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$20k for NZ’s favourite so­cial en­ter­prise

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Mr Four Eyes RB: De­scribe Mr Four Eyes Ravi Dass:

Mr Four Eyes of­fers per­son­alised eye­wear to New Zealan­ders at a price we can all af­ford. Our goal is to make eye­wear ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one - es­pe­cially Kiwi kids. So a big part of Mr Four Eyes is our one-for-one model, where, for ev­ery pair of glasses we sell, we do­nate a pair of glasses to NZ chil­dren.

RB: Tell us about the brains be­hind Mr Four Eyes. RD:

Mr Four Eyes is a hus­band and wife team. I (Ravi) wear a cou­ple of hats, the first be­ing an op­tometrist. The other be­ing a keen vol­un­teer. I’ve done a fair bit of char­ity work in the Pa­cific Is­lands and bring this side of my ex­pe­ri­ence into the busi­ness. Steph, my wife and busi­ness part­ner, has also de­vel­oped a pas­sion for help­ing peo­ple. We both have a strong un­der­stand­ing and em­pa­thy for the type of chal­lenges that many New Zealan­ders need­ing eye­wear face, and to­gether we’re merg­ing our skills to help over­come th­ese.

RB: Tell us about the “aha” mo­ment that bought Mr Four Eyes to life? RD:

It hap­pened about five years ago af­ter I saw a young pa­tient strug­gling with her vi­sion. Her mother came to me for a sec­ond opin­ion. She had passed school screen­ing eye tests yet was still strug­gling at school. She was 10 but had the read­ing level of an 8-year-old. So I gave her read­ing glasses. This changed her life. Within three months she was read­ing like a 12-year-old again. I in­creas­ingly started to see sim­i­lar cases. Even peo­ple in their twen­ties with eye prob­lems which had never been picked up or who sim­ply couldn’t af­ford eye­wear. This made me won­der how many kids were not be­ing di­ag­nosed or treated? Or who couldn’t af­ford it? Voila, Mr Four Eyes was cre­ated.

RB: What gaps does Mr Four Eyes fill? RD:

We fill both so­cial and busi­ness gaps. So­cially, with our price point, we make eye­wear ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one. Our one-for-one model also makes eye­wear ac­ces­si­ble to kids who oth­er­wise wouldn’t. Our new web­site will of­fer unique ser­vices like free home try and a re-glaz­ing ser­vice to put new lenses into peo­ple’s (new or used) frames for them. Both th­ese ser­vices are cur­rently miss­ing in the mar­ket.

RB: What will so­ci­ety look like 10 years from now be­cause of Mr Four Eyes? RD:

Ev­ery child and adult in need of cor­rec­tive eye­wear will af­ford­ably have ac­cess to it. Mr Four Eyes will also have played a col­lab­o­ra­tive role to en­sure all fu­ture NZ kids have their eye­sight tested ear­lier and are treated to give them more op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from their ed­u­ca­tion. Right now kids with vi­sion prob­lems com­monly ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fi­culty read­ing and con­cen­trat­ing as well as health prob­lems like headaches.

RB: Do you see Mr Four Eyes evolv­ing into some­thing big­ger? RD:

Ab­so­lutely! Cur­rently we’re fo­cused on the on­line (sales) side of the busi­ness, but we have big goals to grow our busi­ness be­yond this to en­sure that eye­wear be­comes ac­ces­si­ble to all New Zealan­ders. There’s also scope to ex­pand in­ter­na­tion­ally. We see some great tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments hap­pen­ing in other in­dus­tries that we want to ap­ply to the eye­wear in­dus­try. For ex­am­ple more per­son­al­i­sa­tion, style, speed of de­liv­ery, and bet­ter value.

CareEd4 Rosie Bos­worth: De­scribe what CareEd4 is? Lisa Watkins:

CareEd4 is a new child­care model de­signed to help young, solo and dis­ad­van­taged par­ents to move from the ben­e­fit into the work­force. CareEd4 will pro­vide cen­tre-based child­care that is ac­ces­si­ble 24 hours a day, seven days a week as tai­lored, in­di­vid­ual sup­port ser­vices and re­lated child­care so­lu­tions in or­der to help break the ben­e­fi­ciary cy­cle and tran­si­tion young and vul­ner­a­ble par­ents back into paid em­ploy­ment.

RB: Tell us about the brains be­hind CareEd4? LW:

CareEd4 is a part­ner­ship be­tween the Sus­tain­able Busi­ness Coun­cil (SBC) and Bar­na­dos, so there’s a breath of com­ple­men­tary skills from both or­gan­i­sa­tions. From the Bar­na­dos side, the pro­gramme is lever­ag­ing ex­per­tise and knowl­edge within the Bar­na­dos

“Right now kids with vi­sion prob­lems com­monly ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fi­culty read­ing and con­cen­trat­ing as well as health prob­lems like headaches."

