Sweet Gigs

Meet Mandy Richards, founder of not-for-profit organisation Global Sisters

Today we're chatting with Mandy Richards, founder of the incredible organisation Global Sisters. 

We’re thrilled to announce a brand-new partnership with Global Sisters  - a national not for profit that exists to make business possible for women. They offer a one stop-shop for business education and support – designed to meet you where you are at in your entrepreneurial journey. All their support is free, because they are backed by brilliant partners such as Google, Visa, Block and Mecca M-Power - all partners willing to Back Her Brilliance.

The phenomenal 3-month program will be customised to your business, and be delivered by us! Four lucky Sisters will be selected! Applications close 3rd July at midnight. Apply now here.

Hi Mandy, we’re so thrilled to partner with Global Sisters! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the incredible work you do?

Hello, it’s wonderful to be partnering with the fantastic team at Kip&Co. I’m Mandy Richards, the Founder and CEO of Global Sisters - a national not-for-profit established in 2013. We exist to remove barriers to women’s economic security, and use self-employment via micro business as a vehicle to achieve this.

We provide a life cycle of free business education and comprehensive support. We've supported over 6,000 women, providing essential business education, coaching, and market access so they can earn income flexibly around their circumstances.

Our mission goes beyond immediate income generation and self-employment for women; we help them leverage that income for long term economic security. Through our free business support programs and systems change interventions, we’re dedicated to making women’s economic security a tangible reality in Australia.

You’ve had many diverse roles over the years, from non-for-profits and high-profile charities to international government programs. Having all of the knowledge behind you, how did the idea for Global Sisters come about? 

A combination of personal experiences and passions inspired me to create Global Sisters. I spent my primary school years in Indonesia and witnessed devastating poverty up close. I remember seeing people suffering illnesses like leprosy and experiencing homelessness regularly when only eight and nine. Prior to this I grew up on a small farm and then later in a single mother household. My mother, who was university qualified but had no current professional experience, supported my siblings and I through some tough times. 

These experiences and others left an imprint and inspired me to help women facing barriers to mainstream employment, financial independence, and economic security. Driven by my passion for human rights and a happier world, I noticed throughout my career in non-profits and international programs that women needed more opportunities to turn their ideas into viable businesses. That vision led to the founding of Global Sisters.

A key focus of Global Sisters is helping make business possible for all women. What skills, support and education do you provide to female-led businesses who are starting out? 

We make business possible by providing a one stop-shop for business education and support, all designed to meet our Sisters where they are at in their business journey. 

We offer online programs, personalised coaching, financial pathways, industry connections and access to impactful partnerships. We offer this for free, because we’re a not-for-profit backed by brilliant partners. Our comprehensive roadmap for women at every stage of their business journey includes: 

  • Business education through workshops and online courses covering everything from business planning to digital marketing. 
  • One-on-one coaching to provide personalised guidance. 
  • Pro bono business services from experts in various fields, such as legal advice, financial planning, and branding. 
  • Market access opportunities to help our Sisters sell their products and services. 
  • A supportive community where women can connect, share experiences, and learn from each other.

What are some of the challenges you have identified female founders experience in the initial stages of setting up their business?

From our experience working with over 6,000 Australian women and our research, we know the primary barriers our Sisters face when starting businesses include: 

A lack of confidence and self-belief 

A lack of networks and business skills 

A lack of ongoing long term business support 

Access to high value sales opportunities, ecommerce and digital skills 

Affordable, accessible and appropriate business finance 

Global Sisters is more than a program—it's a movement to democratise entrepreneurship. Our platform and community provide a one-stop-shop for micro business support, addressing these key barriers through long-term support and connections to necessary resources when they are needed.

What advice would you give to any women thinking about starting their own business but don’t know where to start, or don’t have the confidence to take the next step?

You have everything inside you to do whatever it is you wish to do. My advice is to start small and take one step at a time and test ideas in a low risk manner. Surround yourself with a supportive network and seek out communities that can guide you. Leverage the resources available through organisations like Global Sisters, where you can access education, coaching, and a community of like-minded women. Most importantly, believe in yourself and your vision. Every successful business started with a single idea and the courage to pursue it.

Can you share any pinch me moments along your Global Sisters journey to date? Or any success stories that particularly stand out to you? 

There have been many pinch-me moments alongside our Sisters’ business journeys. For example, we supported a Sister who was once homeless, who now has a mortgage and employs three other women. We facilitated a business deal for one Sister through our networks, who received a life-changing T2 deal which was the catalyst to her thriving business today. Another Sister who was able to become a homeowner at the age of 57, when she was once terrified of being homeless in her older age. 

I'm also particularly proud that Global Sisters was awarded the 2022 SIMNA Award for Innovation in Social Impact Measurement, recognising our efforts to measure and provide evidence of the social change achieved through our programs. Additionally, our recent trip to Peru to share our model at APEC 2024 was a highlight, as it showcased international interest in our model and its potential to benefit other countries.

Kip&Co are so thrilled to be a part of your business accelerator coaching program. How did this partnership come about, and what about Kip&Co resonates with your business and your Sisters? 

Our community first met Kate from Kip&Co during our Female Founder event series. Kate was incredibly helpful and transparent, sharing a wealth of knowledge to support our Sisters in their businesses. When Kip&Co offered to partner with us, we were super excited about the potential benefits for our Sisters. Kip&Co is an industry-leading, beautiful business founded by three fabulous women, making it a true inspiration for our Sisters. The team's incredible knowledge and commitment to giving back align perfectly with our values. We admire Kip&Co's journey from a small startup to a scaled business and their unwavering commitment to sustainability and ethical practices—principles we share and need more of in the business world.