Making Purpose Work

Photograph by Josh Robenstone


Consultant by day, entrepreneur by night, Matt Teluk says both roles supercharge each other and provide purpose. 

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ENTREPRENEUR: In Matt Teluk’s spare bedroom are hundreds of kilos of coffee beans. In sacks. And he plans to roast them by hand because, he says, as a supplier of coffee to companies and office spaces, he needs to be very involved in the supply chain. “Traceability along the supply chain is really important to the specialty coffee industry.” Fair enough, you might think. But Teluk is a 25 year-old PwC consultant, who typically might work long hours and use the weekend to recuperate, not spend Saturday night running his small business, Monochrome Coffee Co.

Teluk is a consultant from 8.30am to 5.30pm and social entrepreneur at night, weekends and sometimes even through his working day. “Sometimes I have to duck out to a coffee-related meeting for an hour but people know I make the time up,” he says.

What drives him is knowing he is making a difference - in his professional and entrepreneurial life.

Monochrome Coffee was started by his partner Whitney Stacey, who also has a full-time job, as community lead at shared working space, Hub Australia. Five years ago, she visited Tanzania and was moved to help after seeing children struggle to get an education, with parents unable to find the $1200 to send a child to primary school for a year. The local farmers had perfect conditions for growing coffee in their small fields at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in rich volcanic soil. Why not help the farmers by buying the coffee beans, supply coffee to coffee-obsessed Australians and use the profits to send the kids to school in Tanzania?

Teluk and Stacey lived in Queensland but the business really took off two years ago when they moved to Melbourne, where Teluk says his love for coffee intensified. “We were swept up by the romanticism here. And we are producing ethically sourced single-origin coffee from the Kilimanjaro region. Baristas love it.”

Last year Teluk joined corporate tax at PwC as part of the graduate program. “I studied law and wanted to wear a suit and work in the city,” he says. But tax wasn’t for him. “I began conversations with people here and then moved to the Skills Reform Unit,” Teluk says. “I am passionate about education and the unit is part of PwC’s Skills for Australia, an organisation supported by the Australian Government that makes sure our training and qualification system reflects workplace realities so that students leave training with job relevant skills.”

Teluk is fortunate that his managers were “super supportive” of his need for purpose. A recent PwC report called Putting Purpose to Work shows that 79 per cent of leaders say that purpose is central to business success.

Research shows that purpose-driven businesses are more profitable, resilient and have more loyal customers and staff.  Many companies are working on their purpose statements, with huge employers ANZ and NAB recently spending 18 months conducting bank-wide programs to settle on their cause, values and communication strategies to share across digital, social and offline channels with staff and customers. But the next stage is more difficult. The report found that only 27 per cent of business leaders guide supervisors to have conversations with their staff – not just about what they do at work but why their work matters. Teluk says it just makes sense to have those conversations. “Business is so competitive that purpose is the new advantage,” he says. “There is a big trend towards doing business with purpose-driven organisations, and clients and colleagues want to hear we can take action on things we are passionate about and that reflects well on the firm.” He says that supervisors being supportive has a huge impact on retention and engagement. “Everyone has passions and employees want to work for companies that encourage external pursuits,” he says.

Teluk finds it easy to tie his purpose to PwC’s purpose, which is to build trust in society and solve important problems. He says he is building a solid network in the for-purpose community. “We have conversations with corporates who ask about us and they share the stories with employees and clients,” he says. These strong relationships reap rewards for PwC. “People speak highly of the firm and it adds to the perception that we do more than accounting: we provide many services and ways to help the community,” Teluk says. The two jobs, he says, supercharge each other, with his entrepreneurial activities bringing commercial acumen.

Teluk started by retailing online and is now approaching purpose-conscious large organisations to buy large volumes of coffee for staff. The business is on track to do $50,000 revenue in 2017-18 financial year and all the profit, expected to be more than $10,000, will send kids to school in Tanzania. “We love coffee, we’re having a tangible impact and we share that with lots of people. And it inspires others to take action on their purpose,” he says. 

The Press is a publication by PwC Australia, aimed at sharing expertise,capturing insights and working together to solve important problems.

This article first appeared in Edition 3 of The Press
By Amanda Gome, Editor, The Press

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