Community Finance to the Forefront
7 May 2014 at 10:30 am
A new online platform supported by the Victorian Government is set to simplify the process of accessing community finance for social enterprises and Not for Profits.
Foresters Community Finance, with the support of a range of intermediaries, has developed the Community Finance Portal, which aims to streamline the research process and help organisations to understand the type of community finance that is suitable for their needs.
The portal, recently launched officially by MP Craig Ondarchie, Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Melbourne, takes the user through a few short questions so that they can be directed to a tailored range of lending options from a variety of providers, as well as links to capacity building organisations.
Belinda Drew, CEO of Foresters Community Finance, said the Community Finance Portal was the first platform of it’s kind in Australia.
“The concept of Community Finance is not something that is widely known and understood in mainstream market,” she said.
“This important resource meets the needs of underserved markets such as non-profit organisations, social enterprises and individuals experiencing exclusion from mainstream financial markets by providing them with accessible, up-to-date and accurate information.”
Community Finance providers structure loans which are driven by the needs of the individuals, Not for Profits and social enterprises they work with.
Many individuals, Not for Profits and social enterprises cannot access loan capital from a bank and Community Finance institutions seek to provide these groups with access to affordable and appropriate finance.
“[The Portal] was informed by a group of individuals representing the community sector. The result was a valuable tool that offers reliable information about what community finance is and what it can do for people and organisations,” Drew said.
“The development of the Portal was supported by the Victorian Government through the Community Support Fund and managed by Foresters with input from community finance providers in Australia.”
The Community Support Fund distributes part of the Victorian Government’s gaming revenue to projects that benefit communities.
Visit the portal here.