Think Big, Start Small, Act Now.

About - Think Big, Start Small, Act Now.

All You Good Good People – Leeds Digital Festival
Event Write Up

Agency For Good and the School for Social Entrepreneurs Yorkshire and North East ran one of the 235 events in the Leeds Digital Festival but only one of a handful run by social purpose organisations.

We welcomed around 70 people to CoSpace North at Platform on the 2nd of May with the purpose of inspiring those who do good to use more digital and tech and those in the tech and digital industry to do more good. We felt we were best positioned to bring these communities together to create more social impact.

Such was the calibre of not only the speakers but also attendees in the room the title of this write up was from one of them, Zulfi Hussain MBE of Global Promise and Global Changemakers has a mantra to Think Big, Start Small and Act Now, it has served him pretty well over the years and acts as a good guide to any change maker.

With 8 speakers we were sure to have something for everyone but the overriding theme was one of doing the simple things well and of course using digital to deliver or enhance this.

Here is a quick recap of the talks.

Top Left Ewan Muirhead, Top Right Matt Saunders, Bottom Left Maddie Julian, Bottom Right Shaun Fox

First up we had Ewan Muirhead from ThriveLab, Thrive Lab helps voluntary sector organisations become the best version of themselves in order to provide the most effective services to their users. He talked about how users are centric to everything and truly understanding them is key.

Matt Saunders, founder of Charity Box an organisation set up to help small and medium sized charities make the most of the web. He spoke about automation and how youthSpark used automaton with tools like Zapier, Twilio and Airtable to prevent human trafficking.

Maddie Julian is co-founder of award winning DigiBete, Maddie talked of how their co-designed video platform helps young people and families to manage Type 1 Diabetes and how it has transformed their lives.

Shaun Fox has 28 years in education and is using his talents to develop physical literacy in young people. He talked of how SportingAge built a digital platform to expand their social impact from local to national.

Top Left Tina Turnbull, Top Right Ben McKenna, Bottom Left Stuart Hill, Bottom Right Sanjay Parekh

Tina Turnbull is Chief Executive of People Matters a Leeds-based charity that creates opportunities for people who have a disability or other disadvantage to be more independent. Tina talked about their own internal digital change to empower their own team to run more efficiently to help more people.

Ben McKenna is from Solidaritech is bringing life to the phrase one person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. He helps refugees by empowering them with access to technology they do not have, he does this by refurbishing peoples old computers and hardware they donate.

Stuart Hill is a former SEND teacher turned tech for good entrepreneur and co-founds Access Hospitality. He is making a difference in peoples lives by using technology to enable people with learning disabilities to work in environments they would not usually be able to.

And our closing speaker Sanjay Parekh is a successful entrepreneur in the commercial world who wants to use his superpowers for good. He runs a podcast called The Business of Meaning and talked about the commonalities of purpose driven businesses.

So what were the key takeaways?

Digital Funding
Tina mentioned funders need to look at more digital empowerment for back office functions which in turn will create more impact.

Simple Tech
The technology used to enable these amazing missions is not hi tech and is available to everyone to make their own social change. Understanding the problems is key and then using technology to enable it, however small, will make a difference in peoples lives.

How can you use your superpowers for good?
This was the question we asked ourselves that led us to set up Agency For Good and it is in large part why all of our speakers do what they do now.

Talk to people
Something Sanjay referenced but also a comment from one of the attendees is that they couldn’t believe all these organisations existed and what was getting done in the community was fantastic.

The comments from attendees since the event has been fantastic with at least two people using the word inspirational and one person said

“it is so nice to be in a room filled with such good people”

What next?
If you have been inspired to run a business with a social purpose or you already run one and want to see how you can use digital to create more impact there are a few things you can do:

  • For marketing and digital help get in touch with Agency For Good. We offer 6 hours of free marketing consultancy to social purpose organisations. We also have much fairer prices for design, websites, videos and more. Get in touch for an initial chat.

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