Sebastien International - The Web Series
In October 2010, Australian entrepreneur Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin embarked on a bold business challenge: become the Smallest Multinational in the World. Follow Sebastien's whirlwind journey around the world as he attempts to prove that with the right entrepreneurial spirit, you don't need to be big to be big. Sebastien International tells the inspiring story of a unique business adventure.
Episode 1 - Sydney
In February 2010, Sebastien Eckersley Maslin left the Australian Navy and became an Entrepreneur. Shortly after, he started a successful business in seven days with just AU$500. And now, he's taking on his biggest challenge ever: become the Smallest Multinational in the World. In episode 1, we join Seb at home in Sydney, preparing to set off to establish his business in Tokyo, Paris, London, New York and San Francisco in just 12 days.
So Sebastein, tell BM what you're doing right now.
Basically I'm in the middle of a round the world trip to become the world's smallest multi-national. It's a bit of a challenge. I'm also going do it in record time - two weeks. That's the end objective.
I'm no stranger to challenges. I've done a few of these business challenges in the past. One was a start-up in 7 days for under $500.00, a business which is still going today quite successfully. This is all just basically a way of inspiring other people and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in really just demonstrating that someone doesn't really have to be big to be big.
Tell us a bit more about Sebastien International. Sebastian International is the global organization. It's just a name. It's a branding exercise. The real business itself is called One for One, and it's basically an organization that for every product that you purchase through us, we donate a like product to someone of need.
It's just a really good way of increasing social conscience in consumers. I found through a lot of research that charities are fantastic and do a lot of good in the world, but people sometimes get a little disenfranchised about the whole charity concept.
They can't really see exactly what their donations actually do because charities work on a much larger scale. What One for One does is it gives people a direct understanding of exactly what their contribution is doing. So, for example, with a bottled water product, you buy a bottled water through One for One and we donate clean drinking water to a child in South Africa for a month. It's a very clear understanding of exactly what their purchases have done.
So talk us through the business model
Firstly, the One for One organization will promote other businesses in this space that currently do this, and there are others out there that already use this concept. We've got them on board already.
Secondly, we really want to show with One for One is that businesses can still have a charitable aspect and be profitable at the same time, and going to show that by having our own product line. So that's really where the actual business sense is.
So the One for One group is more of the marketing and PR aspect to the organization. We'll make our revenue in business in the actual One for One product line.
So why philanthropy?
Well for two reasons. One, I was heavily involved in the Club Kidpreneur Program in Australia, which is a not-for-profit organization that teaches our primary school children basic leader skills. I helped write the curriculum for that. I felt really good about doing that and I wanted to continue down that path.
Secondly, because this challenge is over a very short amount of time I needed a product or an idea that people would jump on and support. One for One is something people will get really excited about because they can see that you're doing good in the world.
It seemed like a really natural fit for this opportunity to go around the world and make a global organization, and also change the way people think and perceive products and consumerism.
There have been a few challenges, some of which we've managed to overcome on the way. The biggest challenge is time. I'm doing this in a very short amount of time, but things are going well and the support of the virtual office provider, Servcorp, just made it so much easier because I had the staff, systems and office space I could call my own.
The other real challenge is that large organizations have long lead times. They'll only meet businesses who want to sell them something in certain time periods and if you're not in that one week period they won't even talk to you. So it's a bit of a challenge to get around that. Calling lots of personal favors, using LinkedIn to identify the exact individual I want to talk to and leveraging my network and going through agents is my way around that.
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