A knack for solving problems and a love of helping others was the fuel behind Orange Sky founders Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchetts’ startup success.
Having grown up with a mum with a passion for giving back, Nic told KBB he can even recall his first experience of volunteer work.
“I can remember waking up one morning when I was a teenager and my mum telling me that we were going to volunteer on my school’s food van. I was really nervous; I had not met a homeless person before, I did not know what to say, what to do or what to think,” he told Kochie’s Business Builders.
“That was the day I met Harry, he was a friend on the street in his late 50s who reminded me of my uncle – the only difference was that he did not have a safe place to call home. Lucas and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to volunteer throughout high school and it inspired us both to find ways to help people like Harry – who today, visits our laundry service every week in Brisbane.”
A knack for solving problems
The big-hearted pair also set their sights on putting their problem-solving skills to good use.
“Lucas and I wanted to find a way to get our mates together and make a difference in our own backyard. We liked helping people and solving problems, so the thought of building something that we were told would be “impossible” was the most amazing opportunity,” he says.
Of course, creating a successful social enterprise relies on more than just a good idea – yet according to Nic the toughest part of the journey has been backing themselves.
“Lucas and I got told by so many people that our idea to build a mobile laundry van was “crazy” and that it wouldn’t work – but we didn’t let it stop us from having a crack and continuing to believe in our dream to help people doing it tough,” he says.
Technology is imperative
“We just would not be able to operate without it,” says Lucas. “ All our vans, volunteers and donations are supported by custom-built web applications. Technology has the ability to connect people limitlessly and the sector needs to embrace these tools to help support and sustain services.”
Yet when it comes to reflecting on Orange Sky’s overall success, Nic told KBB they have a very specific formula to work with.
“We’ve found the best way for us is through accurate data and conversations. We are lucky to have recorded our service impact from day one and now have the ability to measure and see our impact in real time. This allows us to make more informed decisions and help more people,” he says.
Keen to inspire his fellow entrepreneurs, Nic encourages the next generation to collaborate, use technology and “tell amazing stories.”
“Social enterprises should be learning and drawing references from the commercial sector – even though the profit might not being going to shareholders, the stakeholders deserve the same-level efficiency and impact. Even though non-traditional revenue streams and resources are used, does not mean the sector can’t adapt,” says Nic.
Nic is also keen to amp up government support for this sector via energetic collaboration.
“They should be supporting organisations to deliver impact through sustainable revenue streams, as well as collaboration across service tools and resources,” he says.
Orange Sky is number 1 on our KBB Power List as voted by you.
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