Queen of retail, Janine Allis, and founder mtime, UNSW Founders entrepreneur Sarah Agboola, caught up recently to share experiences, discuss the impact of the global pandemic on the startup scene and how mtime continues to thrive despite these challenging times. The exchange was facilitated through the #sharetheplatform campaign, launched by One Love Australia to highlight the great (and often unrecognised) work of black indigenous people of colour [BIPOC] founders.
#sharetheplatform calls for authentic conversations in the pursuit of building understanding around structural racism unfortunately still prevalent across Australia and the world. It aims to provide a platform for BIPOC founders to share their stories – both professional and personal – and to encourage individuals and businesses alike to join the discussion of how we can all contribute to meaningful change.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity this campaign has provided,”, says Sarah Agboola, founder mtime. “Apart from being able to talk with one of Australia’s iconic women entrepreneurs, the chance to amplify the ambitions of mtime to Janine’s audience was incredible.”
Drawing on her lived experience, Sarah launched mtime in 2017 with a mission to help busy working parents reclaim time and balance into their life by matching them with an in-home family assistant – monceirge – to support the four critical C’s – cooking, cleaning, chores and childcare. In what could feel like an insurmountable task during the COVID crisis, the business has gone from strength-to-strength, testament to Sarah’s tenacity to push forward with her vision of ensuring everyone has the support they need, while simultaneously creating meaningful employment for new or returning women to the workforce.
“During COVID-19 we are witnessing even more SOS moments from parents who are experiencing acute stress and major time-crunch. This reality has propelled our accelerated growth, both geographically and technically.”
Apart from transitioning the entire recruitment process online, another business pivot has been extending the mtime offer to innovative companies who are on the front foot in driving new ways to support their employees who are parents. Options to activate the solution include subsiding, funding a discount, salary sacrifice, or by integrating with an existing reward program.
“Mtime has witnessed several organisations rallying to offset this pain point so we are now offering a customised program where they can offer moncierge services to support their working parents.”
Reconfirming the fantastic impact Sarah is having (as a BIPOC founder), Janine closed the interview by asking her what initiative she would like to see in the startup community that would help founders and peoples of all backgrounds?
“More representation, because we can’t be who we can’t see. I really hope that by seeing this [interview], other people of colour will know they’re not alone.”
Mtime is a for purpose company that gives busy parents their time back by matching them with in-home family assistants (called moncierges), who are trained to support parents through a flexible mix of at home support and childcare. Moncierges help with cooking, cleaning, housekeeping, chores, and child minding to reinstate a better level of balance for many working parents suffering time-crunch. With a unique and scalable recruitment process mtime predominantly employs new and returning women to the workforce. This symbiotic model aims to drive deep societal change related to the disproportionate burden and lack of value placed on unpaid work. Serving families since 2017 from their Melbourne HQ, mtime has created hundreds of new jobs and delivered thousands of hours of support, partnering with local government communities and winning a major grant with Impact Investing Australia.
Mtime participated in the inaugural UNSW Founders 10x Accelerator program.