meet the strictly business grant winners
Give it up for these small-biz superstars!
Hip hip hoorah! We’re chuffed to announce the rad recipients of our 2021 Strictly Business Grant, presented by Xero. Please give an enthusiastic round of applause to our winner: JAM the Label, an adaptive clothing brand for young people with a disability. Thanks to the support of Xero, who are all about helping small businesses dream big, JAM have won a whopping $10,000 to invest in their biz, along with a video feature on this very website and an appearance in frankie mag. Our runners-up, Indigenous talent agency AGNT BLAK and sustainable events service Green My Plate, have each picked up $5,000.
The lovely judging panel included: frankie editor Emma Do; Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey, co-owners of Magpie Goose and Blaklash Creative; and Anne Ascharsobi, director of social and environmental impact at Xero. These clever folks took into account the winning business’ originality, creativity, user experience, business strategy, understanding of market needs and the likelihood of further success and business growth.
Thank you to all the stupendous small business owners who applied for the grant; we were totally wowed by your bright ideas and business savvy. Of course, there could only be three winners for the cash prizes, though we think you’ll agree they’re pretty ace.
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TOP PRIZE: JAM the Label
Occupational therapists Molly Rogers and Emma Clegg founded JAM in 2019 when they realised their teenage clients with a disability had to shop outside their age bracket for clothes that met their needs. Molly and Emma started making cool, easy-to-wear basics with simple design features — such as tag-free tops for folks with sensory differences — allowing people they worked with to dress more comfortably (without sacrificing style). Our judges were super-stoked to see a fashion brand cater to young people with a disability. Emma gave JAM a big thumbs up for its modern aesthetic, and for leading the way on inclusive and adaptive fashion in Australia. “I love that the founders are constantly improving their product based on direct feedback from their wearers, and aim to employ people with disabilities in future,” she said. The JAM gals plan to use the grant money to revamp their branding and to add snazzy videos to their website showcasing their awesome design features.
Congrats on winning the Strictly Business Grant! How does it feel? Molly: We’re over the moon! JAM is such a small business still, so $10,000 is really huge. Emma: We’re obviously super-excited about the exposure, too, and the recognition that inclusive clothing is something important for people to know about.
Tell us your dreams for the future. Emma: We would love to be the leaders of inclusive fashion in Australia. A big part of that is educating the mainstream fashion industry about the need for inclusive fashion, and how it can still be really stylish. In the near future, we’ve made it a goal to hire a disabled fashion designer for a more fashion-forward range, in addition to our essentials.
RUNNER-UP: AGNT BLAK
AGNT BLAK is a brand spankin’ new talent agency exclusively representing First Nations peoples. Founded this year by digital creator and broadcaster Bianca Hunt, the agency provides Blak talent with a culturally safe environment to thrive in mainstream media. The judges described AGNT BLAK as timely and super-promising, given all the rad Blak creators gaining traction on social media. “As Blackfellas, we understand the challenges that our community faces when it comes to representation in the media,” said Magpie Goose co-owners Amanda and Troy, who said AGNT BLAK could be an industry game-changer. Bianca plans to use her $5,000 award to pay for some super-spiffy, professional photos for the talented folks on her books.
Congrats, Bianca! How are you feeling about the agency going forward? The main reason why I wanted to start it is so that people in front of and behind the screens who are Blak in this country have access to a network of people who are just like them.
This is just the beginning, and I’m very grateful that frankie is a part of this journey. I can only imagine what this is starting up and where it's going to go, so thank you!
agntblak.com.auRUNNER-UP: Green My Plate
Good Stuff 2020 award winners Green My Plate help events and venues eliminate single-use food packaging waste by providing them with reusable plates, cutlery, wash stations, staff and compost bins. That means no more festival bins full of empty single-use drinking cups, thank goodness! Our judges thought event managers Jess Fleet, Ryan Jones and Will Overman had an awesome business they’d like to see at work across Australia. “We think the business is definitely scalable, and would like to see it grow,” said judges Amanda and Troy. Green My Plate plans to use their $5,000 winnings to build a roving trailer for their dishwashers, sinks, water and plates (sort of like a food truck for event clean-up).
Congrats, team! How does it feel to be recognised? Jess: So good! It's a nice reminder that others also want to see change and a solution to single-use waste. We're just excited to put this money to good use. Big thanks to frankie, Xero and the judges for this prize. We're stoked you see the benefit in our reusable plates and circular system, and can't wait for this to be the new norm!
This article (and the whole Strictly Business Grant program) is brought to you in partnership with our pals at Xero. Whether you lead a small team or are going it alone, Xero’s online accounting helps you do business, but better. Find out more on the Xero website.