Robots Are Cool – Social Enterprise

This is an executive summary of my idea around a social enterprise, this is open for discussion and your feedback/ideas/questions will be greatly appreciated.


To create a social enterprise around promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through hands on Robotics workshops. This social enterprise will focus on reaching out to remote and rural communities in Australia.


Products that support the mission

1) Robotics Road Trip around Australia

2) creating an online community ( around sharing of robotic related resources. Will include lesson plans for teachers, robotic workshop videos for students and a social aspect to connect remote communities around robotics. This would start off as a YouTube channel. All of the resources will be released under a creative commons license and the videos will contain minimum spoken/written language so they can be used by a non-English speaking audience.



1) Enroll in a masters in teaching by distance at the University of Tasmania in mid-2015 doing 3 subjects per semester, this course will take me until the end of 2017 and will allow me to

    a) keep Centrelink off my back about not earning an income

    b) apply for scholarships that I can invest in the idea

    c) build up the products while living in the NW coast of Tasmania

    d) have credibility when I approach communities about running robotics workshops

    e) expand Robogals UTas to the NW coast of Tasmania

2) Start my first crowd funding campaign in mid-2015 to raise funds for a van, four Lego EV3 robotics kits, four laptops and a projector, also will be a marketing campaign to gauge how much interest is out there. A stretch goal of this campaign is to buy a Nao Humanoid Robot.

3) Start the actual road trip around mid to end of 2017 depending on course commitments, consider a second crowd funding campaign for the launch of the road trip. Spend at least 2 years executing the road trip

4) assess at end of 2019


Success indicators

1) An income of $30,000 for 2018 to 2019 financial year

2) Able to expand to New Zealand in 2020



I’m a believer in the “pay for what you can afford” mentality. That means my services will be free for the communities that need it but if they would like to pay I can charge for:

1) an amount of their choosing

2) expenses incurred while in their community (e.g. Fuel, Food or Accommodation)

3) a base amount of $40 per hour (business expenses $10 + salary $30)

Q. Hang on, if you worked a 40 hour week, you could earn $62,400 in a year and have $20800 for business expenses. Isn’t this more than your target income of $30,000?

A. Yes but this “base rate” will allow me to “work” for half the year and to “volunteer” for the rest or to hire someone as an assistant.


Business expenses

1) Fuel, Food and Accommodation

2) Phone and Internet

4) Police checks

5) Van services and tires

6) Professional indemnity insurance

7) Contents and vehicle insurance

8) Accountancy/Tax returns

9) Travel to/from key events like the Sydney educators startup weekends or python conferences



1) Robogals

2) CodeClub Australia


Strategy for keeping business expenses as low as possible

1) charge for fuel used while in a community

2) charge for fuel that is used to get to a community

3) request to be hosted by people in the community

4) stay in hostels/air bnb places

5) sleep in van at a camp site

6) request Robogals covers the expenses that the community can’t cover


Sources of income

(* = pay for what you can afford services)

1) Community Contributions*

2) Online subscriptions*

3) Professional development courses*

4) After school/school holiday programs*

5) Tutoring*

6) Grants

7) Scholarships

8) Crowd Funding



Social Enterprise: A for profit business that is focused on maximizing social impact rather than profits

Community: a school or group who will benefit from my services. A group could be a home school meetup, a council, a business, a learning centre etc

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