Kristina Freeman is Co-Founder and Director of Social Enterprise at Grow Your Mind, a business dedicated to improving our children’s understanding of mental health.
What does your business do, and who are your customers?
Grow Your Mind is a mental health education social venture (we’re also a certified BCorp). We provide schools, families and educators with research informed, playful and authentic resources about what mental health is and how to take care of it.
We do this via a range of offerings/products including:
- A Beyond Blue (Be You) recognised online teaching program, which is an annual subscription
- Accredited professional development courses, both facilitated and self-led
- Courses and workshops for educators and the community
- Physical products
- And an abundance of free resources including our award winning Grow Your Mind Podcast, which has been listened to in over 90 countries.
What’s your mission?
Our mission is to reclaim the term mental health, it is not just the presence or absence of a diagnosable mental health condition. In fact, mental health is something we all have, and we can all learn ways to look after it.
We want all children to have access to engaging mental health education and for their educators and families to feel confident in their own ability to take care of their mental health and therefore be able to better foster these skills in their children/students.
Over the next 5 years we want establish a financially robust and stable business that has reached:
- 750 whole schools in Australia using the Grow Your Mind program.
- 40,000 educators in our professional development courses.
The work we are doing at Grow Your Mind is contributing the UNSDGs
- Good health and wellbeing and
- Quality Education
What does it mean to you, to be a ‘social enterprise’?
Being a social enterprise means that impact is at the heart of our business.
Can you scale a mission? Are there challenges around growing your business, while also staying committed to your impact thesis?
You absolutely can scale a mission and we are.
To ensure anyone can have access to mental health education we are committed to make some offerings free, such as our Grow Your Mind Podcast. Each of the 20 episodes features children talking about their mental health, ways to nurture it, things that challenge it, skills to practice. These simple yet powerful messages have been spread across the world, with over 90 countries listening in.
The Podcast has become an incredible tool for building brand awareness and growth for our business. Often a school/teacher/family listen to it, and then want more and sign up to our program, one of our professional development courses or buy some resources. It was recently awarded the Australian Podcast awards silver medal for best wellbeing podcast.
How have you seen investor sentiment change over the past 5 years, when it comes to recognising the value (or cost) of being mission-led?
Yes! We have found that there is a growing movement of values driven investors, who not only see a unique opportunity to contribute to addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges but they also see an exciting market opportunity.
Was there a business (either local or globally) that influenced the development of your organisation?
We have been quite inspired and influenced many businesses and movements.
The Bcorp movement is one that has greatly influenced the development of our business and we became an accredited Bcorp in 2018.
My co-founder Alice and I both read and loved “Let my people go surfing” by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard early in starting our business and that has certainly given us some inspiration around some of the values to guide our business by. Particularly in looking at how we source our products, who we choose to print with and also in leading with generoisty as a core value to guide us in decision making.
As a 100% female owned and led business we have also been inspired by female and non binary networks and communities especially the Coralus (formerly known SheEO), who chose us as one of the inaugural Australian Ventures they supported with an interest free loan.
What’s in store for your business in 2022?
2022 has been an exciting year for us.
We were awarded 2 grants at the beginning of the year – the Boosting Female Founders grant and the IIA Growth Grant, both of which are extending our capacity for creation and impact.
The BFF grant will see us focus on scaling Grow Your Mind’s online wellbeing program for primary school students & educators. The priority is on the domestic market and building a strong foundation for growth that can then expand internationally. This will be achieved via improving the technology platform, developing a business to business sales pipeline in partnership with Maths Pathways and a BDM role and creating further innovative content driven by the needs of our users. A few examples that we are thrilled about are:
- Season 4 of the children’s podcast – we have been collating ideas from educators and children and are delighted to be introducing a new segment within the podcast whereby the kids will interview an adult ‘expert’ on the theme of the episode.
- Further development of music as a tool for social change and awareness of mental health
- An expansion of our professional development courses to continue to support our educators
Alongside this we are looking to raise investment. The IIA Growth Grant has allowed us to focus on improving and updating our Impact Measurement Framework, Financial model and 5 year strategic plan.
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