What is the 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.
Lachy Ritchie, WA (b. 1986)
Name: Lachy Ritchie
Age: 27 (Born: December 1986)
Bridie Ritchie, WA (b. 1988)
Name: Bridie Ritchie
Age: 26 (Born: July 1988)
Both known for: Dismantle and Sprout
Lachy Ritchie and Bridie Ritchie are brother and sister and, together, they have ventured into social enterprise. “We are an awesome team, clash like crazy, but complement each other’s strengths. So I guess people love the whole sibling thing,” said Lachy.
“Growing up, I moved around a lot and never felt connected to community, I also travelled extensively as a young person and became somewhat fascinated by the lack of social connection in parts of developed society,” said Lachy, about starting Dismantle.
“For me, Dismantle emerged as an opportunity to harness the power of the humble bicycle to reach out and connect with disengaged young people, to help them get back into an employment or training pathway.”
As for Sprout, Bridie said, “I think the way we have been building our outer suburbs is wrong and devoid of shared spaces that help communities connect and prosper.”
“Sprout mixes an online platform and physical space to bring a real sense of community back to our outer ‘burbs.”
She explained that Sprout Hub is a shipping container that is designed as a multi-use venue (cafe, co-working, meeting room) and it goes into new developments to provide a temporary space (three to five years) for the people there to connect and grow their own communal identity and sense of place.
“Dismantle is an overzealous and energetic toddler that has been bumbling along and having great success somewhat accidentally, based purely on youthful optimism and resilience Sprout is kind of like a shy but smart teenager who is about to find her voice,” Lachy said about the personalities of their businesses.
“Initially we did it for fun, as a way to have a staff party. It seems we struck a chord with the community and in the second year, we were the second biggest tweedrun in the world – second only to London. The media and momentum that grew out of that was staggering.”
However, things went south for Dismantle when the winter came. “Winter hit us like a ton of bricks and a whole lot of projects started winding down due to the seasonality of the cycling sector. This is obvious in hindsight, but it nearly brought us to our knees,” Lachy remarked.
They had to shed staff and go back to the drawing board. “We had to get rid of everything we hoped the organisation would be and re-imagine it into an adaptive entity,” said Bridie.
This saw the birth of BikeDr, a mobile bike servicing enterprise targeting CBD office towers. Lachy describes it as “basically a bike shop on wheels.”
On what motivates him as an entrepreneur, Lachy said he is driven by a desire to live in the new world where doing good and making money can be compatible goals.
“The idea of being stuck in an office doing a job I hate scares the daylights out of me. I don’t believe in the old school social service idea where if you work in the social sector you sacrifice your life. Or the opposite end of the spectrum, where if you want to make money, then you can’t be doing good at work.”
“I believe the world is moving towards a standard operating system where all business has a higher purpose beyond just revenue,” he added.
Bridie on the other hand says she is driven by the desire to connect and simplify.
“I really worry about the world and where we are headed. I think there are so many problems that are the result of people being disconnected from their true self, other people and their environment. Both Sprout and Dismantle have a core purpose to connect.”
In four years, Dismantle’s turnover has grown from $13,000 to $500,000 and they have coordinated over 15,000 volunteer hours, engaged and mentored 200 at-risk youth for 25 hours each, have recycled 600 bicycles and have managed to get many members of the public to participate in a social cause.
Sprout on the other hand is about to open the doors on a newly established enterprise with the backing of a healthy six-figure contract from a major development company.
Anthill asks: Lachy Ritchie and Bridie Ritchie, what are your super powers?
LACHY: Some kind of super-bad-ass-vision thing. I see the whole world as an interconnected web of networks and signals. I seriously sometimes almost visualise threads of connection and systems.
BRIDIE: Empathy and mind reading – I know and understand what people are feeling, what they value and what subconsciously drives them. I’m also kick ass at foreseeing trends… although my 2011 return of ‘tiki’ prediction was a bit off…
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