September 11, 2015
Sophie Weldon is the Director of Humankind Enterprises, a social business working on a major storytelling project, StoryPod.
StoryPod is a mobile digital storytelling project that aims to capture stories to create a digital repository of Australian stories and reduce the social isolation of older Australians.
We spoke to Sophie about the inspiration behind the StoryPod project and her passion for storytelling.
What was the inspiration behind starting your social enterprise?
When I was 14 I met a former refugee from the Sudan who opened up to me about how she fled on foot at 8 years old when the cicvil war broke out in her village and then spent the next 10 years escaping war and living in a refugee camp with hundreds of thousands of other homeless people.
Her story and our friendship catalysed the direction of my life and inspired me to find ways to help other people be connected and affected by the power of one, personal story.
Why is your social impact cause important to you?
Stories are us. They define us and shape the way we see the world. They are our past, and inspire our future. I believe that if we lose our stories, we lose our way and that is why StoryPod has been created to capture, share and archive stories. When businesses, organisations and councils listen to and record the stories, reflections and ideas of their community (using our video booths or app!) then they can create better connections with them. A more connected society is healthier and happier!
Our societies greatest storytellers are our elders and it makes me so sad that they are suffering from social isolation that has huge negative consequences on their mental and physical health (twice as bad as obesity). A big aspect of StoryPods social mission is using recording technology to better connect younger and older Australians. Our country needs to embrace and learn from our ageing population because we’re really all elders in the making.
What’s been the most important thing you’ve learned going through The Crunch?
Gosh that’s hard because I have learnt so much! Mostly that business is HARD WORK and you can’t just have the passion – you need the practical skills to ensure your passion can ride safely on structure.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone working on their start up idea?
You won’t be good at everything, I certainly suck at financials, but the more you persist the less you will resist.