Youth- Led Social Enterprise of the Year – presented by Foundation for Young Australians
Thankyou Water sells bottled water products in Australia as a means of funding water projects in developing countries. Sold in 600mL and 1.5L bottles, every bottle of Thankyou Water provides at least one month of safe drinking water to those in need. The organisation’s social mission is to channel all profits from sales into water projects, as well as making consumers aware of the significant impact they can make through the simple act of purchasing a bottle of water.
Thankyou Water’s founder and Managing Director, Daniel Flynn, was moved to action by the confronting fact that almost 900 million people globally did have access to safe water. By contrast, Australians spend approximately $600 million each year on bottled water despite being able to drink it out of the tap for free. At 19, Flynn rallied together a group of friends who worked with him on a voluntary basis for three years to set up a business that tapped into this bottled water market.
Thankyou Water was created in 2008, and has so far provided funds totaling $347,689 to 52 water projects. This has helped over 18,800 people across Cambodia, Uganda, Kenya, Timor-Leste, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The company is on track to reach its target of $836,441 donated to projects by the end of 2013. The organisation currently employs seven full-time, two part-time and two contract staff and is helped by an additional three volunteers.
Thankyou Water is being stocked in over 3,000 outlets around the country, including 7-Eleven Australia, IGA, Foodland, Australia Post, Provender vending machines and an additional 400 independent outlets. Customers can see where the profits from their purchases are donated with the Australian-first web application, Track Your Impact. The app provides information on the specific project an individual has funded when they enter the code on their Thankyou Water label.
Thankyou Water is in the process of developing a more environmentally sustainable product. Recent changes to the bottling system have reduced bottle plastic content by 38% and kept water wastage to a minimum during the bottling process. A biodegradable bottle is currently being trailed.
In recognition of his leadership skills, Daniel Flynn was last month awarded Victorian Young Achiever of the Year for 2013 and was also named a state finalist for Young Australian of the year in 2012.