Mission Unplugged Episode 8 - Scott Mageean

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Scott Mageean and his wife Luella, with their large tribe of children, are currently based in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Scott works as the Enterprise Manager at Urban Life, a missional faith community where he coordinates business ventures and investments with a focus on God's Kingdom of justice. From fronting hardcore bands, moustache twirling, and running a fair trade clothing company, Scott has enjoyed numerous hobbies, approaching them all with the same Kingdom focus of justice, fairness, and love. As a family, the Mageeans are passionate about embedding in their community and seeing other people flourish.

In this episode of Mission Unplugged, Mitch caught up with Scott to talk money, wealth, and investing, and how these things can be an active part of the economy of justice of the Kingdom of God.


Mitch: Hey Scott, welcome to Mission Unplugged it's awesome to have you on the podcast.

Scott: I'm stoked to be here. Thanks, Mitch.

Mitch: For our listeners, tell us a bit about yourself. What's been happening from birth till now?

Scott: From birth till now? A fair bit of ground to cover, at 35 I'm probably a fair bit older than a few of the listeners and it would be a lot of time to cover all of that. But I am a father of five, married to Luella, and we have five children our eldest is 10, so you can imagine it's a fair bit of crazy noisy sort of environment and hopefully we won't hear any of that in the background today. But we like to say that we live in the beautiful chaos of the joy of a large family and all that sort of energy. I currently work for a local church called Urban Life as the Enterprise Manager managing their business affairs, the business side of things, the facility as well as launching some social enterprises. We do some investing in different things like that as well that I help oversee and we'll dig into that a little bit. And I think deep down I'm a hardcore muso kid, played in a lot of bands throughout my life and I'm just sort of, I don't know, that's all kind of jumbled together to make me who I am today.

Mitch: Yes, a bit of beautiful chaos of a life well lived.

Scott: I don't know if it's well, sometimes it feels like a bit of aimless wandering, but then it all comes together and you think, maybe God does know what he's doing in directing me.

Mitch: So Mission Unplugged, obviously we love chatting mission, we love chatting justice and all that good stuff. What do you consider to be your first experience of mission?

Scott: Yes, so I grew up in a non-Christian household and my first experience of church was when I lived in Alice Springs for a little while. In primary school, we went to a Catholic school. And so I thought I knew kind of what faith was because I'd been to a Catholic school in Alice Springs and considered it quite boring. And so I'd sort of resisted church and a lot of that until just before I turned 18. But I do jump into things pretty hard. So I kind of went from just before I turned 18, becoming a Christian, to being on a mission’s trip in Vanuatu within about six months. And so, just one of the local churches was organizing this trip to Vanuatu, and I felt impressed upon me that it was a great sort of thing. And so I gave significantly to help some of the other youth get along there and I think it was kind of like the week before cut off, I was thankfully working at a factory job making some pretty good money in my gap year, that I can just kind of turn around and go, maybe I'm meant to be on that trip.

And so we did a couple of weeks in Vanuatu, which was incredibly shaping for me in the sense of actually getting to live with Christians and being like, seeing how people respond to headaches when you live with each other, seeing how people live as a community. And so as we spoke leading into our conversation today it was reflecting on some of that that made me remember, it was that trip to Vanuatu where I decided that I would do a business degree when I got back and finished my gap year, that perhaps business could be used in a way to help people who have to consider whether or not they can pay to go to high school, that maybe enterprise could help sort of change people's stories. But yes, so that was the beautiful country of Vanuatu, it was my first missions experience. Straight preaching, and all the sorts of things, you'd imagine in a missions trip like that.

Mitch: What was it that you saw in Vanuatu that sort of links you to the idea of business as mission or business as church work?

