Better Know a B: SUPKids
SUPKids believe that when kids fall in love with an outdoor sport, they fall in love with the outdoors. And kids who love their planet become ambassadors for taking care of it. Inspiring founder Linzi took time out of building her business to share her story with us.
SD | Tell us a bit about the history of your company?
We believe that when kids fall in love with an outdoor sport, they fall in love with the outdoors. And kids who love their planet become ambassadors for taking care of it.
The SUPKids story starts in 2014, in Far North Queensland, Australia where we ran our very first program. We worked alongside the Royal Flying Doctor Service to deliver a SUPKids programs to an Indigenous community just north of Cairns.
One program turned into two, then three ... then a tour of Cape York, delivering vital water safety & environmental education to the very most remote communities, testing our inflatable stand up paddleboards (and four wheel driving skills) to the very limit !
In 2015 we travelled to Thailand to hang out with the Starboard team and gave them the opportunity to experience SUPKids for themselves. We realised our intentions were aligned; to enable kids to learn to SUP in a safe manner, whilst exploring their environment and becoming ambassadors for their planet.
SD | Why did you become a B Corp?
I read Let My People Go Surfing a few years back and really resonated with the way Yvon Chouinard looks at business. When it became apparent that SUPKids was going to grow from a one off project into an actual business I did a whole bunch of research to establish what our options were. I knew right from the start that we didn’t want to start a non-profit, we didn’t want to rely on hand outs, sponsorship or government funding. We wanted to approach this from a business perspective and grow SUPKids into something that can stand on it’s own two feet. B Corp made so much sense to us.
SD | What excites you about being part of the global B Corporation movement?
We're a small business but we're scaling pretty rapidly. We're opening SUPKids Delivery Centres globally so we're constantly looking for suppliers & business connections in different parts of the world. Knowing that a company is a B Corp means it's an absolute no brainer decision to work with them, we know we're speaking the same language.
I love the community feel of B Corp - The fact that we're all learning together and co-creating a new way of doing business.
SD | Can you tell us about the impact that your company is having in the world?
We really believe that connecting kids to nature is one of the single most effective things we can do to protect the planet. And the crazy thing is that when you connect kids back to the planet, it inspires their parents & communities to do the same.
If we can instil a love & respect for the ocean (the rivers & lakes) into a kid, we know they'll spend the rest of their lives protecting that playground.
SD | What benefits have you seen since certification?
We've connected with other B Corps who've really helped us grow. We're working on collaborations with like-minded folk and we're able to have an even greater impact together.
SD | How did your other staff react to the certification?
Ha... we're a pretty tiny start up... so no staff as such, but our wider team & partners have definitely recognised the commitment we've made, and are fascinated with how B Corp has helped us re-frame 'business'.
SD | What has changed in your organisation as a result of taking the B Impact Assessment?
We've measuring a lot more ha ha... and we're way more aware of all the ways we can improve our impact (not just the obvious stuff). Unexpectedly, it's also forced us to put a lot of structure & policy in place that has really helped define how we run our business.
SD | What does the year ahead hold in store for your company?
We're growing :) We're on track to have SUPKids Delivery Centres running in 20+ countries, which means we're connecting with a whole bunch of awesome people ! This year we'll be working alongside our partners Starboard, Parley for the Oceans, Sustainable Surf & Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park to refine our Giving Back programs.
SD | Who is your B Corp crush?
It's got to be Patagonia - Everything they do is infused with the spirit of B Corp. For me, they'll always be the perfect example of 'Business as a force for good'.
SD | It’s 2020, 5 years since you certified as a B Corp, what does the movement look like?
Business is no longer a dirty word for environmentalists, and greenwashing is a fast disappearing phenomenon because B Corp has shown how simple & effective it can be to do it properly.
SD | What is inspiring you at the moment?
My good friend Chris Bertish completed an unassisted solo SUP across the Atlantic Ocean - so that kinda blew my mind! I'm a massive fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, so his podcast is my weekly go-to. And I'm always inspired by stories of purpose driven brands - entrepreneurs who are building epic businesses that are having a positive impact on the planet.