consulting. Michael has sponsored SEVENmile since our inception and we greatly appreciate his wonderful support managing our tax and financial affairs. He's the go-to-guy for all your accounting and finance management needs. Email him and mention you are a friend of SEVENmile: email@example.com
SHOUTOUT to over 40 folks in our community who stepped up and paid $200 to be a SEVENmiler. Those funds were very helpful in the earliest days when Directors were covering operational expenses. SEVENmilers are forever in our hall-of-fame.
So what have we learned in close to 4 years?
We've learned a lot that we didn't know we didn't know about our industry as we've created our SEVENmile community during the past 4 years, and I wanted to share some of those top-line learnings about northern beaches entrepreneurs. You might enjoy viewing videos of our work since we launched in November 2018. They capture so many good news stories.
The BIGGEST thrill has been the program we deliver for NSW Education which began in 2020.
1. Driven by Equitable Outcomes
Every entrepreneur in our community has raised their hand to proclaim that our industry needs to focus on equitable outcomes above all else. They're operating in spite of long sales cycles, lack of early-stage funding, and other roadblocks BECAUSE of their passion for constructive outcomes. Unlike other urban areas, our entrepreneurs are not market opportunists - they are from all walks of life, aged anywhere from 10 to 70, or they're students looking to solve problems they've experienced firsthand.
2. The SEVENmile Entrepreneur Community is Inherently Diverse
Northern beaches entrepreneurs could be anyone anywhere that has experienced a problem in their educational or working life and are driven to fix it. That makes our community one of the most diverse communities of tech founders. Take a look at the profile of our community of entrepreneurs in the graphic below.
3. Most of Our Industry is Invisible
90% of our entrepreneurs identify as "pre-seed" or "bootstrapped." On the face of it, all that means is that these startups have not raised any venture or institutional money and are self-funded or funded by friends and family. This also means that almost all of our northern beaches innovation industry is largely invisible to the funding ecosystem - they won't show up on Venture Capital funding databases. That hasn't stopped several dozen of the entrepreneurs we've helped to kickstart their venture with external funding.
4. We learned how incredibly hard it is securing Government support
A point of great frustration is that we have so far been unable to convince Government at Local, State, or Federal levels, to financially support the work we do. The exception to that has been a handful of Grants that we applied for to fund specific projects, such as our work with migrants, veterans, women, SMEs, and young people. A couple of senior people in Northern Beaches Council helped us to have a base at Seaforth Village Community Centre. We vacated that space on June 30th.
5. The BIGGEST thrill of the past four years has been the program we deliver for NSW Education
We're now in our third year of delivering the program to year 9, 10, and 11 students on behalf of NSW Education. The impact has been overwhelmingly positive and the 2023 plans are for a major expansion. There's loads of material that documents the impact on students and teachers. Here's a 5-minute video summary of 2022. We'll have a further update on this program soon with news of a presentation competition for students from five high schools with $6,000 in prize money courtesy of sponsorship from Finclear. Watch the video below for a summary of Enterprise in the Community in 2022.
Analysis of Founders SEVENmile Has Supported During 2018-2022
We Vacated the Seaforth Village Co-Work Space
The co-work space that had operated since April 2020 was vacated on June 30, 2022. We were down to one co-worker and could not continue to subsidize the rent of $1,000 per month that we paid to Northern Beaches Council. Council requested that we vacate the space by June 30. It was unfortunate that we had to close off that chapter of our story.
Northern Beaches Council, Arts and Creativity Grant
In November we were notified that our Grant application to support the launch of Publishers Studio was approved. This Grant is from Northern Beaches Council, Arts and Creativity Program for 2021-2022. Our Grant application project description was, "Publishers Studio is where creative young writers hone their craft and where young people can publish their writing. The aim is to help young writers improve their creativity, communication, and soft skills, find and grow their audience, whilst connecting readers with the stories they most care about, and enrich cultural diversity on the Northern Beaches".
This project launched in March 2022.
Enterprise in the Community - NSW Education
Our work teaching high school students about life and entrepreneurship skills continued throughout 2022. The 2020 pilot was a great success for everyone involved, including our program sponsor, NSW Education. Watch the video below for an overview of the program.
SEVENmile and Skills Studio was shortlisted for the Wharton College Reimagine Education awards for 2022 that was held Dec 5-8 2022 in Philadelphia. We didn't win our category of Lifelong Learning, but we were thrilled to be shortlisted. The winner of our category was an Australian University.
We believe that our collaborative approach can accelerate transformation in all education systems. The current challenge is that many systems are struggling to adapt new solutions to their current frameworks. By providing professional development and direct working opportunities with education innovators, future demands can be met collaboratively. SEVENmile wants to be the link between education providers and innovators. As we have been delivering our school program, it often feels that innovative work done in hundreds of classrooms is not visible enough, and the resourcing does not come directly to these actors. We hope to work even more to solve this challenge during the coming years so that every student can flourish, no matter what happens.
Someone very famous once said, "Don't die wondering." Let's find out together just how amazing you really are.
Our very best wishes to you and your family for a safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to seeing you in 2023.