Scott: I think a few things were going on. One was where we stayed particularly in Vila, the church was the only property that had access to electricity. You had to have to own it, and so everybody just had constructed these makeshift houses and didn't have access to electricity and different things like that. So you see, instantly the properties are some of the things that people don't have access to. But I guess, you also start to see that money does allow people access to the services and rights and so I suppose I saw the church, just being quite generous in that regard, and caring and providing for the neighbours and sort of doing that. I think, as well, is probably the first time I saw an economy that's quite complex in regards to who owns what, and what does it mean for national people to be displaced or not have access, a lot of the businesses are owned by foreign people, whether they be Australians or another sort of Westerners that have gone over there, or whether it was the kind of Asian market that was moving into Vanuatu. And so again, you see, in some sense, beautiful resorts, beautiful opportunities to do things, and then you see local people who genuinely had to decide whether or not they would pay for their children to go to high school.

Mitch: Yeah, that huge wealth gap.

Scott: Yeah. And I think when money is tied to education, well, how else do you change the trajectory of something without getting an education, and if education costs, then we need to find a way to fund some of this. We don't magically close those gaps and allow people all of a sudden to be educated, and then change the local systems for themselves. So, I think it was that idea that generating income, and allowing people to have access to work, the flow-on effect of that is so much greater than we often understand, and particularly a lot greater when we live in a place like Australia, where we have quite a few safety nets that catch us if we don't have the funds. The government will help us get health care, the government will help us get an education. and there are just other places where that's not the case.

Mitch: I've heard a lot of people over the years reflect around the idea of like, we all know money can't buy happiness. And we all know, money's not the be-all and end-all of the things that we work towards, but money allows us to buy a whole bunch of the stuff that does contribute to our thriving and our happiness.

Scott: Yes, that's right and I think as well like sort of building on that point, I remember hearing some of the crew from UNOH previously speaking about, even if we choose to go and live in poverty, we often still have options and part of it has been, the finances have allowed us to have those options, that we might be in poverty for a time. But we can often go back and find work, or we'll find networks that can help us get back up on our feet. And our education in that sense, is such a gift to us and yes, I think you're right, if money doesn't buy happiness, it certainly provides an opportunity for some of the security and the ability to pivot and do some of the things that we need to when life is hard.

Mitch: Yes, that's a much better way of putting it than I did. So, from that experience in Vanuatu, that idea of mission, and I know that's not even a word that necessarily everybody particularly likes or thinks about in those terms, but how has that your understanding of what mission is grown and changed from that experience in Vanuatu? Is it any different? Has it evolved?

Scott: Yes, I think it's certainly become a lot broader, is probably what I would say. One of the tremendous things about Vanuatu and one of the things that I want to be very careful of, as a Westerner, is their acceptance of some sense of spiritual realm is just incredible. And so the stories they tell are just taken for a fact, like I could say, yes this is what happened, and so some of those legacy stories about early sort of missionaries and different things like that. And so I don't want to throw that all out. But as you settle back into Australia, there's this huge culture shock, particularly when you're a relatively new Christian like I was this huge culture shock around, we just don't talk like that we don't see God at work in the same way. And so in the same way that we don't see what they might consider witchcraft, and just all sorts of kind of elements, that there's another realm that they are open to. And so I think settling back into Australia, it was a fair headspin to try and get my bearings again, on how the world operates, and particularly what's happening here in our own country of Australia. And so, yes, I sort of continued with my business degree and I think in hindsight, as you look back, you see some key shaping moments, and one of them was, I remember just having a tremendous sense of favour, I don't know a better word than that to use, but as an introverted redhead, who's pretty shy and insecure… these guys just wanted to hang out with me and the uni group was quite like, hey, Scott, you're here, and welcoming and sort of took me into their circle, and I was just so busy with church world, I was so busy with the youth group and Sundays, your two services and being on the worship team, and accountability group, Bible study --- my diary was pretty full and yet this group made space for me, and wanted me to sort of hang out with them. And so I remember one key evening where we sort of had three significant parties, like 21sts and 18ths and different things like that. And it was just overwhelming thinking, man, how are we going to get to all these events in one night? And what it meant for our university friends and us to get to their parties was significant. And so it caused for me a moment to sort of think man, what am I doing with my time I spend so much in his church bubble and not an awful lot getting to know the people that I'm studying with, getting to know the people that live around me, the people that I work with. And so I think that sent me on a whole sort of exploration of, like, local mission, what does it mean to connect with the people that I live with, what does it mean to figure out how to communicate this idea of God and the Gospel to people that I live with, not over the seas, not in different places.

