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Good Ole’ Capitalism!

Cindy Mitchell is a U.S. born business woman and founder of Millhouse Ventures. Mitchell believes in being able to do good for the world and making money at the same time. 

Mitchell has been living in Australia for15 years.  Her background is in business development, sales, and venture capital. 

For the last seven years, she’s been involved with social enterprise, this is when she founded No Sweat Fashions. 

No Sweat Fashions help migranta nd refugee women find employment opportunities. 

Mitchell made a shift from working in the business world with entitled people to investing time with people from low-income backgrounds.  She helps these people with entrepreneurship, gets them through barriers around mainstream access.  Mitchell says, “Wow! I saw the power of capitalism to do good, not just perpetuate disadvantage and inequalities.”

What the Millhouse model looks for are ventures that have the potential to make an income and have a noticeable impact either socially, culturally, economically or environmentally. 

Someone does have to apply to the program, and once accepted, participants get advice and mentoring. 

Millhouse has helped people like Christina Delay and Alan Tse get Altina off the ground. Altina met a gap in the market and created a zero proof craft cocktails.

The drinks are beautiful and complex in flavor but don’t have any alcohol in them.

Christina has a Ph.D. in Plant Biology.  She along with her partner who both have done consulting had found herself in the social drink culture. 

Once health problems started she asked herself if what she was drinking was the cause. Colleagues where having similar experiences and realized she was in a perfect place to create something new. 

The pair says, “Honestly we wouldn’t have actually started our social enterprise without Millhouse.

Running our ideas past Cindy and then getting accepted was the validation we needed to say this is a good idea and there’s a way for us to build it as a social business.”

Mitchell says this social enterprise is different and needs people that are motivated. What Altina had to do was find other people who cared about Australian drinking culture.  Bringing people along the journey, which creates a social bond with its customers. 

Altina had to start their journey somewhere. 

The first stage of the program is Grist.  This is where their business idea was examined, along with its potential social impact.  After a few runs of their plan, they were able to start crowdfunding and do some market testing.  Now they are in the Refine stage and get continued support from Millhouse to keep scaling. 

Many people who make it into the program are older, are woman and are from varied cultural differences.  Participants are much different than you would typically see in an average business accelerator and usually have much more life experiences. 

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