Working in the service of Innovation, StartSomeGood – ANZIA winner 2015

2 March 2016

Following the our Internet awards gala in Auckland last year, we've been interviewing award recipients in both Australia and New Zealand, to capture insights into how winning an ANZIA has impacted their business/organisation. Here is the first in our interviews with a 2015 Australian winner - under the Innovation category - Tom Dawkins founder of StartSomeGood.

A little bit about the founder himself
Tom Dawkins is co-Founder and CEO of StartSomeGood, a crowdfunding platform for social benefit projects. He was previously the founder of Australian youth non-profit Vibewire, the first Social Media Director at Ashoka in Washington DC and the founding Director of the Australian Changemakers Festival.

Tom has organised dance parties and film festivals, youth journalism projects and new media conferences, co-working spaces and Burning Man theme camps. Tom has also supported numerous non-profits, governments and arts organisations to build community, using technology and culture. Tom and StartSomeGood have been recognised with awards and fellowships from the World Summit Youth Awards, The International Youth Foundation, Nexus Australia, the Social Enterprise Awards and the Australia & New Zealand Internet Awards (ANZIA).

What is StartSomeGood?
StartSomeGood is a crowdfunding platform dedicated to supporting community benefit projects. We work with social enterprises, non-profits and community groups to rally the community and raise the funds they need to make a difference. We have so far helped over 600 groups raise $6 million and we have one of the highest success rates in crowdfunding.

What does it mean for you to be recognised with this (ANZIA) award?
It’s a huge (and unexpected!) honour! We were founded specifically to promote more innovation in the social sector so to win an Innovation Award is very validating and inspiring. I wrote a blog post at the time reflecting on what it meant to us. Here’s some of what I wrote:

“Crowdfunding is an incredible tool for bringing together an early group of passionate supporters to allow new projects, enterprises and approaches to launch, try something different, and prove that their idea can work.  Unlike many traditional funders crowdfunding supporters are hungry for new ideas and new possibilities. They are prepared to back unproven changemakers who present a credible plan and a lot of determination; they want to help make things happen.

Whether that’s open source mapping in Nepalsupporting asylum seekers through social enterprise in Australiatackling poaching in Africa or providing medical services to underserved communities in the US, we need new approaches to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of this century. We are so proud to have supported incredible social innovators in 30 countries so far (including Australia and New Zealand of course!) who are stepping up to make a difference.

It’s nice to be considered innovative ourselves but more deeply than that we exist to work in the service of innovation. So this award is not just for us, it’s for the innovators, dreamers, entrepreneurs, activists, community builders and storytellers who have used our platform to bring new things into being. Thank you all for giving us the opportunity to work with you.”

You can read the whole thing here.

What do you plan to do with your new found fame?
Just keep hustlin!

As a social enterprise startup we’re up against some large competitors but we know we’re the best at helping social benefit projects to crowdfund successfully – it’s just a matter of spreading the word! Awards like this help increase awareness of our platform and mission, so we’re very grateful for it.

Would you recommend the Awards programme to others? If so, why? 
Definitely! The increased awareness is great, the validation is inspiring for the whole team and the event itself was delightful. It was especially great to meet the other award-winners and finalists.

What are your future plans with the project? 
This year is all about growth for us, having just launched the new version of our platform in December. The new site is a huge step up in terms of design, performance and functionality so now it’s all about introducing it to more people so they can give it a try!

We are also focused on growing the number of Crowdmatch partnerships, which see funding partners co-invest alongside the “crowd.” We have a number of great opportunities coming up this year, including two rounds of ING DIRECT’s Dreamstarter, with applications opening for the first round in February (more information: https://www.campaigns.ingdirect.com.au/dreamstarter), our worlds-first collaboration with impact investor SEFA (more information: http://opportunities.startsomegood.com/sefacrowdmatch/) and our partnership with the City of Fremantle to spotlight local sustainability projects (more information:http://opportunities.startsomegood.com/freomatch/)

We really appreciate auDA and InternetNZ support and hope to work more closely with you to promote innovation in 2016!