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Number of Australia’s Social Impact Accelerators Accelerated: 86 Programs for Social Enterprises

An updated guide to assist Australian social entrepreneurs finds the number of accelerator and incubator programs has increased by 115%.

In the 3-years since Social Change Central released the first edition of the ‘Australian Incubators & Accelerators for Social Impact’, the number of accelerator and incubator programs available for Australian social entrepreneurs has increased by 115%. This growth is a result not only of the expanding sphere of social entrepreneurship and increasing interest and practice in for-purpose business models but also as a result of more traditional, established programs coming around to the idea that social outcomes and profitability are not mutually exclusive.

While this is exciting, awareness of the programs available for early-stage impact businesses still appears to be lacking. “We are frequently getting inquiries from social entrepreneurs about accelerator programs that focus on, or are open to, social impact startups,” says Social Change Central Co-founder Jay Boolkin. 

“In this second edition of  ‘Australian Incubators & Accelerators for Social Impact’ we profile 86 key programs that are currently active in Australia. This guide has more than twice the number of profiles featured in the first edition – relaying just how fast the social enterprise sector is growing in Australia. We hope that, together with the Social Change Central opportunities portal, the guide will be a useful practical resource that will assist social entrepreneurs to navigate the current ecosystem to find the critical support they need. We also hope that as this resource evolves, it will provide a platform from which to launch policy discussions about how together, we can transform the current social enterprise landscape into a cohesive and collaborative ecosystem delivering widespread and transformative social change. We would like to thank all the individuals, social enterprises and intermediary support organisations that provided information, advice and feedback in the preparation of this guide.”

This second edition, after a high-level analysis of the programs profiled, has revealed some clear patterns and geographic trends.

  • The guide identifies 86 incubators and accelerators currently active in Australia, which accept financially sustainable enterprises operating with a social and/or environmental mission, considerably more than previously estimated.
  • It is estimated that these programs have supported over 14,493 (limited info on this) new enterprises, and therefore represent an important component of the startup ecosystem.

Of those programs profiled:

  • The average program length is 19.1 weeks.
  • Over half (44) require some form of participation fee – either equity or cash.
  • More than a quarter (28) offer funding to participating enterprises.
  • New South Wales (34) and Victoria (16) have the greatest concentration when compared to Queensland (10), Western Australia (6), Australian Capital Territory (5) and South Australia (4), whilst Northern Territory and Tasmania have none.

“At Social Change Central, we know from talking to Australian social entrepreneurs daily that identifying, researching and comparing programs is difficult and time-consuming, placing a drain on what are often very limited resources,” adds co-founder Anne Lennon. “A core objective of the guide is to bring the key information together into one comprehensive and accessible resource so that social entrepreneurs can easily hone in on the programs that best suit their organisation’s needs and then make a faster and more informed decision.”

Australian Incubators & Accelerators for Social Impact is available here.

Social Change Central
Social Change Central

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