Alumni profile

Jarryd Burns

Bachelor of Business, 2010

Co-founder of Thankyou

In 2008, while still studying at La Trobe University, Jarryd Burns co-founded Thankyou, an organisation that commits 100 per cent of the profit from their consumer products to help end global poverty.

Fast forward to today, and Jarryd has helped propel the business from its beginnings in bottled water and now into a personal care range and a baby care range. Thankyou’s products can now be found in over 5,500 outlets in Australia and New Zealand, including all major supermarkets. 

Delivering on its promise, the company has now donated over $6 million and helped more than 800,000 people in need.

“The idea was birthed from two kinds of extremes: Australian’s spend $600 million a year on bottled water … but on the same hand, 900 million people didn’t have access to safe water … 4500 children dying every day because of it," Jarryd said.

At the time he co-founded the social enterprise, Jarryd was in his first year of studies at La Trobe. 

“The skills I learnt at La Trobe were extremely useful in starting the business,” he said. 

“It wasn’t ever going to be just a bottled water company – it was an idea we were launching. Could we challenge the way business operates and give money to these crazy circumstances?”

To get the business off the ground, Jarryd took up a gruelling routine.

"It was a challenging journey – crazy long nights," he said.

"I used to do traffic control … so that was kind of my part-time job and I’d do that during the night. Then [I would] go to uni during the day, and then to office and then to another night shift.

"It was tough, but we knew we had a great idea and we existed for something bigger than ourselves."

Now, with those long nights behind him, Jarryd has been able to see the extraordinary impact of his work.

“I’ve been in Cambodia for some of our water programs that we’ve implemented and I remember playing with some of the kids. Seeing their smiles on their faces and the hope in their eyes. They now have a chance at a future. To see that was amazing," he said.

“The fact that we’ve been able to give nearly $6 million, the fact that we’ve helped over 785,000 people - it’s a massive number. 

"When you meet the people and when you hear their stories and the individual impact of those stories – I could not be prouder."

Jarryd's latest business venture is Narrative Lab, which offers fragrance fans a customisable scent delivered in perfumes and aftershaves that are solid, not sprayed. A new brand to watch in 2019!

Distinguished Business and commerce

Last updated: 29th May 2019