Social Impact Report 2020

Back Her Brilliance

Incredible things happen when you back women. When women are given skills, connections and support they so often miss out on, there is no stopping them. They break down barriers, force change and move us all on. They start-up and grow businesses, lift up communities, and make the economy a more equal, more inclusive place. All these women need is the same backing given to everyone else. Global Sisters: Back her brilliance.

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Business
Acumen

Enterprise

Financial
Wellbeing

Empowerment

Influence

Connection

Social Impact at Global Sisters

Framework & Methodology

Social Impact at Global Sisters

Making Business Possible

We make business possible, unlocking the potential in every woman to own her economic future. Global Sisters provides a long-term ‘roadmap’ of support to help women generate a business idea, put the foundations in place, launch and grow the business. We provide no-cost business education, incubate and accelerate programs, microfinance and networks over a 3 year period.

Sister Roadmap

When Global Sisters launched operations in early 2016, there was a clear identified need: women across Australia were being excluded from economic participation, and an opportunity for financial independence, because of their circumstances and systemic, structural barriers. Business and entrepreneurship were largely not even on the table as an option for our Sisters and we set out to make business possible for them.

In our first iteration of the model – Global Sisters 1.0 – we designed and delivered a place-based, face-to-face program, and in doing so, refined our understanding of the barriers and needs of our Sisters. In this start-up phase, we implemented effective solutions that created impact across 5 regions of Australia. As of Q1 2020, we’ve reached over 1357 women, with over 850 Sisters participating in our educational activities. There have been 216 new businesses launched as a result of Global Sisters.

Through the start up period (2016 – 2019) we learnt a lot around the specific needs of our target cohort, the program model and how to create impact and the requirements for scale. We intentionally limited our scale in this phase whilst we validated the need and refined the effectiveness of our programs and impact.

In 2020 we launched Global Sisters 2.0 – this new strategy and model is focused on a digiblend that is enabling us to reach and impact women across Australia.

The numbers and stories of change featured in this report capture the entire impact of our first model, from 2016 – the beginning of 2020 and a new digital era.

1357

women, with over 850 Sisters participating in our education activities

Global Sisters Impact as of Q1 2020

Starting point for women

55

women are ‘discouraged job seekers’, ABS

250

Single Mums are on parenting payments, DSS

350

or 48% of Newstart Allowance recipients are women, DSS

1.4

million women are financially excluded, CSI/NAB

Global Sisters operates in Australia where, despite being  a high income country, there is increasing income inequality, child poverty rates, single mum headed households and older women without superannuation or assets and at risk of homelessness. Our welfare system is broken and counter-productive. It was designed for a different era, is punitive and not achieving welfare to work outcomes. Women are being pushed into low paid, unstable employment that does not recognise their circumstances or provide the opportunity for long term financial sustainability.  Self-employment is given minimum consideration in federal employment policy and strategy.  When women are given skills, connections and support they so often miss out on, there is no  stopping them. They break down barriers, force change and move us all on. They start-up and grow businesses, lift up communities, and make the economy a more equal, more inclusive place.

Incredible things happen when you #BackHerBrilliance

1.8

million under / unemployed and only 250,000 jobs available nationally

(Katy Gallagher, Australian Government)

All these women need is the same backing given to everyone else

In 2019 we undertook research directed at understanding the barriers and opportunities that exist for two specific cohorts of women in Australia – Women aged over 50 years and single mothers. Here is a snapshot of some of the findings – for more insight on the research to date please read our two research papers.

Single Mothers

  • Single mothers engaged in Welfare to Work programs are typically placed in low-paid and precarious jobs that afford little immediate or long-term financial security however there is also a lack of recognition in policy of the personal and structural barriers to sustainable employment experienced by single mothers. This includes the need for paid work that will offer immediate and long-term financial security and the flexibility to meet their children’s needs.
  • One in five Australian families are headed by single parents and the clear majority (83 per cent) of these are women
  • 32 per cent of single parent households now live in poverty – up by six per cent since 2011.
  • 56 per cent of single mothers with dependent children are in paid work. However, they are likely to be employed in low skilled, low paid and unstable jobs.
  • Employment of single parents generally increases with the age of the youngest child, from 40 percent when the youngest child is eight years old to 76 per cent when the youngest is aged 15-24.
  • A massive 59 per cent of single parents with dependent children who rely on government assistance as their main source of income live in poverty – up by 24 per cent since 2013.
  • 39 per cent of children from single parent families live in poverty, compared with 13 per cent of children in coupled families.
Download Research Paper

