Community Way E-Megamarts – Future Fundraising!
Monday, 26th April 2004 at 1:04 pm
It has taken almost two years for a couple of business entrepreneurs to launch Community Way! A concept aimed at giving Not for Profits a business model for successful fundraising.
According to founders Wes Thornton and Peter Edwards, giving communities control is their driving principle.
And they say the Community Way model is very simple. They’ve developed business models in sectors dominated by mega-corporations which community groups can ‘hook into’ to share in the profits generated.
Community Way says its model offers no risk and the possibility of big gains for the Not for Profit Sector.
An example of their commitment so far has been the development of their eMegamart, which is being built using the latest Internet technology and which has cost a quarter of a million dollars so far, but which will cost the company millions before their vision is completely realised.
The Internet system allows every registered community group to brand the web pages with their own logos to attract their own supporter base to the site.
While marketing a range of standard products and services, the technology will also allow groups to market their own products and post group news through their own eMegamart, thus giving community groups an unprecedented Internet presence via a state-of the-art eCommerce web solution.
Thornton, whose background is in construction and property investment, says community groups already purchase goods where the profits go elsewhere. Community Way’s concept is to partner in those everyday products they buy and have the profits redistributed back to the community groups.
The first products available on the web-based eMegamart will be specialist food hampers, with an expanded grocery and retail division, a telco division, a real estate sales division, and a finance broking division coming online in the short- to medium-term.
Edwards says they are creating a new model of capitalism or ‘social capitalism’… a structure where the wealthiest capitalists will be Australian communities rather than individuals or the government.
He says this is the economic model of the future because there is not a product or service which you could not put through it.
Community Way says there are no establishment fees and no work and no risk for the communities involved thanks to the latest IT technology.
Community way will do all the work and return 50% of the profits back to the communities.
Thornton says the 50% of profits which Community Way retains will be used to expand existing divisions, and develop new ones. As an added incentive to participating community groups, Community Way will reduce the percentage it takes and return more to community groups as sales volumes and profits grow.
Their ultimate goal is for community groups to eventually take ownership of the operation.
Thornton says as an example the Christmas Hamper market alone is worth $350 million dollars a year. Community Way Hampers will target special occasions all year round. Initially it will offer Christmas Hampers as a start-up in Victoria and details will be revealed as part of the official launch in May.
Community Way will handle the warehousing and distribution of the hampers while the communities only have to recommend the service to their supporters in their regular communications with them.
Thornton and Edwards stress that it won’t be all “chocolates and roses”. The business venture is not a gimmick or a mere fundraising vehicle – it is a real business which will be subject to market forces and which must therefore follow commercial principles to make it viable.
They say that they have the business runs on the board, honesty and integrity and a passion to make it work to create a new funding source and clearing house for community groups.
Profits from Community Way ventures will go into an independently run Trust Fund where distributions will be regularly made to communities.
Community Way says the model gives all Australians the opportunity to financially support the causes and groups of their choice without donating more because their business initiatives target normal living expenses such as groceries, retail products, phones, financial and real estate services and any other viable products or services which will come online in the future.
The state of the art web site is being rigorously tested during April in time for the May launch.
For more information on Community Way and the eMegamart concept log onto www.communityway.com.au.
Wes Thornton and Peter Edwards have agreed to answer your questions on our Online Forum on Friday 30th April. You can submit you questions and comments from now until Friday by clicking on ‘Forum’ from the menu to the left.