Marc Goldenfein On Connecting Businesses To The Arts Through Payment Solutions — Impact Boom | Social Impact Blog & Podcast | Global Changemaker Community | Social Innovation, Enterprise, Design

That foundation will redistribute those fees back into the arts ecosystem through grants and fellowships, and they’re supporting independent artists and small arts organisations. The idea is just to redistribute the fees that usually go to shareholders back into our own ecosystem through payment terminals.

Also, we have an online payment gateway, so we can process payments online too. I guess the idea came from when I was working in ticketing for a long time, and so I learned a lot about payments there. It’s a hidden cost; we don’t really realise that it’s such a large industry, and I wanted to do something that could have a big impact and real structural change. I think people want alternatives to banks in particular, so that was the Genesis of the idea.

Where are there opportunities to generate an impact and support social causes more specifically in the art sector?

There are definitely a few ways people can get involved. You can volunteer your time, donate to arts organisations that you love or lend your expertise if you want to join a board. But really what ArtsPay is trying to do is give business an opportunity to support the arts as well through their payments. It doesn’t cost them anything, it doesn’t cost their customers anything, and they’re able to generate a flow of money back to the arts ecosystem. It’s a really interesting way now that you can support the arts through business. Then customers can also shop at ArtsPay venues and support the early adopters who are out there using ArtsPay. You can go buy alcohol, tickets and clothing, there are so many options now. We’ve got lots of ArtsPay customers out there. You can support those who are using ArtsPay, but I think everybody wants ways to support the arts, and we’re trying to provide businesses with a way of generating ongoing support.

Where do opportunities exist for organisations to more effectively foster creativity and innovation in their own workplaces?

I think it starts with the purpose of the organisation. When business wants to do good and profit is not the only motive, then the team or staff can really think outside the box and foster creativity because they’re truly engaged in the mission.

I think that’s really important, and that’s what I’ve seen a lot of organisations doing. When their purpose is slightly higher than just profit, it gets people going. It gets people excited; they bring their whole self to work, have ideas and talk to their community, and I think the benefits are really there. 

I don’t have to tell you that it’s important to have a mission that’s beyond just profit. Our mission is to build a new sustainable funding source for the arts, and we think payments are an interesting way to do it.

What external benefits would be created for society by increasing the arts sector’s ability to survive, but also for people and the public to engage with the arts sector more effectively?  

I think when the arts thrive, the whole economy thrives. There’s a huge economic downstream benefit, whether or not you’re a restaurant, a bar or you’re selling fashion. When the art sector is getting people out of their homes and they’re going to see theatre or live music, there is this enormous downstream economic benefit. When the pandemic occurred, it really showed that there’s an enormous wellness aspect to the arts, and our cities really need the arts to thrive and there is just an enormous impact on our health and wellbeing. The arts really generate an enormous impact, whether it’s through economic outcome or also through our city’s wellness. There’s great reports out there that talk about how many economic benefits there are, and there is some new interesting research coming out of think tanks talking about how much the economic benefit is.  You can check out A New Approach, which is a group out of Canberra that has got a really interesting take on these economic benefits.

What inspiring social enterprises, projects or initiatives have you come across recently that are creating a positive social change?

I think it’s good to shout out OG initiatives like Who Gives A Crap and Thankyou. I think Who Gives A Crap particularly was an inspiration for me. Recently, I’ve seen a really cool business called The Great Wrap, which is looking at changing the way we use plastic in our homes for wrapping food, but also the way that plastic is used in shipping in businesses. There is an incredible start-up space in Victoria, I’ve met the founder and they’re doing great things. It’s going to have a huge impact as well, so that was one initiative I thought was worth mentioning.