Small Business: Community focus

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Scott Farquhar, Jason and Jess Holdaway and Robett Hollis.
Scott Farquhar, Jason and Jess Holdaway and Robett Hollis.

I have to say this topic has got to have been my favourite of the year. So many great examples where companies are reaching out and doing more than they need to, having a really beneficial effect on a wider community than their own and truly enjoying the ride.

They are not just doing it to be worthy or to look good, it is about their passion for what they are doing.

We hear from the successful Australian software company Atlassian, whose co-founder Scott Farquhar has set up the Atlassian Foundation and offers free software to non-profits and open source projects. Some great ideas in there for all businesses starting out who want to do than make money but create positive change. Thanks to Morgo Conferences' Sandra Lukey for the contact.

Meanwhile, the energetic Frontside Media's Robett Hollis doesn't think that Kiwi startups are getting quite the help they need. So he has extended the space he uses for his business to "get some cool cats together" in his start up hub. And he is serious, he has now rented two floors in Queen Street to help accommodate startups, some of them completely free.

The owners of FRANK were really inspiring - a stationery company making a go at a business while giving away a piece of stationery at the same time as they sell it. Really simple idea and highly appealing to consumers with a conscience.

Glenn White of the Buteyko Breathing Clinic has never been so busy and is hoping to take his breathing exercises into schools to get children into good nose breathing, rather than mouth breathing habits early on. It's much more than just a business to him, this is personal.

And Vance and Jasmine McPhee are a truly inspirational couple talking to Kiwis and Aussies about how to make good healthy meals on a budget on their Facebook page, "How to feed a family of six for under $20". Such has been the interest in their suggestions, their voluntary effort is turning into a business attracting other partners and cookbooks. Well deserved.

A new trading and recycling website, Swap or Trade it, has been designed to see less stuff go to landfill and is also attracting some help from major corporates. And it is reporting some significant exchanges already, including a boat for a Harley Davidson.

Meanwhile the NZ company MoleMap, is sharing its research on melanoma with overseas medical institutes to help the world fight against skin cancer rather than just here in New Zealand. Commendable.

Next week: It can be said that NZ game developers punch seriously above their weight, the likes of Sidhe/PikPok, SmallWorlds and Ninja Kiwi. I want to hear from more game developers making some major strides here and overseas who are not so well known - yet. I know you are out there, please get in touch.

- NZ Herald

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