#VendorWeek 2020: The Big Issue Australia’s annual CEO Selling event returns

It’s been a difficult, and at times tragic, start to 2020 for Australians as extreme heat and devastating bushfires have spread causing destruction in parts of the country. Homeless and disadvantaged people, of which some make up the Big Issue Australia vendor community, have been particularly affected. Some of them have stories of kindness and bravery.

For street paper vendors, the conditions have made selling magazines at their pitches challenging. So #VendorWeek rolling around is a welcome opportunity for a sales boost.

Big Issue Australia vendor Cheryl selling with Medibank CEO Craig Drummond. [Credit: Mark Avellino]

A tried and trusted #VendorWeek activity that can inspire this is a ‘Big Sell’ event – that is, when street papers invite notable local names to don a vendor vest and team up with an actual vendor to sell magazines for the week.

In Australia, The Big Issue’s take is their now annual CEO Selling event, which attracts hugely successful business leaders, entrepreneurs and political figures to take to the streets with vendors. That’s what more than 70 individuals from the Australian business world have been doing this week in towns and cities across the country’s major regions, joining in with the magazine’s 800-person strong vendor community, and perhaps realising that selling street papers is as much of an entrepreneurial undertaking as their own endeavours are.

On the continuing success of the event, Steven Persson, CEO of The Big Issue Australia, said: “Having CEOs come together this week to help sell the magazine is an incredible display of support for those experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage.

“By standing with the vendors, they are sending the message to the community that vendors are legitimate businesspeople who are working hard to change their lives.

“I hope it encourages many out there to meet their local vendor and purchase a copy of the magazine.”

This year’s CEO Selling cohort include Owen Wilson, head of digital property media business REA Group and Craig Drummond, CEO of private health insurance provider Medibank, who have both been out selling magazines already this week, shadowing Big Issue Australia vendors Phil and Cheryl respectively.

Big Issue Australia vendor Phil selling with REA CEO Owen Wilson. [Credit: Mark Avellino]

The event will continue until Sunday 9 February. Across the next few days, other vendors will be joined by Bank Australia managing director Damien Walsh in Victoria, Westpac chief executive David Lindberg in Sydney, and many more.

The Big Issue Australia is also celebrating the milestone of selling more than 13 million copies since the magazine was established in 1996, meaning that, over the last 24 years, $30 million has made its way into the pockets of vendors.

Read more coverage of #VendorWeek 2020 here