Profile: Emma Pethybridge, Ethical Republic

Emma's greatest passion is supporting communities to create enterprises that bring unique biodiversity, cultural stories and ecological landscapes to life.

That’s why she started Ethical Republic.

Thrive member, Emma Pethybridge, is based in Brisbane, but Ethical Republic services are designed to be delivered to clients worldwide.

Ethical Republic specialises in creating sustainable, inclusive livelihoods alongside protected areas and cultural heritage sites. They work with Indigenous people and local communities around the world to build conservation enterprises. These enterprises are designed to protect biodiversity, strengthen culture and generate jobs and income for communities to incentivize protection (rather than exploitation) of nature to meet short term needs.

After working for over 20 years working in the space, Emma saw projects and team leaders struggle with the same obstacles over, and over again: 

"That’s when I thought: What if I could use my experience to create a set of tools and methodologies that take the messiness and guess work out of implementation? What if this approach could empower project staff to get straight into delivering impactful projects, without wasting time and money on reinventing the wheel each time?"

Emma started working on the concept a year ago ( April 2020), but is now focusing on it full-time. However, this not her first entrepreneurial project:

"I was around 8 years old when I started my first 'tiny-scale' conservation enterprise. I gathered walnut shells from my family’s rural property and other natural products from the surrounding bush and turned them into arts and craft products, which I sold at the local market."

Since making the decision to launch Ethical Republic, I’m loving having the freedom to create something that I can be proud of. Running my own business is wonderfully chaotic – I can’t wait to start really getting in front of clients and creating partnerships to see how my products and services gain traction in the market."

Ethical Republic's target market includes development agencies, environmental NGOs, government departments, and in Australia, Aboriginal corporations. If you are reading this and have a connection you could share with Emma, please do by contacting her through the Ethical Republic.

I find getting my head around the accounting and tax obligations of running a small business quite daunting!

Right now, it's just me working in the business and I haven't yet engaged someone to help me with that side of things.

In these early days, there are so many competing demands on my time, so I'm hoping Thrive will be a smooth, integrated tool to help with the financial management aspects.

As for the future? Emma is following the steps to become a certified B Corporation within 12 months.

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