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Chantelle Baxter, 2011 Anthill 30under30 Winner

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.

Chantelle Baxter, VIC (b. 1984)

 

Name: Chantelle Baxter
Age: 26 (Born: November 1984)
Gender: Female
State: VIC

It’s time to pick out a dress for a special occasion. And we’re not addressing just our female readers. We’re looking at you, fellas.

Style is immaterial. Looking good is optional (and let’s face it, for the men, highly unlikely). The goal here is to line up some sponsors, rock an outfit and give the money to a worthy cause.

The fundraiser is called Do It in a Dress, and the benefactors are girls and women in the Third World, west African nation of Sierra Leone. The conduit is an Australian non-profit called One Girl, co-founded and driven by a powerhouse of social consciousness named Chantelle Baxter.

One Girl raises money for two projects:

  • Back-to-school scholarships: Odds are stacked heavily against girls in Sierra Leone. Baxter says a girl there is more likely to be sexually assaulted than to attend high school. For $20 a month, One Girl sets up a scholarship that provides a girl with school fees, books, stationery and a uniform.
  • LaunchPad: Menstruation is socially stigmatized in Sierra Leone, and sanitary pads are largely unavailable. As a result, women are exposed to disease, and girls miss up a week of school a month. LaunchPad delivers eco-friendly sanitary pads to Sierra Leone using a network of local female entrepreneurs and health care providers.

In September 2008, Baxter raised $5,000 to build a primary school in Sierra Leone and spent a month working with 80 children there in an impoverished community. She returned to Australia determined to build on her experience in Sierra Leone. The result was One Girl, launched in April 2009. Today, One Girl has three employees and has raised more than $40,000.

Baxter got the startup bug early, starting her first business when she was 7.  She created for-profit business called Oz Designer Discounts and Mod Digital. Her latest venture, Beyond Venus, is a female empowerment initiative; it’s currently a blog  in which Baxter tells women they can do anything “coz you’re f**king perfect.”

Baxter, by the by, started sporting a schoolgirl dress on 9 September and plans to keep rockin’ the outfit for 30 days. The Do It in a Dress fundraiser (the big push is for the week of 2-9 October) asks you to blog, tweet, run, go to work, etc. in a dress and, of course, to round up folks willing to pay money to see you do it. And she’s proud of her success in convincing men to slip on a skirt (“Once the first brave soul said ‘yes,’ the others have fallen like dominoes.”)

Baxter says she’s driven to end violence against the world’s women. It’s a crusade with a personal side; she says a leadership course taken last year gave her the courage to face memories of sexual abuse and violence she endured as a girl.

Says Baxter: “For a while, the pain got the best of me. After a lot of talking and healing, I realised I could use what had happened in my past to connect and inspire other women and girls.”

One Girl is her force, along with the  Beyond Venus project. “One in three women across the globe will experience some form of violence. I connect with these women,” she says. “I’m driven to help them because by doing so, I also heal myself.”

Anthill asks: Chantelle Baxter, what’s your superpower?

“I am the Inspirator. I zap friends, family and the general public with my magic inspiration wand, and they’re instantly transformed into passionate, inspired activists who want live a life they love and make a massive difference in the world.”

One Girl: Isha’s story

LaunchPad

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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.

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