1. Define the problem you are seeking to solve.
Malaria kills one child every two minutes. It’ll take a little over that time to read these responses. The horrible reality is that solutions exist; insecticide-treated nets, medications, and testing kits are cheap and accessible. In the quest for eradication, “the single biggest problem is sustainable, stepped-up funding” (WHO).
2. Describe your big idea (what is the vision?).
At its core our idea is unchanged from last year: we create mosquito-repellent clothing and donate at least half of the profits to funding interventions for mosquito-borne disease worldwide. Our mission has been motivated by the power of social enterprise and shared experience. Mozzie bites are a universal experience. For some, they’ll ruin a nice summer evening, but for many more they will ruin a life. There’s a world of difference between the two, but they’re connected by the shared experience of that bite.
We think there’s power in emphasising that connection, and using it not just to educate communities on issues of global health and inequity, but to empower people to make their choices count. Fundamentally, we believe that our choices matter, and that they reflect the world we want to grow around us – and we think our choice of clothing should be no different. Why not quite literally wear your heart on your sleeve?
This year’s idea has one key difference. We’ve realised that we’ve overlooked a significant potential market – children. We know that we have because their mothers and fathers and grandparents have asked us when a children’s range will be available, because everyone wants to give their families a mozzie-free summer without having to spray them with insect-repellent all day.
3. Describe and illustrate (if possible) your proposed solution.
Our solution is to expand our supply chain to bring Borne Clothing to children. Our designs and branding will remain similar. New marketing will be facilitated by targeted marketing on Facebook, and by engaging relevant children/family focussed social media communities. Developing our supply chain will allow us to negotiate better costs and shipping routes, thus improving social and environmental impact and freeing up more revenue for donation.
4. What is the core foundation of your research or solution (this could be technology, research, know-how etc)?
First, our partnerships. At one end, our treatment partner, InsectShield, uses the active-ingredient permethrin to keep our shirts mosquito-repellent for up to 70 washes. At the other end, NothingButNets, a UN Foundation Grassroots campaign, uses our funding to distribute a barrage of interventions for mosquito-borne disease. This model means one mozzie-free tee pays for one insecticide-treated bed net.
Second, our supply chain. Since our launch on the 10th of July this year, we’ve sold over 210 shirts, and have almost 500 more on the way. We’ve now figured out our lead times and understood the involved hurdles. Sourcing our children’s range will be no different since the blank shirts come from the same manufacturer.
5. Describe who you think your end-user and/or paying customer could be.
Our end-user is Australian children, and the paying customer is their family. Everyone is looking forward to getting outside for the summer, but that unfortunately includes mozzies. Our customer is anyone heading out to the bush, beach, or city with kids in tow.
6. Describe your Technology Readiness Level or Research Literature Level.
Our technology is ready to go. The stock levels for children’s sizes at our Tier 2 garment manufacturer are currently sufficient for an order in the region of AUD$5000-6000.
7. Describe the top three critical hypothesis you want to explore, including:
a. How you will test them;
Our new product will be tested against sales and social media metrics. We’ve had over 200 people engage to vote on prospective children’s designs. Ongoing testing will monitor engagement as we expand our audience to capture the family fashion community. Sales will be monitored and compared to adult sizes to test our first run as a proof of concept.
b. Describe your experimental plan
Our experimental plan is to order 200 shirts in children’s sizing based on social media response voting to prospective shirt designs. Once ordered, we will focus on expanding our marketing reach to include family and children’s fashion pages and groups on social media.
c. Including any new technologies or tools to be developed; and
No new technologies will be required.
d. If your experiment/s in the testing phase are successful what are the next steps?
The next step is building out our capacity to scale this product line. This will involve collaboration with our Tier 1 supplier to simplify our supply chain and reduce lead time. We will also be shifting our marketing focus depending on the success of the first batch launch.
8. Describe how would use funding to progress your hypotheses, including:
a. How will the work described be performed within the budget (up to AU$5,000) and time period (5 months) allocated for the testing phase (resources, capability etc)?
Since our supply chain is already set up, we are already in a position to allocate the budget to ordering a full first batch of stock.
b. What essential outcomes will you generate during your testing phase?
- Social media engagement..
- Product feedback..
- Donations to our impact partner..
c. Include a brief breakdown of allowable costs.
- 150 Blank shirts + shipping + treatment + printing = $4500..
- Facebook marketing costs (30 days; three campaigns) = $500..
9. What you’ve done to date, including challenges and wins.
- Grand Challenge 2019:..
- Selected for $5k of funding..
- Won the $2.5k Judges’ Choice Award..
- Won the $2.5k Peoples’ Choice Award..
- Hunter Young Business Mind Award $500..
- SEFA Kickstarter 2020: Business Plan Mentoring Program with Macquarie Bank (A 12 week program for social enterprises to achieve a state of being “investment ready”)
- Products available for purchase since July 2020..
- Revenue to date: $11.7k..
- Products sold: 212..
- More than 2.5k money raised..
10. Why your idea is an unconventional or creative approach to the problem.
A social enterprise doesn’t fulfil its goal overnight. It needs to be built on sustainable ground, with resources invested in a way that encourages it to grow and flourish. Children are the future of our movement, and our new direction will help us connect them to a global health issue that affects children just like them around the world. In this way, social enterprise can empower them to see the impact their choices can have.