A professional couple who pondered how to use their personal wealth are helping rural communities in Uganda and refugees who have emigrated to New Zealand.
At the end of last year, Hamilton husband and wife Rod and Heather Claycomb launched the All Good Ventures partnership, which supports those who have a social conscience and good business idea to get started.
“We help entrepreneurs whose business idea will funnel business profits into a cause or community that frees people from deprivation,” they say.
The partnership provides ‘seed funding’ of between $5000 and $30,000 together with mentoring and volunteers when necessary.
Morningside Urban Market Garden
The first venture it’s supporting is the Morningside Urban Market Garden (MUMG) in Auckland. This social enterprise will develop business, gardening and English skills among women of migrant and refugee backgrounds.
These women come from throughout the world, including African and Middle Eastern countries. They’ll grow organic, local micro greens and edible flowers in a community garden being established at a former bowling green. Local cafes will buy the produce and profits will be re-invested into the garden project.
Rod says the women will hone existing gardening skills and have a chance to practise their English. “So by the time they finish the programme they’ll have extra skills they can transfer to other career opportunities in future,” he added.
The Claycombs explain that such women are often constrained by a lack of English and can’t find jobs, even when they have valuable qualifications and experience gained in their home countries.
For instance, a married Afghani couple with five children has come to live in New Zealand. In Afghanistan, this gynaecologist and paediatrician had successful careers. Participating at MUMG and improving her English and other skills should enhance the wife’s chances of gaining a job.
She is a joyful, wonderful woman who is wanting to contribute to our community, and this project will give her that chance,” Heather says.
All Good Ventures is providing ‘seed funding’ for MUMG and an experienced businessperson to mentor the Project Manager, Jason Dodunski.
Helping rural Ugandan communities
The second venture the New Zealand partnership is supporting will help rural Ugandan communities where people have poor access to basic healthcare, such as vaccinations against rubella. Transport is expensive and distances are too great for people to walk.
A Dunedin GP living in the United Kingdom, Dr Nick Laing, has acquired a Ugandan Government map for future regional healthcare hubs which would be within walking distance for rural communities.
All Good Ventures is supporting Dr Laing’s organisation, OneDay Health, to fund the setup and infrastructure for these hubs. The doctor is moving to Uganda to coordinate this long-term project, which Heather describes as a “humongous undertaking”.
All Good Ventures will provide seed funding and assist the Kiwi doctor in developing a strategy for potentially tapping into major international funding. It will also supply a mentor to help create a sustainable model for building the hubs.
All Good Ventures aims to free people from deprivation, whether this be prostitution or child slavery; lack of access to clean water, education or healthcare; or for recent refugees, an inability to contribute to their new community as fully as they might.
The founders of this limited liability partnership have been entrepreneurs for many years.
Rod and Heather were born in the USA and shifted to New Zealand for his work in 1999. He now has his own biotech company, Quantec. In 2004, Heather started HMC, an award-winning public relations agency in Hamilton.
Asked why they started All Good Ventures, Heather laughs and says it’s a long story. The Claycombs don’t have children and have reached an age where they are financially strong.
We thought, what do we want to do with our personal wealth in the last part of our lives?”
They are Christians and these values inspire them.
Rod shared, “We know that we have a purpose that’s greater than ourselves and we want to fulfil it.”
This year they’ll work on the MUMG and Ugandan ventures and at the year’s end, invite new applications from social entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of an idea and want help.
Rod explains an entrepreneur is anyone who starts a business, and a social entrepreneur is one who starts it for social outcomes rather than simply profit.
Heather says social entrepreneurs usually have a people group they want to assist and a business idea.
“It’s a really, really unique person that can do both really well.”
The more profitable and successful a business, the more people it can help, she says.
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