Australian Women aged over 50

  • Women’s superannuation balances are grossly insufficient due to breaks in paid work during the prime reproductive and child-raising years
  • The average length of time job seeking for those unemployed over 55 was 68 weeks, largely due to age discrimination and a false set of beliefs that this age group is ‘out of touch’ or unskilled.
  • Women over 65 are the fastest-growing homeless demographic
  • Informal (unpaid) care is at its peak for women in the 55 – 64 age group with just under 25% of women in this age group participating in unpaid care
  • Dominant industries in 2017 for women are Health Care and Social Assistance, Education and Training and Retail Trade which are some of the lowest-paid sectors that also rely on shift work or hours that are not family-friendly.
Download Research Paper

The Real Life Barriers for our Sisters

Global Sisters is committed to understanding the real life barriers that women believe are holding them back from pursuing business as an option. Our Sisters report that confidence (67%), financial support (56.16%) and limited understanding of how to navigate self-employment (44%) were the biggest barriers to them. Other significant barriers women raised included “no training or idea of where to start”, “no support from those around me”, “feeling isolated” and “no resources”.

67

Confidence

56.16

Financial support

44

Help to navigate self-employment

Comparatively, when asked what top three things that encouraged them to explore self-employment or launching a business the highest response were ‘Having a flexible option for income generation’ (53.42%), ‘being more available to family/dependants’ (49.32%), and ‘curiosity – self-motivation’ which 45.29%. The top two answers are interwoven, showing that the women are prioritising their need to take responsibility for more than one area of their life, such as their caring roles and need to be able to generate income either through paid employment or self-employment.

53.42

Flexible income generation

49.32

Being available to family

45.29

Curiosity & self-motivation

“I had around 30 business ideas and didn’t know which direction to follow. However through the Sister School process I Identified the areas that I was interested in and good at, with a gap in the market which excited me. I didn’t know and couldn’t find the direction myself, but the process smoothed the way for me. I discovered who I am”

Jo Diver, Owner of The Backyard Enthusiast

Our Impact To Date

In our first iteration of the model – Global Sisters 1.0 – we designed and delivered a place-based, face-to-face program, and in doing so, refined our understanding of the barriers and needs of our Sisters. In this start-up phase, we implemented effective solutions that created impact across 5 regions of Australia. 

The impact of our Global Sisters model 1.0 is:

Sisters

1357 Women impacted
692 participants in My Big Idea, our business ideation program
504 Sister School graduates, our business education program
952 women participated in our education activities

Businesses

219 Businesses selling
158 New businesses that have launched as a result of Global Sisters support

Communities & Business Ecosystem

203 registered business coaches
50 business coaching sessions x multiple Sisters

Partnership and Coaching Impact

Partnership is a core value within Global Sisters and essential to our operations. We see the impact of the organisation as twofold. The input of time, resources and knowledge, and the output for sisters. The outcomes of investing in building our community are the connections sisters make, along with bringing together the broader business community as they contribute to broader social change, beyond their own business and expertise. This is what makes our organisation unique. Valuing both ends of the partnership.

To date:

1,722,997

Received in pro bono support for the Global Sisters organisation, and our Sisters individually

203

Pro bono coaches currently on the Global Sisters database

50

Coaching sessions happening with individual or multiple sisters (as of March 2020)

Significant support partners who have championed this are; T2/ Unilever, Clemenger, Berger Ingredients, Cristina Re, Myer, Maddocks, Winky Farm, Social Media Success Academy and AMP.

To experience a taste of the event please watch the Melbourne Event here:

697

dollars pledged in pro bono services

10

dollars spent on Sister products at the Sister Pitch Markets

61

dollars in growth funding was raised

Framework & Methodology

Our Framework & Methodology

“The success of Global Sisters is based on the real-life impact it enables in women’s lives. As an organisation we need to be able to see and know that change is happening, and accurately attribute those changes to our programs and tailored support. Once we are able to measure this impact, the best part is watching the stories unfold, and our bigger story, which is every day we see women across Australia moving forward in their lives, backed in their brilliance”.

