Some mornings I wake up overwhelmed - by thoughts of our increasing pollution, the destruction of our forests, the loss of animal life. I am angry at my desire to consume, to satiate my need to feel good by purchasing things, sometimes thoughtlessly. It is easier for me to blame the business, the advertising, the marketing that compels me to do so.
Image above: My nana, Mr Shri Kissoon Durgha, with members of his family, 1956, Clairewood, South Africa.
Well, one day I decided I had to take responsibility for all of this and despite me seeing business as the cause of my consumeristic problem, I also realised it could very well be the solution. We need business, to provide resources we are unable to produce ourselves and to also give employment and purpose to societies. More than that, what if we purposefully used business for good. What if I could use business for good?
Image: Miks & E at Patagonia
I learnt the word entrepreneur in grade 4 when I was 10 years old. Admittedly I am still yet to learn how to spell it out loud. But there was something about it that I knew it was important to me. It was explained to me as someone who takes inputs and transforms them into outputs that are valuable for people. To me it sounded like a great tool to help people.
My nana (grandfather) was an entrepreneur. In fact, as I only really learnt at his funeral in which there was in attendance over 1,000 people, how he had used business as a tool for good. My nana, through business, was able to provide employment for a marginalised group of people during an apartheid government in South Africa. He used business to provide scholarships to 100s of people who were unable to access education due to cycles of poverty. He used business to create spaces where important social gatherings could be helped. He was always so ready to give. And in doing so, he literally changed the lives of 1,000s of people for the better. To me this was the power of business. And it was then that I decided to be an entrepreneur. In essence my nana was a social entrepreneur, a title he would never have called himself and one that was only coined after his death.
It took me a long time from having this realisation at 10 years of age to 26 years old when I started my first social enterprise. I struggled through this time to reconcile what business does to the environment to realising the power of using business to achieve social impact, to positively change people’s lives. I knew it was possible.
Image: Miks with cuppa miks chai
So in 2017, I quit my corporate job, after one year of working post finishing university and founded social enterprises that were inspired by my grandfather’s ethos of business, service to people, the environment and the planet.
This is why all our chai ingredients are ethically sources and organise, why our packaging and labelling is compostable, why our profits fund suicide prevention, the biggest killer of young people in Australia and why we are in business. We will not compromise on this because for us business is and always will be a tool to serve.
The most important ingredient in our chai is conversation. We see our organic, ethically sourced, compostable packaged chai as the tool of service. The tool that enables conversations that matter to happen. When you drink a cup of MIKS CHAI, you are saying you are a safe place to share and receive stories. And we know, stories save lives.