New National Frontiers for 'The Crunch'
24 July 2013 at 10:01 am
An incubator program for social enterprise is offering funded places to social entrepreneurs in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia for the first time.
Social Traders launched Round 4 of the program called ‘The Crunch’ in Melbourne last week, providing 16 funded places to applicants in five states.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt said that while Melbourne was the nation’s social enterprise capital, the expansion was a positive step.
“I’ve been blown away by the level of social enterprise support, activities and education in Melbourne,” Bandt said.
“It’s very pleasing to see the momentum growing in other parts of Australia.”
Previously, the program had been confined to Victoria, with one additional place offered to a Tasmanian startup last year.
“The Crunch is very well placed to move from its establishment phase into a phase of consolidation,” David Brooks, Managing Director of Social Traders, said.
“Our strategy after four years is to deepen work in Victoria and expand some of our programs and activities outside Victoria.
“We will continue to focus on building capability and building investment-ready enterprises.”
The program is aimed at early stage social enterprises hoping to receive investment and start trading within 12 months. The six month program emphasises exposure to social investors, and the creation of a business plan to build capacity.
“Social enterprises build capital and social capital in a way that other businesses don’t necessarily do,” Bandt said.
“We [the Greens] will do all we can to support it.
“It’s a bit of a hexed space because a lot of social enterprises don’t want government involved.
“Social enterprise provides a model where we can plow benefits back into the community at a time when government have turned their backs,” he said.
At least half of the new places will continue to be reserved for Victorian ventures but for the first time some places will also be allocated to social enterprises dealing with specific themes.
Enterprises for food security, waste and recycling, digital inclusion and youth at risk will be the beneficiaries.
There are 11 social enterprises now trading from the three completed rounds of The Crunch. The program has provided the startups with access to over $2 million worth of invested funds.
Finances come from Social Traders’ fund, as well as other Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds and philanthropic foundations.
“Underlying the success of The Crunch is the way in which Social Traders works with its corporate and philanthropic partners. Not only financially, but also through collaboration,” Brooks said.
Applications for The Crunch Round 4 close on October 4 2013.