Meet Lyndon Galea. Founder of Eat Up, a new volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation that delivers school lunches to underprivileged local school children. This is his entrepreneurial story.
What motivated you to start your social enterprise?
I read an article in my hometown’s newspaper, the Shepparton News, that profiled local school kids who were regularly going without lunch. I was totally shocked and felt compelled to try and help.
How did you get your enterprise started?
Eat Up started on my kitchen table! The solution seemed simple enough – if these kids haven’t been given a lunch from home, then I’ll make them one myself. I took bags of sandwiches to each school, and for the most part that’s still how Eat Up operates today, but now with a lot more help! We source free food from food waste charities to use in our lunches, bread, butter, spreads, cheese, fruit and recess items, apprentice chefs and hospitality students at TAFE organisations then voluntarily prepare the sandwiches in our lunches, before OzHarvest, a food charity with a fleet of 29 refrigerated vans nationally, delivers our lunches direct to the schools pro bono. Teachers at the schools then provide the lunches direct to the hungry kids.
What lessons have you learned so far on your journey?
Lots and I’m still learning every day! The biggest one would be if you see a problem that you are passionate about and feel you have a solution or can contribute positively – get after it! I never envisaged or thought anything beyond those first two schools mentioned in the Shepp News to begin with, and now Eat Up supports 22 schools around the state, with hopefully a lot more to come! Starting something, that very first step can often be the hardest step of all.
How important for you has it been to have a mentor?
Mentors! Plural for sure! I seek out as much help as I can and I’m always trying to learn. A mentor’s biggest gift is being able to use their hindsight as your foresight. That will help you and your enterprise to get to wherever it is you want to go a lot faster. In my eyes a mentor doesn’t necessarily even have to be a person either – books, movies, documentaries – there are lessons to improve everywhere.
What are your top three tips for starting a social enterprise?
Those three things are the key testers of a social enterprise idea for me. Scale – how big can your solution be? Can it be replicated? Can it help nationally? Internationally? Impact – what is the key outcome of your social enterprise? Is it providing real improvement? Is it changing lives? Resonance – does the cause resonate with a broad population? When people hear the problem are they moved to try and help too? You’ll build up so much more momentum with a social enterprise that resonates with many. Help will come from everywhere!
Be strict on an idea with these three points and your ultimate outcomes will be all the better for it!