And so, we spent, my wife and me, at different times as our relationship progressed, we explored different senses of local neighborhood mission, engaging with our neighbors, trying to learn to come alongside people. And so we've spent a fair bit of time doing that and kind of through all that journey, I ended up in ministry. So I think, for me, one of the things that have certainly shifted is just, when I think of mission, I'm not thinking about 18 year old me in a market in Vanuatu, giving my testimony and hoping people will come to know Jesus in that way. I've expanded to a much broader sort of, what is human flourishing look like? What does the Kingdom of God come in all its fullness look like for us as people, for neighborhoods, for society? And so I picture verses like Jeremiah 29:7, where it says, "Seek the welfare of the city where I've sent you into exile, pray to the Lord on its behalf for, in its welfare, you will find your welfare." I think of the banquet table in Isaiah 25, where God gathers all people for a feast with rich food and well-aged wines and it tells us that death has been swallowed up forever, that he wipes away the tear from all faces, take away our disgrace, and it this communal picture of kind of societies of neighborhoods of communities, discovering and embracing and being welcomed to the Kingdom of God at play. And I think for me, that's where, again, some of this idea of opportunity and business and the well-being of others kind of all becomes entangled in this idea of mission.

Mitch: Backtracking a little bit in your story, you mentioned that music has been a big part of your life, you tell us a bit more about that and how that's interacted with your faith and mission and business degree and everything else?

Scott: Yes, for sure. I was starting to mess around, I have done some further study around the area of vocation and I've got some themes I want to explore and I was kind of messing around writing the start of my, I don't know, what might be the intro to my book on vocation. And I was reflecting on that idea of music that deep down there is a sense that I am a musician first, in the sense that the emotion of music has always driven me. I feel like I have been formed by more musicians and lyricists than I have pastors and preachers, and that could be bad, that might be one way my theology’s the way it is. But I've found in artists, words, and imagery, and music and just things that have been able to actually kind of almost articulate the cries of my soul for me. And so yes, music has always kind of shaped me and I've always sort of found different artists that I've enjoyed that have articulated some of my wrestles, declared some of the things that I deeply want to believe and hold to, and so, as a kid, I always just played in bands, new metal sort of bands, rock and roll sort of bands. And I've been lucky to tour parts of Australia in a couple of different bands, rock bands, and if I'm honest, it was a metalcore band. I like to call it hardcore, but there's a distinction for me, but...

Mitch: Yes, for what it's worth, that means nothing to me.

Scott: But I'm an okay bass player and we had a bit of a falling out with our vocalist at the time around our Christian values as a band. And so, he got the boot and I stepped in on the mic and figured out how to scream. And so the last project I had, I had the joy of running around and screaming the Gospel at people's faces, and that was an incredibly good time. So I'm trying to reimagine what an old man does with a music career now because I'm trying to make that transition.

Mitch: I've got to ask though, what's the distinction between metalcore and hardcore?

Scott: Well, partly an image thing. So hardcore guys are tough guys often, you know they mosh and... And metalcore is your skinny black jeans and your high guitar solo, kind of things like that. So it's just an attitude kind of thing, we felt like we were being the old school hardcore guys.

Mitch: Subcultures have subcultures have subcultures have subcultures, hey?

Scott: That's exactly it, we could go for a deep dive here, don't you worry.

Mitch: As tempting as it is I think you’d just end up talking to yourself, I’d have nothing to contribute. Have you heard of this band Mumford and Sons? Where do they sit in the spectrum?

Scott: Well, even that you got the different elements don’t you?

Mitch: Yes, that's true, too. So back to, pun intended. back to business. Your business training and your work inside of that field has been a pretty consistent thing, you told me when we were catching up, you obviously studied, and then you took on a bunch of the business stuff for your bands, a bit of your own business with Life Threads, and some of the other projects that you've been working on. What about now where you’re placed in Urban Life? How does that sort of play into what you're doing?