Mel Harwin, Head of Social Impact and Community

Theory of Change

Social change happens at many levels. Global Sisters believes that positive change for women, their families and their communities comes out of simultaneous and complementary changes at three levels. Within the Sister themselves, within their household and within their community. The diagram visually depicts these levels of change. The Global Sisters Theory of Change is a logical framework that sets out the interventions that are expected to lead to specific short term outcomes (outputs) and longer-term outcomes (lasting change).

The problem

Global Sisters operates in a high-income country with increasing; income inequality, child poverty rates, single mum headed households and older women- without superannuation or assets, and increasingly at risk of homelessness. Our welfare system was designed for a different era, is punitive and not achieving welfare to work outcomes. Women are being pushed into low paid, unstable employment that does not recognise their circumstances or provide the opportunity for long-term financial sustainability. Self-employment is given minimum consideration in federal employment policy and strategy.

Global Sisters solution and theory of change

Global Sisters exists to make business possible for all women and to create a world where every woman is provided the opportunity to build her own economic future.

Direct Impact

Individual, Family & Community Change

Australian women, especially single mums and women over 50 need sufficient, stable income and access to decent, dignified work that fits in with their personal circumstances and addresses structural barriers. As a society, we need to prevent and break the cycle of family-based poverty.

Who

Single mothers, carers, and women 50+

Women who face structural barriers to employment

How

We measure this direct impact through data collection and analysis, connected to our updated (2020) Social Impact Framework and Theory of Change.

Increasingly women report that a significant outcome of Global Sisters for them is the community it creates, generates and allows women to contribute to.  With social isolation being one of the biggest barriers to women pursuing business as an alternative to mainstream employment, creating community and connection for women remains a programming priority to Global Sisters.

Change

Women finding economic freedom through self-employment

Immediate, short term outputs

  • Increased business acumen and skills, & entrepreneurial abilities.
  • Increased # of women-led business start-ups trading.

Intermediate outcomes

  • Increased viability of businesses.
  • Increased financial resilience.
  • Increased sense of purpose & confidence.

Impact: Long term outcomes

  • Economic freedom: women are self-employed and earning their own income.
  • Self-determination: women have freedom to make choices and have agency over their lives.

Business
Acumen

Enterprise

Financial
Wellbeing

Empowerment

Influence

Connection

Impact Levels & Domains

Change happens at many levels

Global Sisters believes that positive change for women, and their communities, comes out of simultaneous and complementary changes at three levels. Within the Sister themselves, within their household and within their community.

Domains of change

When Sisters have the business acumen, confidence, connections, skills and opportunity to learn safely and in the right environment, are listened to, healthy and safe, and given opportunities both financially and in-kind they thrive.

When those in their household are enabled to live in a safe, engaged, informed and healthy way they can partner with their greater community and, together, flourish. Likewise, cohesive and enabled communities can support households and women at an individual and collective level.

All these levels make up important components to create sustainable impact. That is why Global Sisters works across individual, household and community levels to achieve change.


The Sisters we work with are important partners in creating positive change for themselves and their communities.

National & International Comparisons

Our indicators are both sister centric, and internationally comparable. We have a series of indicators which will allow our team and Sisters to track progress, against their own intended outputs and outcomes and also our broader intended ones. These selected indicators also allow for the  aggregation of data to be able to tell our organisational  impact story and see the contribution Global Sisters in making to the Sustainable Development Goals, Financial Capability of Australian women and appropriate OECD DAC measurement indicators to evaluate the effectiveness, appropriateness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of our programs:

SDG Goal 1: No Poverty

Global Sisters relevant indicators:
Indicator 1.2.1: Proportion of population living below the national poverty line, by sex and age
Indicator 1.2.2: Proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

SDG Goal 4: Quality Education

Global Sisters relevant indicators:
Indicator 4.3.1: Participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the last 12 months, by sex
Indicator 4.4.1: Proportion of youth and adults with information and communications technology (ICT) skills, by type of skill
Indicator 4.5.1: Parity indices (female/male, rural/urban, bottom/top wealth quintile and others such as disability status, indigenous peoples and conflict-affected, as data become available) for all education indicators on this list that can be disaggregated
Indicator 4.3.1: Participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the last 12 months, by sex
Indicator 4.4.1: Proportion of youth and adults with information and communications technology (ICT) skills, by type of skill
Indicator 4.7.1: Extent to which (I) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in: (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment

SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality

Global Sisters relevant indicators:
Indicator 5.4.1: Percentage of time spent on unpaid domestic and care work, by sex, age and location
Indicator 5.5.2: Proportion of women in managerial positions
Indicator 5.c.1: Proportion of countries with systems to track and make public allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic

Global Sisters relevant indicators:
Indicator 8.3.1: Proportion of informal employment in non-agriculture employment, by sex
Indicator 8.5.1: Average hourly earnings of female and male employees, by occupation, age and persons with disabilities
Indicator 8.5.2: Unemployment rate, by sex, age and persons with disabilities

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Global Sisters relevant indicators:
Indicator 10.1.1: Growth rates of household expenditure or income per capita among the bottom 40 per cent of the population and the total population
Indicator 10.2.1: Proportion of people living below 50 per cent of median income, by age, sex, and persons with disabilities
Indicator 10.4.1: Labor share of GDP, comprising wages and social protection transfers

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Global Sisters relevant indicators:
Indicator 12.8.1: Extent to which (I) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development (including climate change education) are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment

Business Development Principles & Approach

Inclusive and Gendered

Women experience gender specific barriers to economic participation, decent work and business start up. Isolation, structural exclusion and lack of networks are barriers to women’s participation in entrepreneurship. Other providers in the ecosystem typically support one target group (ie refugees or Indigenous people) and primarily in urban areas – this only serves to further isolate, exclude and limit. We support all women who need our support, and in doing so are building a more connected and inclusive community. We apply a gender lens to our model and program design. We focus exclusively on women as confident women become agents of change, creating a better society for us all. Global Sisters wants to have the greatest impact possible in breaking generational poverty.

Confidence

Confidence and developing self-belief are the scaffolding that underpins all our programs. Confidence is the starting block for Sisters to be able to begin a business journey. Global Sisters builds women’s confidence from the very first interactions at My Big Idea, and continues to develop their self-belief over our “roadmap” of long term support.

Connection & Networks

Many Sisters are socially isolated. The heart of Global Sisters is connection and our community. Business cannot succeed without connection and backing. The networks and connections that mainstream entrepreneurs take for granted are intentionally created for Sisters, locally and nationally. Global Sisters facilitates the transfer of value from established businesses to those emerging in the form of time, knowledge, networks, services & sales.

Cost (fully subsidised)

Global Sisters is the only national, fully subsidised, long-term (roadmap) program for women. Whilst we expect Sisters to contribute via ‘sweat equity’ and our community, keeping the cost fully subsidised enables participation. We work to enable affordable business solutions through partnerships so that Sister businesses can move forward (ie Insurance).

Physical Accessibility & Flexible Delivery

Geographic location, transport availability and cost, disability and carer responsibilities limit women’s accessibility to business support. Due to the diversity of Sisters and their circumstances, a flexible delivery model is essential for national accessibility and impact. To this end, Global Sisters will be offering both place based, blended digital and digital programs that work around women’s circumstances.

Our place based model is adaptable to urban and regional contexts, and operating regionally is a priority for Global Sisters.

Tech & Finance Access, Literacy & Capability

Technology access and capability is critical to business development and is built into our delivery model and all our program interventions. Financial access, literacy and capability are critical foundations to business creation and self-employment. In order to make business possible for women in Australia, we also need to make sure they have the financial knowledge, skills and confidence, to apply them in their personal and business finances. Like tech capability, this is integrated into our model and programs and embedded in our social impact measurement.

Community Lift

Our place based approach intends to not only lift individual women but sees their contributions and value in the context of the whole community. A tipping point of women led businesses in a community can create community lift.
We tackle the problem from two angles: directly with women and their communities and the structural/ systemic issues as the root cause. Our policy change/ advocacy work is aiming to address the barriers to participation including structural and regulatory issues around Government welfare and the disincentives to entrepreneurship. We believe that this will have a significant impact on solving the problem and lifting our whole community.

Global Sisters believes in business done differently; business that is sustainable, good for people & planet and kind to animals. We encourage circular economies, ethical procurement, collaborations and “give back” programs built into Sister businesses. Creation of good businesses leads to community lift.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Framework

As the implementation of our Global Sisters 2.0  model kicks off, so does our supporting Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Framework (MEAL). During 2019 as we began to build and pilot our new strategy, the team at Global Sisters also took some time to evaluate and learn about our impact and impact measurement system to date. Our framework and program logic for 2020-2024 now includes six Domains of Change. We have three levels of program outputs and outcomes for each stage of the roadmap where we will be tracking and mapping change to.

