The original article was published by B1G1: Business for Good on 3rd February 2014. Written by Ted Schellenburg.
When we met Ben Walker, the CIO of B1G1 Lifetime Partner, Inspire CA in Brisbane the other day we knew we were in for something VERY different. Ben told us “The CIO stands for Chief Inspiration Officer.” An ‘inspiration officer’ at an Accounting Firm??
Then we met Cam Silk, the CEO, or “Chief Espresso Officer” of the Inspire Café.
We’ve never met one of those either at ANY Accounting Firm anywhere.
You see, the Inspire Café is at the very core of INSPIRE CA — the ‘CA’ stands for ‘Chartered Accountant’ — in Brisbane’s Doggett Street. Very quickly, you get the impression that these folks are not your average, every day kind of accountants.
Inspire Café is a brilliantly conceived café, an ideal meeting space and business centre for those in close proximity to the Central Business District and on the way to the Brisbane Airport. The idea was to create a space where business owners and entrepreneurs could unite over great coffee and a bite to eat and share ideas.
The accounting firm (Inspire CA) had already been a part of B1G1, and now so is the café. Inspire Café has four meeting rooms, with that great coffee and a full service, gluten free menu.
“For every coffee or drink we sell, a child receives access to water for a day – for each meal we provide, we feed a child at school in India,” Ben Walker said. “We’re also looking to have milestone contributions in 2014. For example: for every 10,000 coffees, we would look to send a child in Cambodia to university for a year!”
“We’ve had great feedback from our customers,” Cam Silk added. “We’re already getting a strong sense of community, and we just opened the café in December! Most people want to know how to get involved in the giving – it’s great!”
These guys had a dream. A dream of a place you can enjoy a good coffee and something decent to eat with entrepreneurs and business people from different sectors, united by the special pleasure that comes from finding somewhere where you feel you belong.
Men and women who know the codes of business because they’ve been involved in start-ups, seen the rise and fall of big names and small. People who would like to hang out somewhere central with a coffee while they plan their next move. Or even a beer on a Friday night as a way to kick off the weekend. (Ben has already decided to add BDM to his business card, as in Beer Development Manager.)
Brisbane’s new Inspire Café is a place to relax, to kick ideas round in a meeting. To sit back, and think forward.
“We work with people from all kinds of backgrounds,” Ben told us. “People with amazing skills and rich deep knowledge. And all this time we’ve been wondering how to get all these great people together. The simple goal of these meet-ups is to bring passionate, inspiring and aligned people together in the same room to talk about living a life and doing work that matters.”
“And one of the things that really matters to us is B1G1. It gives everyone involved, us, our team, our suppliers and our customers an extra sense of purpose in everything we do. And that’s just a great feeling every day.”