What started out as fulfilling an entrepreneurial dream has led to running a social enterprise. Bachelor of Commerce alumnus Kristian Martinow shares how a personal journey has brought about this social cause.
Can something as simple as a watch help you to lead a more mindful life, while also bringing about change for social good?
Kristian Martinow, Bachelor of Commerce (BCom, Honours) alumnus and founder of The Timekeeper, believes so.
In the final year of his undergraduate degree, where he had majored in Accounting and Finance, Martinow had spent seven and a half months in parts of Asia, Europe, U.S. and South America. This time away studying and working abroad, visiting different communities to see how different people lived their lives broadened his views of the world. It was an eye-opening experience in ways the young student did not expect. “I was on a bus in Bolivia. We were passing through a local slum when the bus came to a standstill; I looked out to see a young boy outside his cement home. He smiled at me,” Martinow recalls. “We shared a moment looking each other in the eyes, and it sparked a contemplative moment in me as the bus began to move again. I realised that given his circumstances, his opportunities were extremely limited. Yet, who’s to say he doesn’t have the potential to do great things?”
In that moment, Martinow realised that he wanted to change the lives of those less fortunate, and not because he felt sorry for them. He saw in this destitute young boy an untapped potential that might never get the opportunity to be applied. “Young people are our future, but often have no choice over their circumstances,” he says. “They are the key to making the greatest impact in our world, and I believe that together, we can help change the lives of those less fortunate and help build a better future for everyone.”
My life mission is to improve the quality of time in the lives of young people, and ensure that young people have the support and self-belief they need to discover their inner purpose and enjoy a healthy, happy life. Kristian Martinow
Martinow spent the next two years completing an Honours program and tutoring part-time. Upon graduating, he realised that for almost seven years, he had been suffering from a range of chronic symptoms ranging from allergies to fatigue, and was getting injured easily. “I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my immune system and physical state,” he says. “It felt like my body was falling apart, even as I was trying to get fitter and healthier exercising more.”
He decided that enough was enough, and that since the western routes of medicine seemed to be failing him, he went on a health journey that saw him exploring practices such as meditation and yoga. He sought out practices that taught him how to be more mindful on a daily basis, while educating himself to develop an extensive knowledge on holistic living.
“Within a month, my health had improved drastically,” Martinow says with relief. “I developed a new perspective, and I had more energy. And now, I no longer have any of the symptoms I previously did!”
The revelation of the joys of leading a healthier life prompted Martinow to start thinking of ways to spread this message to other young people. With the view of fulfilling his ambition to become an entrepreneur, he decided he could also use his new-found drive to help others lead more meaningful lives. In 2016, he created The Timekeeper to do just this.
“Imagine this: You wake up to an old-school alarm clock, get ready for your day, and put on your Timekeeper watch. This becomes your mindfulness anchor for the day,” he says. “It is a symbol. It reminds you to follow your aspirations, and to be present in the moment – not immersed in the past or worrying about the future.”
Additionally, Martinow is committed to The Timekeeper being dedicated to creating positive social impact. “It exists 100 per cent to fund projects for young people in need,” Martinow stresses. “We work with social impact partners to deliver change.”
Each person who buys a Timekeeper watch chooses where the proceeds of their purchase goes to. At the moment, the two projects to choose from are ‘Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Education’, with the team partnering with Youth Off The Streets who fight homelessness amongst youths, and 40K PLUS, an organisation that aims to improve rural education.
The Timekeeper held its official launch event on 18 December 2016, a vibrant evening which involved a yoga class, live painting, music, food & refreshments, speeches, and guided meditation to promote mindfulness, empathy and compassion to over 80 young people. “We intend to continue to raise awareness and educate on mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health and wellbeing through The Timekeeper’s online and offline content,” says Martinow.
It may be early days, but the young social entrepreneur has already made steady progress, putting on five interns within this new year, all of whom have hit the ground running. The latest development is sitting with Rhenette Cabanero, Impact Intern, who is developing The Timekeeper Theory of Change. “Beneficiary & Consumer engagement are both factors being considered and we will be looking for ways to connect the beneficiaries and The Timekeeper community in the future,” explains Martinow.
“We believe this is important to break stigma and silos around certain societal issues, to humanise and integrate youth experiencing adversity and disadvantage with those who support them and the general community. We want to allow the consumer to engage on a deeper level. Put simply, The Timekeeper values and promotes the importance of human connection.”
With a vision and further plans to develop this community of support for youths, Martinow is on track to make a difference. We know we’ll be following his journey and look forward to receiving updates on the growth of their impacts.
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Listen to Kristian's interview on the GameChangers podcast.