The Means or the End?

Today, I was asking myself a question.  What is better…the journey or the ending?  You might think that a truly enlightened person would answer, “Of course, it’s the journey, never the ending.”  That’s also the answer that would be more political, more modern, more thought-provoking.  Sounds like something I’d hear on the Super Soul Sunday podcast Heather often listens to, actually.  I am pretty sure I would give that answer in more situations than not.  The ‘end doesn’t justify the means.’  But, we need to be careful we aren’t taking the position of one who hasn’t backed themselves to finish the race.  Or one who hasn’t worked hard enough to reach the goal line.  Or the modern view that what matters is just participating, not winning!

This past week, Heather and I had a chance to make the first public presentation of All Good Ventures to a room of business colleagues and peers.  In some ways, this was just ‘part of the journey’.  Another step along the path forward for All Good Ventures.  But, in other ways, it was actually a goal line that we crossed, a winning shot that we made at the buzzer.  Because, it also marked the first public announcement that we were funding our first social enterprise project.  A bit more about that in a moment.

You see…we started this All Good journey nearly 18 months ago.  Well, truth be told, God has had us on this journey all of our lives.  But, formally, we started 18 months ago.  And, as great as the journey has been, this milestone was truly fantastic.

My business, Quantec, belongs to an organisation called Natural Health Products New Zealand, an industry organisation that promotes and supports suppliers, manufacturers and marketers of natural health products, such as our milk protein ingredient, IDP.  NHPNZ has an annual conference where they invite speakers to talk about the industry and global trends in the natural health space and to celebrate successes.  This year, the theme of the conference was The Challenge of Change.  Surprise wouldn’t begin to describe our reaction when the organisers asked us to present All Good Ventures to the conference.  What does seed funding social enterprise projects and providing the mentorship and muscle to make those projects happen have to do with natural health projects?  The answer?  Nothing.  And everything.

Incorporating a social element into your commercial business is quickly becoming ‘the new green’.  Business is changing.  A 2018 Deloitte survey found that nearly 9 in 10 millennials (our employees and business owners of the future) now believe that the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.  It should also be measured by what it gives back to society.  The message that Heather and I were investing our business profits to a venture that seed-funded social projects was one that resonated throughout the conference.  It felt like a huge win for us.  A definite endpoint to at least the first part of the journey.

That continued as we announced that our first social enterprise project was Morningside Urban Market Garden in Auckland. Jason Dodunski, who came up with the idea, is trying to help refugee women to integrate into New Zealand.  They often arrive in New Zealand under significant distress, with poor or no English skills, but often with very strong gardening skills.  Jason’s idea was to partner with local cafes who have a large and growing need for organic micro-greens and edible flowers and to set up an urban market garden to employ these women and at the same time teach them English and top-class professional gardening certifications, so that, when they graduate from the programme, they are empowered and employable.  Jason has been given the defunct Morningside bowling green as a facility to base the garden and was requiring both seed funding to build its first growing tunnels and also the mentorship to help him set up his business models and company structure.

The ’icing on the cake’ for us were the offers for All Good Ventures mentorship that came in after our presentation, which proved to us that All Good Ventures not just belonged there, but was actually welcomed.  It is obviously just the first ‘end’ to the journey.  We hope and pray there will be many more.  We know there will be.  And, in the end, I guess we’ll look back and enjoy this moment as truly just ‘part of the journey’.  

- Rod Claycomb


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