It was a passion for aiding society that led to the creation of Nathanael's tea enterprise, threeonesix.
From an early age, Nathanael Foo has had an interest in seeking justice – to help others who needed a hand and make full use of things, extracting their maximum potential. It is this passion for aiding society that has led to the creation of his tea enterprise, threeonesix.
“threeonesix is about social consumer goods. We focus on regions around the world that are hotbeds for exploitation, and enter partnerships with local producers who commit to producing quality products and who focus on creating safe and stable job options. Together, we work to support these craftspeople and their communities with these safe options away from vulnerability and exploitation.”
Nathanael was inspired to create positive social impact after watching a documentary in 2012 about human trafficking in Southeast Asia. After a two-month sabbatical where he travelled to meet with non-government organisations in Cambodia and Thailand, Nathanael left his job as an occupational therapist, and in 2013 was offered an opportunity at an international anti-human trafficking organisation in San Francisco.
“During my time there I realised the connection between global supply chains, local industry development and systems of exploitation, and knew I needed to understand the business world. I commenced a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at UWA in 2014 to learn how to develop profitable, scalable and socially impactful business models.”
Nathanael finished his MBA on exchange at Copenhagen, where he was offered a role at an investment firm where the focus was creating cause-driven enterprises. This provided a setting that consolidated what he’d learned over the past few years and became the springboard for starting up threeonesix. Nathanael returned to Perth in 2016 to begin the venture, dedicated to sourcing ethically produced goods from origin, and implementing a business model that would create lasting social impact directly through supply chains.
Nathanael says his time at UWA formed the building blocks of his perception of the business world. Having the discussion-based learning mediated by professors was the best possible method to his learning style and the Business School’s world-class facilities helped foster a collaborative learning environment.
“The opportunity to complete my studies in Copenhagen was made possible through UWA. My education formed a very strong basis for contributing and excelling at a foreign and very internationally competitive setting in Scandinavia. My time in Copenhagen provided me with the opportunity to specialise in social entrepreneurship and supply chain management – crucial disciplines that relate to my career aspirations.”
Having launched in July 2016 with a specialty tea range, threeonesix seeks to educate Western consumers while marketing appealing and quality crafted goods, helping to ensure lasting social impact is created.
“I think starting up a tea business without having started a business before, not knowing much about tea or coming from any tea-related sector is as close to impossible as you can get…what I’ve learnt over the past four years is to do things you are truly passionate about. If you don’t know what it is, then it’s important to disconnect from life, and head ‘into the wild’ to truly find it. Do things in life that leave people and things in a better state than when you found them.”
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