Hierarchy of Impact

Below is our Hierarchy of Impact for sisters as they complete each of the programs (phase) of their sister journey. It illustrates the immediate changes we can expect to see, then onto those we would expect to see within 1-6 months, and lastly the changes that happen from 6 months onwards.

Business Education

Business Education includes the three main activities facilitated by the Global Sisters team for sisters – My Big Idea, The Business Idea Check in  and Sister School.

Immediate Outputs

Sisters are supported and accessing the skills and resources they need to launch their business

Sisters are connected with the Global Sisters community

Sisters are hopeful about the profit and success of their business and trust their idea

Sisters have a business model/plan to move forward

Sisters have increased business knowledge and acumen

Sisters see business/self-employment as a genuine possibility

Short Term Outcomes

Sisters are able to set up an online and/or physical shop/sales channel

Sisters can clearly articulate the problem their business is solving

Sisters are able to clearly identify where they can access support/help for their business

Sisters have a clear business model and can see where they can make profit

Sisters are ready and able to launch their business

Long Term Outcomes

Sisters have increased self-worth

Sisters have increase confidence – as business owners/women

Sisters have tested their pricing and looking at pricing alternatives

Sisters have additional income to provide for their families/themselves

Sisters are accessing Global Sisters tools and resources, and are active in the Global Sisters community (online or place-based)

Sisters are taking new skills into gaining employment or further education/training

Impact across our Outcome Areas

Biggest barriers for our Sisters

67

Confidence

56.16

Financial support

44

Help to navigate self-employment

When asked to reflect on the biggest barriers to exploring self-employment in the past, our recent survey indicated the top three responses were confidence (67%), finance (56.16%) and lack of understanding how to navigate self-employment (44%) indicating a combination of all ingredients to being an entrepreneur; self-belief, financial backing and business understanding.

A Global Sisters Solution

Global Sisters creates Sister impact by providing a ‘roadmap’ of long term support. Sisters can access the support they need specific to where they are, and what their needs are:

● Business education for women at the pre idea, idea, and setup stage
● Incubate support for women at setup, launch and early startup stage
● Accelerate support for women at late start-up and growth stage

Each of the three programs offers a menu of activities and support the women can access:

● My Big Idea and Sister School Business Education
● Momentum Coaching
● First Ten customers program
● 90-day planning and goal sessions
● Facebook Live Training Events
● Industry-specific Coaching
● Business finance and insurance*

* insurance coming via a partner in 2020

We measure the impact of these activities as the sister navigates through the ‘roadmap’.

Business
Education

70

of Sisters attribute starting up their own business to the program and support of Global Sisters Business Education

Entrepreneurial Perceptions

66

of Sisters graduate from Sister School strongly agreeing or agreeing that they now have new knowledge and skills to do business well

Business Practices

79

of Sisters graduate from Sister School with a completed business canvas or plan

Business Networking

84

of Sisters know that Global Sisters helps you access business networks and opportunities such as Sister-Tribe & Business Coaching

“They turned a thought into an idea into a dream that’s going to become a reality! They give me motivation, belief, confidence and many skills!”

Current Stage of Business

Pre-Idea

“I’m interested to see if business is something I would like to explore”

0

Idea

“I have found a business solution to my customers’ problem – and this idea could really work!”

2

Set-up

“My idea has been further developed and I am ready to make some sales”

6

Launch

“I have my first 10 customers, I have chosen a business model & I know I can make a profit”

37

Start-up

“My business is on the path to breaking even. Access to experts & networks will help me achieve my goals”

39

Growth

“I’m the proud owner of a profitable business that’s helping me achieve my goals”

16

As of Q1 2020, the Sisters currently engaged with Global Sisters were at various business stages, with the majority in Launch and Start Up stage. In 2019, 86% of our Sisters started their journey with us at the Pre Idea or Idea stage. Given this, we can see that there is a rapid progression to incubating the businesses. Supporting Sisters to accelerate the businesses to Growth stage is, as anticipated, taking time.

