Business with a conscience: here to stay? Schoolrebates.co.nz
Is this new generation of socially-conscious commerce a passing trend, or simply savvy marketing? Newsroom’s Morgan Tait speaks with experts about the changing business landscape.
People feel like they have to change the world themselves.
Luke Kemeys, a successful young accountant, was sitting next to a man on a plane when the two got talking.
When Kemeys, now 29, told the man his occupation, he was questioned about school donations.
The issue, where families are billed for the “donations” to their children’s state-funded schools or the children miss out on certain activities, has long been contentious.
Kemeys was astounded that the man sitting next to him, a father with children in school, did not know the donations were eligible for tax refunds.
“I thought everyone knew that, but when I dug around I found out that 60 percent of them were going unclaimed.”
That turned out to be about $46 million worth sitting in the IRD’s bank accounts and in just two months Schoolrebates.co.nz has transferred more than $70,000 back into the accounts of New Zealand parents.
“When I found out there was this problem, I just felt like I had to fix it,” he told Newsroom.
The business is growing so fast it’s pulling in 100 new clients each week, has witnessed a competitor start, and Kemeys has been told large accounting firms’ clients are checking in to ensure they too are receiving the service.
“Everything that we are making is going straight back into advertising. We are effectively paying for parents to learn how to do it and it’s up to them if they want to use us.
“I could still be sitting in my accounting job…if I wanted to, but I just love helping people, it’s my number one value.
“I hate the idea of people missing out just because they don’t know how to do one simple thing.”
It is businesses like this that are on the rise, where the core purpose is to help people.
“They are making money but it’s not their sole purpose,” said Reynolds. They have a core purpose of being about more than shareholder returns.
“Businesses are here for more than business returns, they have a role to play and they are able to be a powerful force for good.”
Luke Kemeys and Phillip Smith have returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kiwi parents who have used their service to make a claim for their unclaimed school donations.