Scott: Yes, so Urban Life is a pretty unique church with their story. So they were a sort of suburban church, local sort of church, they sold up and decided that they wanted to be embedded in the community about 15 years ago. And so they've run in the past like a community cafe, some sort of social enterprises, they've got some impact investments and different things like that. And so they were looking for a business manager to come on board and I entered that role with them, which was much more sort of just your church budgeting kind of stuff. And then that shifted kind of at the end of last year started this year into what we've termed an Enterprise Manager, which is that sense of the enterprise of the church, and kind of the business side of it, the tax, the budgeting, all that sort of stuff. We also employed a few other roles around community engagement and justice and generations. And so, just kind of all the procedures and process for that get to be some of my wheelhouses and then trying to develop social enterprises for them that would create employment opportunities for youth at risk, particularly young people that have had an out of home care experience.

And so just based on, as you sort of mentioned, I've established a couple of brands. Life Threads was a Fairtrade clothing company and, for a bit of fun, I was also importing men's grooming products into the country for a little while. And so, just that experience of launching brands and getting things up and running, they invited me to come and do the work that I'm doing with Urban Life, which has also been getting across our impact investing and different funds and uses for Urban Life. So my role currently is a real mixed bag of kind of general sort of church governance, church running, facility management, dealing with tenants that use our building, looking at other opportunities that we can have there, looking at social enterprises, and what we can establish, and then just taking care of our funds. And it's an incredibly exciting role, it's a real like, as we've sort of said before, that my whole world is often a fair jumble and mix of different things. And I think part of that's, although it feels unintentional is by design, I need multiple stimuli and if I'm playing in bands and studying this and looking at that. And so, I think for me, this has been a pretty ideal role around that, and deep down marries that idea that, hey, maybe business is a part of how we bring the Kingdom of God to our communities, is part of the way that we bring the flourishing that we need to see in our communities. So that's my role at the moment.

Mitch: Can you drill down more into that relationship between business and the Kingdom because, to be perfectly honest, I'm always skeptical of the idea of wealth and faith alongside one another. I think we see a fairly consistent picture across the Bible, God is on the side of the poor God is on the side of people who have been excluded, and don't have the power and influence that wealth and money kind of bring. And Jesus is a poor itinerant preacher wandering around without a home, he and his 12 closest mates who have all up and left their jobs. What's the relationship with business and how does that work alongside faith and mission?

Scott: So, I think when we look at scripture when we look at that idea of wealth and sort of faith, what we've tended to do is separate them in that sort of way and if I'm honest, I think almost, even though we've separated them, our concept of wealth has still been the same wealth accumulation of the world, in the sense of, we have people that are kind of being missionaries, or church workers or whatever, that don't have any funding. And then so we need kind of the rich Christian guy, to think the work you're doing is worthwhile, from my excess I will contribute, as an opposed to this idea that maybe it's not so much about wealth accumulation, but it's about generation and sharing the wealth. And so moving from that idea of lack into an idea of excess. And I think as, well, I think we see that even in the Old Testament when God is dividing the land up for the tribes, the Levites are given possession of land to use for their well-being, you know. It gets exploited, but I think we see a system of shared provisions and this idea that, like the Jeremiah passage, that our well-being is tied up with one another's, our welfare is tied up with one another's. And so, when one aspect of our society isn't provided access to the services that it needs, when it doesn't have the opportunity for education and things like that, we've managed to convince ourselves that we're okay with that, as opposed to the idea that somehow my welfare is not being fulfilled because this group of people is being denied access to their welfare. And so, I think for us, that's been a big kind of thing about how do we make sure that when we talk about wealth, when we talk about business, when we talk about ideas, that it's about the spread of that, the share of that, people actually getting what should be theirs, it's not the traditional business model where somebody at the end of the line kind of has to lose out for us to make the maximum profit, but it's trying to find ways to offer something of value in a way that respects the processes to get there.

