Dreamstarter candidate Lauren Shuttleworth aims to inspire social change through Words With Heart – an eco-friendly stationery brand that donates 50% of profits to women’s and girls’ education projects.
Lauren, how did the idea for Words With Heart come about?
The idea for Words With Heart came about while I was at the airport (where all good ideas happen!)
I stopped at a stationery store to buy a notebook before boarding my flight, and as I was browsing the shelves I came across a girls notebook that had the phrase ‘Boys, heels, blogs – let’s get back to the basics’ written on the cover. It made me pretty mad to think that this kind of messaging was being marketed to girls and young women – especially on a school notebook!
At the same time I was looking for a sustainable way to contribute to charities like Care Australia and One Girl doing great work in women’s and girls’ education. After my Mum, a school teacher, passed away suddenly a couple of years ago, I spent some time volunteering at school in Kenya. There was a girl in my class – her name was Esther – who was really determined and clever, but the orphanage where she lived was struggling to pay her school fees. I donated the cost of the fees for Esther and her brother, but I worried about what would happen the next year, and the year after. And of course, there are so many other girls and young women just like Esther all over the world, who can’t afford an education or skills training. My Mum strongly believed that every child has the right to an education, and I guess she passed that on to me.
What would you like to achieve in the long term with Words With Heart?
I’m focused on what we can achieve with our impact across the environment, women’s and girls’ education and promoting equality. And obviously, the more stationery we sell, the bigger impact we can have – so growing Words With Heart into a strong social enterprise is the main goal!
I graduated from the School of Social Entrepreneurs this year and am now part of the Impact Academy – an accelerator program for social enterprises which focuses on doing just that. I want to grow our eco-friendly product range, build up our ecommerce store, and establish relationships with some great retail stockists.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to chase their dreams and start a social enterprise?
Push through the challenges. At times it may feel like there is so much on your plate, or that you don’t know where to start with a problem. But stay focused on your passion and the change you want to see. Keep chipping away at each little thing, and you will get there.
ING DIRECT’s Dreamstarter initiative provides funding support to selected StartSomeGood campaigns and helps Australia’s most inspiring go-getters make a positive change in Australian communities. To find out more about the program visit ingdirect.com.au/dreamstarter
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