Social Enterprises to Pitch at Live Crowdfunding Event - ProBono News

14 March 2017

Victorian grassroots social enterprises have the chance to pitch for more than $15,000 funding each at a live crowdfunding event.

The event will be hosted by The Funding Network (TFN) Australia, marking the first time the organisation has exclusively showcased social enterprises at one of its events.

Based on a flourishing UK model, TFN Australia gives philanthropists, foundations and corporates the opportunity to give collectively at live events.  

In its first three years, TFN Australia supported 130 organisations across the country.

TFN Australia general manager Tom Hull told Pro Bono News that social enterprises played an important role in society.

“We believe that the sector is changing  the social sector, and the philanthropic sector as part of the support for the social sector,” Hull said.

“Social enterprises are gaining in credibility and certainly in number, and we believe there is a shift in attitude towards believing that social enterprises can… and increasingly are, playing a key role in the social sector.

“Very often they are performing a role that perhaps charities in the past have fulfilled, perhaps government agencies in the past have fulfilled.

“There are large groups or large number of philanthropists who are increasingly interested in the role that social enterprises are playing, even though they wouldn’t traditionally have been the recipients of their charitable dollar.”

Applications are now open for the the event, which will be held in Melbourne on 6 June.

Three finalists will receive professional coaching and the chance to pitch to a live audience for $15,000-plus each, as well as up to $5,000 from the event host PwC.

Hull said he had “no idea” about the kind of pitches that should be expected on the night.

“We deliberately didn’t set a particular theme,” he said.

“So sometimes TFN events have a social issue theme, so it might be supporting women and girls or it might be a domestic violence theme or it might be a social justice theme.

“This one we set no theme at all, so the theme is around the nature of the organisation’s presenting, being social enterprises.”

However, there is specific criteria social enterprises must meet to be considered.

While businesses, PBIs and registered charities can all apply, more than 50 per cent of their income must come from trading activity, not grants and donations, more than 50 per cent of their profits must further a social mission, and their primary purpose must support disadvantaged members of the community.

TFN Australia has also partnered with leading organisations in the for-purpose sector for the event, including Social Traders, The Different Incubator, Impact Investing Australia, Social Ventures Australia and the Centre for Social Impact.

Hull said these partnerships were “very important”.

“It lends credibility to what we’re trying to do at The Funding Network, which is open up people’s eyes to the potential that social enterprise, as a new type of organisation, is having in the sector,” he said.

“And all of those organisations are way ahead of us in the support that they’ve been giving to social enterprises, so it’s great to have them on board.

“I think what they see that we can bring is our ability to showcase this new model of social change organisation to traditional philanthropic funders or traditional givers, and help those people understand that… the impact that blended investment can have on the early years of a social enterprise can be really important and that the combination of some donations and some investment is essential to these sorts of organisations.”

Read the full article in ProBono News here.