And I think as well, one of the things that Urban Life have articulated well that I've sort of loved coming on board is that idea of with our impact investing and the other activities that we do, but that we would want our money to behave, or have the same sort of ethics or values or contribute the same sort of impact that we would want our own lives to have. And I think there have been times where we've pulled those apart a little bit and if we've done some dodgy business deals, but my tithe to the church increases because of it, well, then it's fine. I'm a good upstanding Christian businessman. As opposed to, no no no, we need to make money in ways that are ethical so that we can contribute appropriately.

Mitch: So one of the phrases that I've heard a lot around this whole business as mission sort of field is the idea of “social enterprise”. Can you tell us a bit about what that means?

Scott: Yes, for sure. So there's not a universal sort of agreed-upon definition for a social enterprise but the general idea is that these are organisations that use market forces or are for-revenue companies that are trying to make a profit to then address some social causes or social impact. So it could be environmental causes, it could be about delivering a service that otherwise isn't available in those areas or isn't cost-effective in those areas, creating employment and training opportunities for people of disadvantage or people in need. And so I suppose part of what it needs is to be sustainable in some sort of way, it needs to be generating income and being able to sort of fuel itself that it's not just sort of charity activity that seeks to give out, but is using the market sort of forces to generate income and do the work that it wants to do.

And so, as I sort of mentioned, there are different ways organisations can do that. So you can just be raising revenue and making money and then giving to the cause that you want to see changed, in a sense, or you could be fueling some of your work through a cafe that makes money. Or the business activity that you are doing is helping to achieve those goals. So the business activity is employing people to train them or allowing those people to have it. So, it's been a booming sort of segment of the industry, and a lot of sort of push from the government to help develop social enterprises has been happening in the last few years, which has made it a very exciting space.

Mitch: So what is impact investing? You've mentioned that a few times talking about, particularly some of the stuff that Urban Life is involved in, give us the rundown?

Scott: Yes, so impact investing. I mean, there's a whole heap of different ways that can sort of take shape in regards to, you can still do it through viable options on the stock market in regards to options that are trying to create social good, and businesses that are running towards that end. So Urban Life has it has a spread of investments that we manage, some sort of defensive income where we still look for good social brands that we can back and be shareholders in. And then it's also looking at other opportunities that aren't so secure, aren't so safe, to be fair, and saying, hey, if we give money to this organisation that's looking to do this work, then we allow the following sort of social impacts to happen. So Urban Life has been involved with a coffee plantation in Vanuatu, and are involved with a coconut farm over there, and we're able to lend them money in different loans and different investment sort of structures that banks wouldn't necessarily be inclined to lend to maybe because of the risk, maybe because they don't understand the business model.

And what it means is that the money that we give to these organisations to run doesn't just help a viable business option happen, but they then have a flow on impact on the families of the people that these businesses employ. So with the coffee farmers, they are given a plot of land, they get given the seedlings that they need to start growing coffee, they harvest it, but through that, then we're also making sure that their children get to go to school. We're able to see kind of a business structure built around that. And that's some of the kind of more high-risk investments that Urban Life has been involved in. There are also social impact bonds, so I know Churches of Christ Queensland have some things going on and there are a few other kinds of things even here in Australia, where, as investors, we purchase sort of stocks into helping housing developments and youth programs that the government is trying to change outcomes for young people. And we're kind of helping provide the infrastructure for that and at the end of the program, we'll get the money back.

And so, it's just a way of actual sort of saying, hey, rather than our money sitting in a bank, getting interest, rather than our money kind of just being in a nest egg somewhere, we can use this money. And any often, we're still seeing some good returns on it. But we're able to say, while our money is getting us these returns, we're seeing businesses change whether it's just a much more clean sort of health and beauty product brand, even if that's kind of part of it, if they're changing the industry in regards to that. We have shares in some medical companies that are changing the game in regards to client care and infection control and stuff like that. I mean, that's a wonderful outcome. Why would we not want that? And our money is helping to do that and so yes, that's kind of rough overshot of how some of the impact investing works.