KidS­tart Child­care pro­gramme. The SBC catal­y­ses the New Zealand busi­ness com­mu­nity to have a lead­ing role in cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able fu­ture for busi­ness, so­ci­ety and the en­vi­ron­ment. RB: Tell us about the “aha” mo­ment that bought CareEd4 to life? LW: The con­cept evolved through an idea de­vel­oped by the SBC fo­cused on the so­cial role of busi­ness. We recog­nised that a ma­jor bar­rier for young solo par­ents be­ing able to par­tic­i­pate in the work­force was the lack of qual­ity child­care that pro­vides care out of nor­mal busi­ness hours. The Coun­cil then ap­proached Bar­na­dos to cre­ate an in­no­va­tive so­lu­tion. RB: What gaps does CareEd4 fill? LW: Dur­ing the devel­op­ment of the CareEd4 model we spoke with a lot of young solo par­ents to gauge ex­actly what the ser­vice would need to pro­vide and cover. The gen­eral con­sen­sus was that cur­rently there is no flex­i­ble child­care ser­vice and sys­tem they can ac­cess and trust. It was clear that child­care ser­vices that ac­com­mo­date di­verse ages, work hours and lo­ca­tions is some­thing young par­ents don’t have ac­cess to. Our feed­back also high­lighted the need for a range of ad­di­tional tai­lored sup­ports such as money and debt man­age­ment, ob­tain­ing a driver’s li­cence and build­ing re­silience. RB: What will so­ci­ety look like 10 years from now be­cause of CareEd4? LW: In ten years from now lives across NZ will be im­proved be­cause of CareEd4. The rates of NZ youth un­em­ploy­ment and ben­e­fi­ciary de­pen­dancy would have also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced. Many more young solo par­ents will be in work, re­duc­ing long-term wel­fare de­pen­dency and child poverty. RB: Do you see CareEd4 evolv­ing into some­thing big­ger? LW: Yes, we be­lieve there is great po­ten­tial to pro­vide the ser­vice in com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try, tailor­ing those ser­vices to meet lo­cal needs. For ex­am­ple, in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, a ser­vice could be adapted for young fam­i­lies work­ing in the dairy in­dus­try. So as we roll out the pro­gramme we will con­tinue to look at op­por­tu­ni­ties where we can re­fine, and ex­pand the model to en­sure as many par­ents and chil­dren as pos­si­ble can ben­e­fit from the pro­gramme and its vi­sions.

Patu Aotearoa

RB: De­scribe Patu Aoteaoa? Levi Arm­strong: Patu Aotearoa is a whanau-based gym that de­liv­ers group ex­er­cise ses­sions in a fun en­vi­ron­ment. We aim to re­duce health and so­cial is­sues and in­spire healthy, ac­tive life­styles within com­mu­ni­ties, marae, work­places and schools. RB: Tell us about the brains be­hind Patu. LA: Patu con­sists of my­self (Levi Arm­strong), Jack­son Waerea and Kia Di­a­mond. Each of us are fit, healthy Maori born and bred in the Hawke’s Bay. We all have young fam­i­lies and a love of sports and chill­ing out with our whanau. I have a Bach­e­lor of Sport and Recre­ation. Jack­son is a trainer at Patu and a health pro­moter at Te Tai­whenua o Here­taunga. Kia is our ad­min­is­tra­tor. She is want­ing to up-skill and de­velop her knowl­edge in the busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion sec­tor. RB: Tell us about the “aha” mo­ment that bought Patu to life? LA: Af­ter gain­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of study­ing and work­ing as a per­sonal trainer at lo­cal gyms I wanted to cre­ate a prod­uct and a brand that worked for our whanau. I saw merg­ing group ex­er­cise with a whanau-based en­vi­ron­ment as a great op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with com­mu­nity and make a pos­i­tive change. RB: What gaps does Patu fill? LA: Patu’s model is unique in that it cre­ates an en­vi­ron­ment and a place where our whanau and com­mu­ni­ties can feel com­fort­able and wor­thy. We are a pos­i­tive tribe, cre­at­ing changes among com­mu­ni­ties of New Zealan­ders – both phys­i­cally and men­tally. Unique to Patu is our spe­cific fo­cus on inspiring whanau to in­vest in health and well­be­ing, and gain a greater sense of pur­pose and value. RB: What will so­ci­ety look like 10 years from now be­cause of Patu? LA: We will have en­gaged with whanau across NZ from all walks of life and helped to sup­port and in­spire them and trans­form them into health­ier, more ful­filled peo­ple. We will have cre­ated a pos­i­tive tribe of peo­ple and helped to re­duce the health and so­cial dis­par­i­ties that we have in Aotearoa. RB: Do you see Patu evolv­ing into some­thing big­ger? LA: We want to trans­form Patu into a na­tion­wide, fran­chiseable fit­ness model, so that ir­re­spec­tive of lo­ca­tion, we can pro­vide the tools and sup­port to whanau who are will­ing to make pos­i­tive changes in their lives. We’d also like to cre­ate more com­mu­nity lead­ers and com­mu­nity us­ing our model as a way to share knowl­edge and vi­sion with whanau across NZ in ways be­yond just ex­er­cise.

Ravi Dass from Kiwi Op­ti­cal. Photo: MarkTantrum

Lisa Watkins from CareEd4.

Levi Arm­strong from Patu Aotearoa.

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