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Sydney festival to explore a $30 trillion paradox confronting entrepreneurs – StartupSmart

Purpose festival founder Sally Hill

Over the next 15 years, millennial consumers are projected to spend more than $30 trillion.

On top of this spending power, which is driving a global shift in consumer behaviour, millennials will also comprise 75% of the global future workforce.

So what does this mean for the startup you’re building today?

At the upcoming Purpose festival in Sydney, running on December 5-6, more than 400 people, including impact-driven entrepreneurs and businesses shifting the benchmark on ethics and profit, will come together to discuss this shift.

Purpose festival creator Sally Hill says values-driven consumerism is here to stay and all businesses will soon be expected to meet this demand.

“Purpose [festival] is all about encouraging purpose-driven businesses,” Hill tells StartupSmart.

At the event, Thankyou Group co-founder Daniel Flynn will explore how a weird idea to sell bottled water turned into a social enterprise that has generated more than $4 million for projects creating a positive impact in disadvantaged communities.

Hear more: Thankyou Group’s Daniel Flynn on turning profit into real-world impact

Among the other speakers are Well Made Clothes co-founder Courtney Sanders, who will speak about building her online ethical fashion marketplace, and Frank Green SmartCups’ founder Ben Young, who will explore the power of technology to change behaviour.

Hill says the festival will be underpinned by a point raised by WholeFoods founder John Mackey: “The best way to maximise profits is not to make profits a primary goal”.

This is the “purpose paradox”, she says.

“His whole business philosophy is actually when you take money away form your core purpose, that’s when you can become more compelling to your customers,” Hill says.

“It’s definitely proven by the data.”

During the event, Hill says attendees will learn about the benefits of things like registering as a B-Corporation.

“B-Corps is [about] locking your values into the company structure,” she says.

“It attracts really great people to you [and] it makes you investor-ready because there’s a level of rigour that goes into your financial and corporate structure.”

Read more: Melbourne creative agency Tank reveals how it got into the ethical B Corporations league

These entrepreneurs and thought leaders are not alone in their sentiment for purpose-linked profit.

The pent-up demand for impact investing is estimated to be worth $18 billion.

And this month, dozens of purpose-driven founders earned recognition and investments while Impact Investment Group (IIG) launched a $13 million venture capital fund for social and environment startups.

IIG chief investment officer Will Richardson told StartupSmart the dial is moving in the private sector and the shift will affect both startups and big companies.

“The tide is turning on business that comes at the expense of society or the planet,” he says.

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