Young Social Entrepreneurs Win $20K for Ventures
18 June 2014 at 11:42 am
A sustainable garden for a social enterprise cafe, an ethically-produced fashion online store and a dance troupe for people with disabilities have each won $20,000 for their social enterprises as part of Foundations for Young Australians (FYA) and the Qantas Foundation’s Turbocharge Your Venture.
Turbocharge Your Venture had 18 young social entrepreneurs pitching for the $20,000 grants to get their social ventures off the ground. Each contestant was shortlisted from FYA’s Young Social Pioneers program, which supports young leaders of social change to develop leadership and operational capacities to lead sustainable organisations.
FYA said as part of the venture, the 18 pioneers were coached by corporate mentors from Qantas, JBWere, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, K&L Gates, QBE and Xero to develop and perfect their pitches, which were then scored against leadership, business purpose, measurable change and innovation criteria.
Scott Duncan, 28, co-founder of Feast of Merit, won the pitching session with his plan to develop a sustainable garden of produce for his social enterprise eatery, which invests all of its profits into poverty-alleviation projects run by YGAP (Y-Generation Against Poverty).
“The triple bottom line model of people, planet and profit is essential for survival on this wondrous earth,” said Duncan.
“We are only at the early adoption stage; just wait until this becomes mainstream.”
FYA said five runners-up were then given another shot at $20,000, this time pitching via video, with one winner selected by Qantas staff and one selected in a vote open to the public.
Edda Hamar, 24, founder of Undress Runways, won the public’s vote for her pitch to open The Undress Shop, an online store that will stock only ethical and sustainable fashion.
And Ali Phillips, 22, the founder of Bust a Move Dance, an inclusive dance troupe that gives young people with disabilities a chance to develop coordination, team work skills, creativity and emotional and social intelligence, won the Qantas Choice Award.
With recent figures from community investment benchmarker LBG showing that Australian companies give less cash and fewer in-kind donations than the global average, FYA Chief Executive Officer Jan Owen said FYA was impressed by the Qantas Foundation’s commitment to backing young Australians with both.
Owen said the partnership’s focus on upskilling social entrepreneurs was timely given that trends in socially responsible investment were increasingly demanding both social and financial returns from social ventures.
“We talk a lot about the increasing pressure on businesses to be socially responsible, but in the same vein there’s huge pressure on social enterprises to be commercially viable,” Owen said.
“Pitching for funds encourages social entrepreneurs to crystallise what they’re trying to achieve and how they are contributing to Australia’s social capital.”
Qantas Head of Community, Laura Berry, said Qantas was all about investing in the future of young Australians.