Mitch: Look, it sounds like it's the kind of thing that is doing a good job of using the systems and the things that are in place to have a positive impact on the world. But is it something that you need a whole bunch of capital, a whole bunch of wealth behind you, to be able to get involved in? How does it scale?

Scott: So, it's certainly something that is the entry points into it are harder or higher in the sense that the cost of actually assessing the risk and all of this is quite high. And so, Urban Life was quite lucky in the sense that our previous senior minister now works with an organization called The Difference Incubator, TDI, and she's all over this sort of stuff. And so she started Urban Life on the journey and linked us in with some great organizations that help us do that. And there's just even some entry barriers in regards to dollars spent and things that, Annie and I were speaking about the other day, and we asked this question, and she reminded me that one of the easy ways to start is to think about if we think this kind of impact investing stuff is important, then, one of the easiest ways to start is just to think about who are we banking with, that our banking is actually in a sense -- banks make money doing all these trades and all these deals and thinking about who they're invested in. So if our banks are ethical, if our banks are being responsible with how they're making money, then that is a part of that. We're encouraging good business practice there.

The second one, which again, is quite a large one, when you think about it in regards to impact and life, length of the investment, is our superannuation. So a lot of super companies are starting to play in this space about actually either being more ethical with their investments, or leaning into and stepping into impact investing. So again, if you're interested in this, but don't have the money required, well just making sure that the investment of your superannuation is with a company that is going to do this, then again, you can see some of the things we get to see with, oh that solar farm up there, we're helping that happen. And that's cool, who doesn't want to see, my money still grew, and I got to help this happened.

The other thing, I think not so much impact investing, but in regards to just using our wealth in ways that we think are good ideas, and helpful in regards to changing the sort of outcome for others, is what startups do we know? What other companies do we know that are doing some sort of, fundraising, or even a Kickstarter, or different things like that. There are some organizations that are trying to raise funds, particularly in this time to get through the season, or just they've got a product that they're trying to launch that… I just believe in the outcome enough of what they're trying to achieve, that I just kind of want to almost go, yes, I'll buy that first item. And it's not so much about the first item, but it's just about, I would give money to see those outcomes. So why would I not give those monies to a brand to try and help them change the way things are happening? And I think there are some companies, we've seen organisations like Outland Denim get some huge publicity out of their ethical standards and they're being environmental in regards to the way that they manufacture their denim, which is a high waste industry. And they're working on developing technology around that. They're employing women overseas that would otherwise not be able to get a job. In a sense, they're doing some of the stuff that we'd love to see charities doing in a commercial sort of facing way and so I kind of think why would you not find ways to sort of get involved in that sort of stuff, if you can?

Mitch: So looking forward over the next little while, sort of what's on the horizon for Urban Life in this kind of field?

Scott: Yes, so we're sort of in the thick of spreadsheets at the moment, looking at some of our investment strategy and making sure that's on track for the next sort of little wall, particularly as we've changed our structure locally. We're digging into a few different business ideas. So we've got a soft launch on a cleaning company that currently employs a couple of young guys that had an out-of-home care experience. And so for us, this has been about how do we train them? How do we get our people into these roles? What sort of supports do we need to put around young people? So yes, we've soft-launched that and we'll be looking to try and scale that and what we can do in that space. We're continuing to look at different ways that we can use our facility for the good of our community, and also how we can again, create some employment opportunities through that. So we've been lucky to be able to curate some of the space behind us. We have this amazing courtyard that was established by Eastland and we have run some gigs and events and different things in there.

