Broadmeadows VIC | March 2019
What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
Plantworm is a business that runs incursions at prep and preschools encouraging young people to learn and engage more with nature. My philosophy is that I believe that every child is born with an inherently strong attraction to nature from which a bond can easily be formed and by cultivating this bond, compassion begins to emerge.
I started my business in October last year and had my first incursion in November.
What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
I was a full-time mum to my now 6 and 8 year old’s. As a single mum it is hard to find work that fits around the full-time care of my kids. I have to do the school drop offs and pickups, all the running around, I don’t have family here, so I have to be here for the kids. I didn’t want my kids to miss out emotionally by not having their mum around.
As well as being a mum I was volunteering for the community. I used to volunteer by running gardens growing fruit and vegies that helped people in need. When my youngest started prep last year, I volunteered to run a gardening program at the school 1hr a week, from there I realised how such a program was needed to help kids make a connection with nature that is not always encouraged at home. I’m not just talking growing our own food but the importance of a balanced ecosystem and how we as humans fit in and rely on that ecosystem and how our actions can have a positive or negative impact on it.
How did you find out about Many Rivers?
I met Richard and learnt about Many Rivers through a start-up program run by the council. I went to do a course on making websites and found out about Many Rivers.
Why did you want to go into business?
Without family support I had to find work that would fit around my kids. When my youngest started prep, some time opened up and I was able to start thinking how I could earn money without sacrificing my time for my children and what could I do for humanity.
My volunteer work while the kids were younger allowed me to choose and orientate myself towards what I enjoyed doing. As a volunteer a lot of support is given, and opportunities present themselves. I was fortunate enough to be granted access to a 2-day course through the council where I made contact with people working for the council. My idea for environmentally minded activities for children came up in conversation and I was asked if I could organise some activities for kindergarten aged kids. From there, I developed activities aimed at younger age groups and have been approved for more work through Council run kindergartens. This gave me a lot of confidence and encouraged me to start up my incursions business.
What services did you receive from Many Rivers? How did it help?
The biggest help I needed was on the business admin side. Richard helped steer me in the right direction. He also helped me as a mentor. I have no one here, no support so he was the one I bounced my ideas and thoughts off and he gave me feedback and support.
What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Managing the money side of my business. Trying to work out my cashflow, how to manage invoicing and record keeping and spreadsheets. I really had no idea about this, but Richard has really pushed me on this and helped me work through this side of my business.
What has been the biggest success to date?
On a personal level, I am doing what I want to do. I am educating these kids. I am inspiring them to get in touch with nature. My work encourages kids to connect with nature and to develop their curiosity for it. We are all dependent on this planet, no matter where you fit in the food chain. We can’t be ignorant about the planet, every creature and plant, we are all in this together.
What has been the biggest change for you/your family since you started your business?
I want a better future for my kids. I want them to see me make it on my own. And now I have a bit of pocket money. It’s not much but it’s more than I’ve had. Before I was just paying off the bills, now I have some money I can spend on us.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I want my program to be Victoria wide, I want every child to be touched by it. In 5 years time, I want to have a not for profit organisation linked into the business. I want to help the homeless by organising a business that hands out donations of scarves, gloves, beanies and socks. We all have something to give, becoming homeless isn’t always a choice, I want to give hope to these people and let them know someone cares.