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Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2022 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

Helping businesses find their purpose

By Opportunity International Australia

Alana and Joshua have been building and growing their own business in Australia for 20 years, with an arm of their business dedicated to helping those in need around the world.

In August 2021, Alana and Joshua Nicholls founded an organisation called One Co. Foundation, which helps businesses find their purpose and have an impact on positive change in the world.

Ten years ago they began franchising their electrical business. They had the idea that for each van they had on the road, they would sponsor one child through World Vision. ‘One Van, One Child’, was a simple and scalable model that saw their impact increase proportionally to business growth. They now sponsor more than 200 children.

Alana and Joshua from One Co.

With the model in place and their expertise, Alana and Joshua established One Co. Foundation, with the idea to help other small to medium business owners increase their impact and make a difference together.

One Co. were looking for a microfinance project to support and, having heard about Opportunity International Australia, reached out to see how they could help. The partnership launched in November 2021.

“Everyone I talked to said that they were a great organisation so I knew it would be a good NGO to partner. with,” said Alana.

“The reason I wanted to partner with Opportunity is our foundation is made up of a whole bunch of passionate business owners who want to make a difference, and what a great project that business owners could relate to and a great way to pay it forward.

“You’re a business owner, so why not pay it forward and help another business owner start their own business.”

Opportunity and One Co. partner together to fundraise for the Start Up Project. It helps raise money to give microfinance loans to women in Indonesia to start their business. One Co. had three or four meetings with Opportunity before making the decision to commit to the partnership as they wanted to get it right.

“We are very thorough when we take on new partnerships, and Opportunity were the third project partner. It’s really important because we are inspiring businesses to give so it’s vital that we steward these finances really well and they go to great organisations on the ground, have great governance and they do amazing work, and that they can trust that we’re partnering with the best.”

One Co. also partners with World Vision with child sponsorship and Love Mercy, which is based in Uganda, and they are about to launch a new partnership in Australia. One Co.’s clients are mainly small to medium business owners, from start-ups to $15 million businesses.

“A lot of small to medium business owners may have the heart to want to do something, but they don’t have the resources, time or know-how, and that’s where One Co. can help,” said Alana.

“We can help them, we have the relationships, that’s what we do, that’s what we’re passionate about. We can help implement great charitable impact programs that make sense, are easy to communicate and we can plug in to their businesses.”

Since last year, One Co. has been welcoming businesses on board to join them in their giving journey. They now have 40 businesses from across Australia contributing to various projects.

“We had to cancel our launch event as we were in lockdown, but hopefully it will be going ahead in March,” said Alana.

“When you gather together you realise the impact you can have. When you have lots of business owners in the one room they inspire each other. That’s the power of it. Everyone does a little but when you multiply it, the impact is great.”

Alana sees One Co. Foundation becoming global in the future, with immense potential.

“I want to open business owners’ hearts to the fact that if we’re graced and gifted to build profitable businesses, it’s not just for ourselves but it’s actually helping make the world a better place,” said Alana.

Alana Nicholls on a World Vision trip
Alana Nicholls on a 2015 World Vision field trip to Zambia

Alana was brought up in an environment where being generous was encouraged, growing up in church in North Western Sydney. When she and her husband found that with their business they had the ability to make money, they wanted to share it.

“The more you learn to release money, and not let it hold you, you can actually control it, it doesn’t control you,” said Alana.

Alana and Joshua have always had the funnel approach with money, it comes in and goes out. One Co. is a funnel as well, with businesses donating money for it to be funnelled into charities like Opportunity. One hundred per cent of the donations received by One Co. go directly to Opportunity and their other partners.

There’s a proverb that Alana often shares with business owners. ‘The world of the generous gets larger and larger and the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.’  

“When you’re generous, just watch your world expand!” said Alana. “I’m excited for our businesses to step into that.”

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