*weekly income around $400 per week for individual or $800 per week for family **(weekly income greater than $600 per week for individual or $1200 per week for household)

Types of Business

Product

Product & Service

Service

Diverse Businesses

There is no one way women do business and no one business type. Global Sisters supports women in all different sectors:

34

Food & Beverage

23

Clothing & Accessories

23

Training, Educating & Consulting

11

Health, Beauty, Cosmetic

7

Domestic, Landscaping & Gardening Services

2

Apps, STEM & Tech

How Active are the Sisters

Graduates of Sister School are working in or on their business varying hours per week:

16

Spend 32 + hours

18

Spend 16-32 hours

16

Spend 8-16 hours

19

Spend 4-8 hours

7

Spend 2-4 hours

Independence & Resilience

Global Sisters want to ensure our Sisters have increased their own ability to save, access additional income, insurance and loans. Our long term goal is to see women out of the welfare cycle and maintaining a reliable full time or supplement income stream for themselves. As a direct result of our programs, we expect Sisters will have gained some of the following; professional skills for employment, achieved their first sales in their business, be self-employed, have increased their income, have a business that is moving from startup to growth, have financial resilience, a sustained income being generated, and their social capital is increasing.

Our organisation is primarily working with women who are considered to be experiencing severe financial stress and vulnerability.

64

of Sisters are receiving Centrelink payments or are unemployed / underemployed when they first engaged with Global Sisters

When surveyed during the Sister Chats, over half the Sisters (58%) reported a belief that they see their business as a source of financial independence. Both the ability to create this for themselves, and the self-belief that it is possible, supports outcome achievement for both financial resilience and empowerment.

For 42% of Sisters, the goal or belief was that the business would be a supplement to their income, reflecting the different reasons why Sisters set up businesses. Connection, community, flexible and meaningful work are being identified by Sisters as significant motivators for business creation.

Financial Independence

Supplement

For Sisters who want to be financially independent the journey is a long term one. As identified in the Enterprise section, typically we see a business incubation period of between 6 – 18 months and business acceleration from the 18 month – 2 years mark. Whilst we do not have the long term data available yet, the trajectory is that it will be a minimum of 3 years before 100% of their income comes from the business, and longer before it becomes a sustainable source of income that impacts their financial resilience.

Headway is being made in ensuring Sisters have access to fair, affordable financial products and services that contribute to their financial resilience. In addition to the business loans Global Sisters offers, we have listened to Sisters who have overwhelmingly said that their primary financial need in their business is insurance. Global Sisters has partnered with Suncorp to develop Australia’s first microinsurance product specifically for Sisters. It is expected that the product will be made available to Sisters in mid 2020.

“I do want it to be my only source of income, to get off Centrelink and start to give back & support my kids. I see the business as a 3 year goal”.

Brisbane based Sister, founder of a social enterprise

Income Doubled

Our Sisters have more than doubled their weekly income since being involved with Global Sisters

Before Global Sisters

155

Average weekly supplementary income earned by our Sisters

With Global Sisters help

360

Average weekly income of Sisters currently involved in our Incubate & Accelerate programs

“Yes, I do [see business the business as becoming source of financial independence]…I have to.

Next year I’ll be 60 and I don’t know how long I’ll have but its very important to me that I am able to support myself through this next decade.

Being assessed by the Department of Housing and being told I am at high risk of homelessness is really scary.”

Brisbane based Sister, Founder of a health and wellness business

196

Women reached through Global Sisters Programs

137

My Big Idea participants

62

Sister School participants

34

Current active businesses

28

New businesses as a result of Global Sisters

Empowerment

Empowerment

Global Sisters believes to be empowered is to ‘stand tall’. It’s when a woman can confidently say, “I see myself as a real businesswoman, with dignity, opportunity, freedom and choices”.

Empowerment is an over-used word that is complex, multi-layered and extends far beyond self-confidence and self-belief. But it is the best word to describe women when they are standing tall, challenging societal discrimination, able to make strong, informed choices for a better future, are free from oppression/ violence and feel they are in a position to ‘give back’ to others.

We measure Empowerment by tracking changes in entrepreneurial self-efficacy and perceptions as well as willingness to assert oneself. “It has given me the opportunity to express myself for the first time in my life.” – Brisbane Sister

“Global Sisters helps me stand tall, stand like a woman”

Tigi, Sydney Sister, at the session where Global Sisters developed our social impact framework.

