The Crunch is on Again for Social Entrepreneurs
24 August 2011 at 10:18 am
Social Traders has launched the latest round of the Crunch – a social enterprise development initiative that connects Victorian start-ups with business mentors and the chance to gain funding.
Six Victorian social enterprises – businesses with a social purpose at their core – will spend the coming months developing their business plans in partnership with leading companies and business students, in a bid to share in a lucrative investment fund.
The Victorian Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge MP, announced the six social enterprises selected for 2011/12:
- BREAZE Energy Futures Hub – BREAZE intends to establish a commercial outlet in the Ballarat region providing business and residents with products and services that help them transition to a low carbon economy. Through a high profile shop front, BREAZE plans to offer services including energy audits and carbon accounting as well as helping people implement changes.
- [Co]Design Studio – Community Oriented Design ([co]design studio) is a multi-disciplinary, non-profit design service dedicated to working with communities on built environment projects such as housing, playgrounds and schools. [Co]Design Studio uses design to improve environmental sustainability, quality of life, health, and well-being. [co]design studio wants to build an enterprise that can service a greater number of community projects, which currently have little or no access to architecture and design services.
- Merrimu Services – Merrimu’s social enterprise idea – Smart Run – is about better coordinating community transport in the Bacchus Marsh and Melton areas. Many people rely on community transport to go shopping, visit friends and get to medical appointments but the many existing services are not coordinated and leave gaps. Smart Run will help resources to be shared and manage route planning and rostering with a central call centre.
- Moreland Energy Foundation – works with households, businesses, community groups and governments on adopting sustainable energy and reducing energy use across the municipality of Moreland. They intend to establish a financially sustainable energy services company that provides information, advice and products to the community. Revenue from the business would support disadvantaged groups to adopt sustainable energy.
- Prickle – Prickle Community Acupuncture aims to provide high quality treatments to people with disadvantaged backgrounds. Prickle already works with community and health organisations to provide acupuncture that is affordable and accessible but wants to open a multi-bed acupuncture clinic where patients can be treated in a welcoming and shared environment.
- Tawasal – Tawasal (meaning ‘to connect’) is planned to be a fee for service arm of the Anti Racism Action Band, a culturally and artistically diverse community-based youth performing arts program in Melbourne’s north. Tawasal offers clients high energy and engaging performances for festivals, workshops, conferences, launches and forums for government, schools, community and business organisations. The revenue will go back into the organisation’s community development activity.
Social Traders Managing Director, David Brookes says that after a fantastic pilot last year, six new social enterprises will have their chance to undergo The Crunch and apply for investment at the end.
Brookes says that the 2010 pilot saw offers and investment of $792,000 in social enterprise in Victoria.
The Crunch is modeled on a UK program called the Spark Challenge, and in 2011/12 the program has a clean energy theme.
The teams will be assisted by a series of workshops, tailored business planning resources, one-on-one time with Social Traders staff, business mentors and MBA students from the Melbourne Business School. The process is designed to gather pertinent data, rigorously test their ideas, explore options and build sound business and investment strategies.
Brookes says The Crunch is important, because it ties the very best of the community sector to the high level expertise and development skills of business.
He says social enterprises that undergo The Crunch learn quite quickly whether their ideas are viable, and have the opportunity to pitch for investment after a six month period of detailed and rigorous business planning.
Social Traders works with a number of partners who have co-invested in the Social Enterprise Development Fund, and play a pivotal role in the the business planning and pitch preparation process. The 2011/12 partners are Australia Post, Leadership Victoria, Melbourne Business School, Telstra Foundation and Westpac.
Follow the six teams and their journeys thecrunch.socialtraders.com.au