So we're just trying to look at ways that we can maximize the activities that happen in there in those spaces, but then also what employment opportunities exist for us to create work for people. And then one exciting sort of thing: we're in conversation with a wonderful organization out of Colombia, and absolutely nothing may come of this but either way, they deserve a plug. The Cacao Hunters or Cacao de Colombia, which is just “chocolate of Colombia”, they have these wonderful business model where they're actually as the native people are able to retake and reclaim some of the lands that were originally theirs, and get their knowledge around some of the cacao plants and we should be farming this thing, they're finding chocolate in some amazing places that they're then making sure they pay a decent price for it. So, we've been in some conversations with them just to see if there are ways what we're doing over here can help what they're doing over there. But also, it's meant to be an exceptional product so we're waiting to get our hands on some of that and see if that conversation can happen. So for us, we've been incredibly blessed in regards to some of the networks we have and some of the conversations we get to have around things. We've been a little bit intentional too, I suppose around, joining in with some other networks like the Social Enterprise Network of Victoria, SENVic, there are some great organizations out of that that have sort of faith origin sort of stories. Green Collect is one of those. We've been hanging out with a social enterprise guild out this way with Now And Not Yet Cafe; they're doing some wonderful stuff. And so, there's just a whole heap of different organizations doing some wonderful stuff and so when you hang in those spaces when you kind of have those conversations, there's always little sparks of possibility. And for us, it's always about which ones of those can we leverage to create opportunities for people that would help change their trajectory? And I think for us because we're so embedded in Ringwood and doing the things that we do, we've got to see firsthand in our community meal, and our winter shelter program and stuff, guys sleeping rough that find employment that the following year are back volunteering to help as opposed to being recipients of the program, because we've seen what having income has made for them. And so I think when you get to see some of those results when you get to hang out with some of the guys that have seen their life turn around like that, or just actually heard some of their stories about why they're in the position they're in, kind of fuels that, man, we've got to be able to do something and.

Mitch: That all sounds amazing. So for people who might be listening to this episode, and it's sparking something in them, they’re feeling excited about the things that you're talking about. What would you say to those people who might be interested in utilizing business for faith and mission?

Scott: Yeah. Thankfully, we're in a time where the social enterprise has become an industry, that governments are helping to establish an investor, there's plenty of resources out there in regards to SENVic. Swinburne has done some developmental stuff, and there's just some wonderful organizations. So you can certainly find some work there. It is hard work. Our current models generally do exploit someone. So either we're ripping the customer off charging them way more than we should, or we're finding somewhere in the supply chain to charge less for. And so it is hard work trying to come to market with a commercially viable product that either is changing the industry in regards to who it includes, or the services it provides, or just raising money for a cause. So, be prepared for that knuckling sort of thing.

But it's an incredibly exciting sort of thing and for me, I think it starts with some of our privileged position, I mentioned earlier, Life Threads… For me, Life Thread started as a brand because I realized that all the culture and the music and all the things that I love, I was privileged enough to enjoy because of where I grew up, they had I grown up in a country where the cotton was getting picked for most of the T-shirts I wear I just wouldn't have had any of those opportunities. And so I think when we start with that sort of, man, so much of the world we get to enjoy is a privileged kind of thing that we get to enjoy and we can use business as a way to sort of change those stories for other people I think you need something that fuels that kind of passion to keep going and go with the knocks and roll with the punches that happen. I'm looking at other networks that are available and just so many other people are so generous with their time that this sort of no dumb questions and everyone's up for that. So find some of those networks find those people and get involved.

Mitch: Yes, it's good. Well, Scott, it's been fantastic catching up with you and chatting about all this. If people are interested in connecting with you outside the podcast, where can they find you? Where can they find Urban Life?

Scott: Yes, Urban Life. It's probably best just, the website’s there but we're pretty much social media is actually where we're much more active. So just Urban Life is most of the sort of tags at @UrbanLifeCommunity generally and then, again, Scott Mageean, there's not too many people with a surname like that. So yes, I'm in all those spots as well.

Mitch: Fantastic. Well, thanks so much for coming on the podcast tonight it's been awesome.

Scott: Privilege, Mitch enjoyed this conversation. Thanks.


Connect with Urban Life on Facebook and Instagram:

Check out Scott's hardcore band Judge Our Hearts on Spotify at

For more information on social enterprise, and resources discussed in this episode, visit and

This interview is a transcript of an episode of Mission Unplugged. You can listen to the interview on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Transcription by MissTranscript.

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