'Gumtree’ for Not for Profits to help organisations collaborate, sell and trade within the sector

UWA students want to make life easier for not-for-profit organisations with their big idea: a ‘Gumtree’ for not for profits.

TETHR is an online marketplace specifically for not-for-profit organisations to allow them to sell unwanted goods, trade services and share information efficiently with other not for profits. The purpose of the social enterprise is to encourage easy collaboration and idea sharing amongst not for profits, saving them much needed time and resources which can then be spent helping the community on the ground.

Filipp D’Aprile, one of the students behind TETHR, which was chosen to represent UWA at the finals of The Big Issue’s The Big Idea competition 2017, says it was through consultation with local not for profits they realised the need for a more collaborative approach in the community sector.

“We have consulted with a wide range of not for profits – ranging from local organisations such as Befriend to larger national charities such as Holyoake,” D’Aprile says. “They really wanted to collaborate and develop the not-for-profit community and that’s where TETHR comes in. “It allows organisations to connect with any user on the platform, which reduces the need for introductions and organisations can be proactive.”

The Big Idea competition invites undergraduate students to develop an idea for a social enterprise that makes a difference in the community, engaging young people in real-world issues.

D’Aprile and the TETHR team – Mitchell Lawrence, Robert Woolcock, Zoe Machin and Kyle Harbour – pitched their idea at the semi-finals of the Big Idea competition via video link on 20 November, and unfortunately were not successful in progressing to the grand final in Melbourne.

TETHR is the second UWA team to progress to the finals stage of the competition since it was introduced in UWA in 2016. Research shows millennials have a real appetite to make a difference in their community. To date, 200 UWA students have developed 33 different ideas for new social enterprises through the competition.

The Big Issue State Operations Manager WA Andrew Joske, who has judged the competition at UWA since its introduction, commends the students and university for their dedication to the competition. “I was really impressed by the quality, uniqueness and viability of all the ideas of the five finalist teams at UWA this year, as well as the professionalism and amount of work that students demonstrated in their live pitches,” Joske says. “The level of student engagement in The Big Idea at UWA is exceptional, and is a great example of the potential of the competition when delivered by dedicated and passionate staff.”

The Big Idea at UWA is sponsored by Centre for Social Impact UWA, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, UWA Innovation Quarter and Bloom. The competition is open to all undergraduate students.