Meet the entrepreneurs looking to scale their impact in 2021
16 June 2021 at 3:56 pm
Eight new social entrepreneurs have been chosen to go through this year’s Social Impact Hub accelerator program
Ask any social entrepreneur and they will tell you the inflexion point between building on a proven track record and preparing to take on impact investment is a crucial time in the development of a startup.
It’s one of the reasons, the Social Impact Hub launched its Scaling Impact accelerator program last year, to help social enterprises and purpose-driven startups prepare for future impact investment.
It is funded through the Australian government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme and the Sidney Myer Fund, together with support from Ernst & Young and the English Family Foundation.
After the success of the inaugural program, Social Impact Hub has now chosen eight new enterprises to take part in 2021.
Kate Saunders, head of Scaling Impact, said it was a highly competitive selection process.
Those selected had to have strong business models and be operating in resilient sectors.
“They also needed to have an unambiguous social or environmental intention that is aligned with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Saunders said.
Here, we meet this year’s chosen eight.
Founded by Kym Hunter, Champion Life is a digital platform that can be used in schools as a curriculum-aligned health and physical education resource. Designed to complement programs already up and running, Champion Life integrates mini-activities, virtual mentoring and wellbeing check-ins all through its digital platform.
Hunter told Pro Bono News that she applied to the accelerator program to build her skills and confidence to help Champion Life have a long-term positive impact.
“I’m hoping that the program will give me the foundation to ensure that Champion Life is an attractive opportunity for impact investors who can support our growth to achieve our impact and financial goals,” she said.
This construction social enterprise is on a mission to empower those seeking refuge and asylum in Australia. Beyond building homes, offices, hospitals and hotels, CommUnity Construction offers training and employment as part of its mission to help refugees build new lives.
Founded by Hedayat (Nikc) Osyan, a former refugee, the social enterprise has given a fresh start to 35 new Australians and their families since it launched in 2018.
The Equality Institute
The Equality Institute is a global feminist agency working to advance gender equality and end violence against women and girls through research, creative communications and global leadership. Led by Dr Emma Fulu, the Equality Institute partners with community leaders, groups and organisations and works alongside them to amplify their work.
Fulu told Pro Bono News that through the program she hopes to get technical support, mentorship and eventual investment to take a digital offering from infancy into a viable commercial enterprise that can seed impact.
“I applied because the Equality Institute has a bold vision for addressing one of the world’s biggest problems – violence against women and girls,” she said.
“To achieve our desired impact, we need to scale and the best way to achieve that is through complementing our in-person services with a world-class digital education offering.”
This award-winning not-for-profit social enterprise works with businesses to collect items that are at risk of being sent to landfill and either reuses, upcycles or sends them for recycling.
Green Collect says its work is much more than picking up materials and putting them in different colour bins. The team is addressing the complex problem of waste and has modelled the business on the circular economy, where all resources are repurposed and nothing becomes waste.
A mental health social enterprise and certified B Corp, Grow Your Mind is dedicated to preventative mental health education for pre and primary school children and their communities.
Grow Your Mind offers a whole-school wellbeing program for students, teachers and families and through training, resources and curriculum-aligned lesson plans supports the social and emotional development of Aussie kids.
Co-founder Kristina Freeman told Pro Bono News that she was first drawn to the Scaling Impact accelerator because of the reputation of the Social Impact Hub. Freeman and her team could see that Grow Your Mind was having a positive impact in preventative mental health education but they needed help taking it to the next level.
“What we hope to gain from the program is knowledge development along with a tailored advisory process that understands the social impact space and helps us interrogate, investigate and prepare our business for this next exciting stage,” she said.
“Of course, we also hope to link up with value-aligned investors who are excited by our vision and want to join us in achieving it.”
This social enterprise puts all its revenue towards training ex-prisoners and opening up reintegration opportunities. As well as offering recycling waste and social housing removal services to organisations such as Mission Australia, Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul, Mates on the Move funds the training and mentoring of ex-prisoners through its training arm Class Mates.
Lois Dillon is Mates on the Move’s operations manager and applied for the accelerator after it was recommended by her board. She told Pro Bono News that it has so far been intense and fast-paced but has provided her with the ability to learn in a safe environment and given her access to experts and mentors.
Rosie Thomas OAM co-founded PROJECT ROCKIT in 2006 to deliver anti-bullying and social leadership training in school settings. Through role-play, activities, experiments and interactive discussions PROJECT ROCKIT aims to empower students to stand up to bullying as well as give them proactive strategies to keep themselves and others safe.
After feeling like the social enterprise had hit the ceiling in terms of what they know and how far they can grow in Australia, Thomas leapt at the chance to be part of the accelerator.
“To date, PROJECT ROCKIT has positively impacted half a million young Aussies in our anti-bullying workshops but we know we can do so much more,” Thomas told Pro Bono News.
“This program will set our enterprise in a position of strength to turbocharge our innovation, expand our impact nationally and create a powerful legacy for generations to come.”
Led by CEO and founder Zoë Condliffe, She’s a Crowd is a team of data activists compiling a dataset about gender-based violence.
This feminist tech start-up invites users to use the She’s a Crowd storytelling platform to share their experiences – anonymously if they wish.
Through the power of storytelling, and armed with data that can then be passed on to those in power, the organisation wants to push for change