Platinum Electricians CEO Josh and his wife Alana Nicholls with some of their sponsored children. Photo by Kyla-Jane Rickard, World Vision
Travelling to Zambia to visit the 100 children we sponsor throughout our Platinum Electricians network was nothing short of life changing and amazing. For the fortunate few that get to experience something like we did, I am sure they would all say the same thing. I’ve had two ‘big moments’ in the history of my 13 years in business – the first was choosing to franchise, and now visiting the community we support in Chikomeni, Zambia would be the second. It is such a huge milestone because it has totally revolutionised my reason for being in business and the big ‘why’ behind the Platinum Electricians brand.
I have always been passionate about giving, and it has always been my drive behind being in business. I have always known that we are blessed to be a blessing, and that as Australian business owners we have a mandate to help others less financially fortunate than us. I believe that to whom much has been given, much is required. Creating wealth as a business owner is not for excessive personal gain, but rather to bless and help others. This is something I have lived by in my personal and business life and in essence is the reason why we started the One Van One Child initiative.
One Van One Child is an initiative we came up with once we started franchising and chose to partner with World Vision to see it come to life. We wanted an initiative that allowed the collective Platinum Electricians brand to have huge impact as it grows throughout Australia, but still be achievable and scalable for individual franchises on a local level. So the idea was birthed to have one child sponsored for every Platinum Electricians van on the road Australia wide. So if a franchisee has one van we encourage them to sponsor one child, if two vans then two children, three vans then three and so on.
The concept took off and within two years we had over 100 children sponsored and momentum was building within the Platinum Electricians network. However to be totally honest, for me personally it was still a ‘great thing to do’ and I was proud of our achievement in numbers but there was still no emotional connection.
Well… The field trip to Zambia totally changed that! To meet the children, the community leaders, the mothers and their babies, the farmers who have been given greater tools for business has been the connection I needed. It has clearly shown me from the ground roots why I feel called to business and why I have a business with increased influence as our franchise network grows. The more influence we have with franchisees, customers, suppliers and employees throughout Australia, the further our message reaches to help developing communities all over the world.
I was absolutely blown away by the strategy and results that World Vision achieves. It was confirmation that we are partnering with a great organisation. Their philosophy of giving communities “a hand up – not a hand out” is excellent and aligns with my initial passion of changing generations. I was initially attracted to child sponsorship because I believed if you give children an opportunity it will change their future and therefore the future generations that follow them. By giving communities a ‘hand up’ you are resourcing them with the tools to sustain and build future growth in the community for generations to come. The fact that World Vision supports and is present in a community for 15 years, so that the community clearly understand World Vision is not their answer but their guide to show them how, is awesome!
The Zambian people were beautiful, friendly, generous and most impacting for me was their passion to learn. Not once did we hear community people say “please give me something” rather they asked “please show us how, so we can do it ourselves”. When asking a widowed mother living with HIV and three children what would most help her, her response was “please teach me to farm, so I can make money to buy school uniforms for my children”.
The sense of community was also amazing and much to aspire to for us Australians. When meeting a family of farmers who had been given cattle to plough their ground, which reduced their ‘by hand’ labour time from one week to 1.5 hours, they were passionate about now giving cattle and seed to their neighbours so they too could make more money to send their children to school. Their philosophy was to get the basics for their family and then help others in the community to do the same.
The future for Platinum Electricians and our One Child Foundation is exciting. The trip to Zambia has just been the beginning and has shown me the endless possibilities we have for influence all over the world. Our One Van One Child initiative will still continue to grow as more franchisees join the Platinum family, however we are currently strategizing around broadening our scope and what other projects and initiatives we can implement to maximise our influence and support for developing nations. The best is yet to come!