Social Impact Hub Secures Federal Funding to Launch Investment Readiness Accelerator
Social Impact Hub has received Federal Government funding for Scaling Impact, a new accelerator program for social start-ups focused on supporting their impact investment readiness. With matched funding provided by the Sidney Myer Fund together with support from Ernst & Young and the English Family Foundation, Scaling Impact will focus on addressing the needs of social start-ups at a crucial point in their development – the inflexion point between building on a proven track record and preparing to take on impact investment.
Social entrepreneurs are emerging as unparalleled catalysts for social and environmental change around the world. Identifying market failures and using market-driven strategies to tackle them, social entrepreneurs tailor responses and implement solutions for local and global challenges including providing clean water, opportunities for financial inclusion, high quality educational resources, access to renewable energy, and helping disadvantaged Australians secure employment.
Social enterprises face a range of unique challenges in finding expertise and accessing growth capital to scale. Conversely, investors looking to invest for social impact as well as financial return have been challenged with finding high quality deal flow. By providing support at this crucial junction, this initiative will help Australian social enterprises to scale and potentially take their solutions to a global market, at the very time where solutions to social and environmental problems are needed most.
The program includes a series of masterclasses, tailored advisory support and mentoring, as well as longer term support for a smaller subset of social start-ups to raise impact investment. It will be open to Australian impact businesses who have an unambiguous social or environmental intention aligned with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals and have the intention to become investible and scale, including internationally.
Jessica Roth, Founder and Director at Social Impact Hub, said that that Scaling Impact will be a collaborative initiative, bringing together a range of actors to create pathways to investment for promising social start-ups. “Our vision for Scaling Impact is to see significantly more capital flowing to solutions that can deliver social and environmental impact at scale, so that more Australian social enterprises successfully grow locally and internationally,” Roth said.
Social entrepreneurs involved in the Scaling Impact initiative will work with the Scaling Impact team and members of the Social Impact Hub’s Professional Impact Network to identify their key areas of need in becoming impact investment ready, using the Impact Investment Readiness Diagnostic Tool which has been developed with the support of the English Family Foundation. Ernst & Young will deliver some of the Business Clinics, host learning events and provide tailored consultancy support to enterprises in their areas of expertise. By the end of the program social entrepreneurs in the core program will have taken concrete steps forward on the path to becoming investment ready.
Leonard Vary, the CEO of the Sidney Myer Fund, commented, “The Sidney Myer Fund is pleased to support the Social Impact Hub as it grows the pipeline of investment ready social impact enterprises in Australia. It is exemplary of the type of social innovation which will help address our pressing social and environmental problems.”
EY Oceania Corporate Responsibility Leader, Dr Matthew Bell, said “EY has a long history of working with entrepreneurs both in Australia and globally, helping them meet their growth aspirations. As EY’s own purpose is building a better working world, being part of the Social Impact Hub’s Scaling Impact initiative is a natural fit. As the accelerators of innovation, and as genuine drivers of sustainability, social entrepreneurs can have lasting impacts beyond economic development in Australia. We’re proud to align our skilled professionals to help them create lasting impact.”
Over 28 stakeholder groups expressed support for Scaling Impact including Impact Investing Australia, Philanthropy Australia, Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific, ImpactSeed, Grameen Australia, Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and Social Change Central. Impact investors including Impact Investment Group, Social Ventures Australia, SEFA and Save the Children have all expressed support for the initiative and underscored the importance of building the pipeline of investable enterprises.