August 21, 2015
Kumari Middleton, 2015 Crunch participant and dance school entrepreneur from CARE TWO DANCE.
Kumari shares her journey from dance to social enterprise: rethinking her dreams to dance on stage in New York and channeling her passion into bringing the joy of performance to young people around the world.
What was the inspiration behind CARE TWO DANCE?
I’ve always been really passionate about dance, I grew up dancing so when I finished school I went straight into full time dance in Melbourne but I decided the place I really wanted to be was New York. Unfortunately three months into my trip I contracted legionnaires, so I came home and was bedridden for about 6 months.
It took about a year just to be comfortable with getting to the end of the street and back so I needed to re-evaluate what I was going to do with the rest of my life and I thought…
“Why can’t I use the passion that I have for dance to make a difference in other peoples lives?”
I never ever expected it to get this big – it started as just one small program in South Africa that’s just kept growing and growing. I feel really privileged that today I get to do what I love and in a much more rewarding way where I get to bring smiles to other people’s faces and to share the joy of dance with them.
In five years time, what social impact do you hope CARE TWO DANCE will be having?
Currently our outreach programs are running in six countries and I hope that in five years CARE TWO DANCE will double that impact. CARE TWO DANCE will give us the regular income stream and the security to allow us to go a lot further a lot quicker and to grow our impact not only in each country but to expand into new places into the future.
What’s been the most important thing you’ve learned going through the Crunch?
I feel like I’m experienced in the not-for-profit world, but social enterprise is different because you have this whole element of business – business viability, day to day transactions, market testing, minimum viable product – it’s a world I wasn’t aware about.
I feel like I have a much broader knowledge base now and I also feel like my support networks are large enough to get me through the transition.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone working on their start-up idea?
Get out there and start talking about your idea and get feedback, even if it’s negative feedback, just use that to spur you on. As people ask you new questions you’re going to come up with answers and that’s going to give you a stronger idea and you’ll solve a lot of the problems early on.