Standing Tall

Empowerment is not an easy thing to define and measure, but that is what Global Sisters is attempting to do.

We define empowerment of Sisters when they are:

  • “standing tall”
  • challenging societal gender discrimination
  • able to make strong, informed choices for a better future
  • in a position to ‘give back’ to others

Over time we are tracking changes in women’s empowerment, with evidence of change from our very first interactions with Sisters in the My Big Idea program.

In creating a space, which is contextualised to women through location and content they walk away already feeling supported and often with a sense of value and significance.

Lack of confidence and self-belief is a major barrier to business start-up and growth for many women. Particularly those who are; unemployed, single mums, women who have experienced trauma and violence, retrenched at 50+, or returning to work after a period of caring for young children. The changes we expect to see for Sisters as a result of being involved in Global Sisters are that they are clearly demonstrating to our community that being a businesswoman is possible, they have increased self-awareness and efficacy and they report an increased sense of purpose and confidence.

Improvements in confidence and self-belief

The most significant change Sisters reported to date on their journey with Global Sisters is improvements in confidence and self-belief.

When asked the top three areas whereby they felt Global Sisters had impacted their life and business, the responses were evidently related to empowerment and connection:

60

Inspiring and giving me hope

54

Building my confidence

54

Connecting me to a community of women

Almost half our sisters report that Global Sisters biggest impact has been:

44

Taking the steps to launch my own business

43

Courage to continue in a business

“Even though I come from a family of business people, I must be the only one in my family who has no business confidence. And I couldn’t go to anyone in my family for help because I’m just supposed to know.


My community is very business orientated and coming to Global Sisters was the best thing for me- and I’ll probably never leave this environment because its really inspiring and really does help and motivate people to actually get up and do something even when they feel they can’t do it”.

Sheefa, Brisbane Sister, Catering & events

“Zen Tea Lounge supports local migrant women, mainly from Vietnamese and Chinese backgrounds. They are dealing with the repercussions of Domestic Violence and, lack the knowledge about where to get support”.

Amy Nguyen, Zen Tea Lounge

Amy’s journey

Amy is a single mum of two children, and a business owner. She is passionate about mental health, self-belief, and job opportunities for women. That is the legacy she wants to leave. Amy embodies resilience – After escaping a communist government in Vietnam, when she was two years old, she grew up as a refugee in Western Sydney.

Amy is a naturally positive and passionate person, who cares for the women in her community. After suffering Post Natal Depression Amy found that practising tea meditation helped with her mental health. After initially launching online, she has now launched a store in Smithfield, Sydney.

“ Zen Tea Lounge supports local migrant women, mainly from Vietnamese and Chinese backgrounds.  They are dealing with the repercussions of Domestic Violence and, lack the  knowledge about where to get support. I began really understanding this issue after going to mothers groups myself, I kept seeing the same issues amongst these migrant women… Tea meditation really helped my mental health. Tea- it’s so much more than that. It’s tea meditation and empowerment and working around women and their needs. I started my business  2 years ago, after graduating from a sister school. First I started an online tea shop. I know what my vision for my business is and it’s so rewarding to build it, from gardening the ingredients for the food I serve at the tea house to the local migrant women I employ to help them get greater opportunities”

Zen Tea House employs local migrant women who have no commercial kitchen experience. They provide on the job training, with the intent of giving women new skills they can take with them to create further opportunities.  By employing migrant women, Amy is proud of the financial independence they gain through working in her business.

Sister Case Study: Jo-Ann

Jo from Goanna Hut, a Sydney based aboriginal chef. She is the sole provider for her 3 children and husband. One of Jo’s children lives with a disability and her husband lives with a  chronic mental illness. Through an opportunity arising out of Global Sisters, Jo has just received a significant order from T2 ($90k+) to stock her native teas nationally. T2 will also promote her business to their multimillion tea club readership.

Jo’s casual employment working for the contract company providing Qantas meals is at great risk and she has already had two catering jobs for Goanna Hut each worth $2000 cancelled. NAIDOC Week, her annual primary catering income earner has also just been postponed.  To have these connections with T2, at such a time will be life-saving for her and her family. Global Sisters recently connected Jo to professional product photography along with specialised pro bono marketing support and support around developing a stunning Instagram page.

Download Jo-Ann's Story

Watch Jo-Ann's Sister Pitch Video