Stephanie Malan

Co-founder and CEO, The Village Co.

National Finalist in EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2024 Australia

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The Village Co. came into existence in 2018. It was created as a result of Stephanie Malan’s experience as a Midwife and compassion towards new mothers in hardship. The issues that its clients are confronted by include domestic and family abuse, homelessness and poverty.

The not-for-profit provides practical items such as baby clothes, nappies, wipes, breast pads and sanitary pads to new mothers. The organisation is funded through fundraising, sponsorship and community appeals.

Stephanie, a midwife, co-founded The Village Co. with no prior corporate or not-for-profit experience, a disadvantage she transformed by surrounding herself with knowledgeable and passionate people to guide her. Then she started building networks and connections with potential donors and volunteers. Her instinctive approach has yielded impressive results: in its first year, The Village Co. helped 100 mothers in need; in FY22/23, it helped 941.

The Village Co.’s sustainability is built on a robust foundation of a diverse, skilled board and stringent governance practises. Its economic stability is bolstered by diversified revenue streams from corporate sponsorships, grants and community fundraising. This multifaceted approach creates a model that balances financial strength, ethical governance and stakeholder engagement.

Stephanie considers that it’s the Village Co.’s clients and the volunteers who selflessly donate their skills and time who are the true heroes of the organisation. The stories she hears inspire her continuously.

As a child, Stephanie was told she was “strong willed and determined” and that often meant her behaviour was challenging. She now regards those traits as strengths that guide her through life and help her achieve big things. And she certainly intends to achieve big things: the ultimate ambition of The Village Co. is to be able to ensure that all women, regardless of background or circumstance, have the essentials needed for themselves and their newborn. The energy and will to do this is generated by bringing “a village” together to support, care, empathise and ultimately empower others.