Sustainability investment group Sustainable Melbourne Fund has announced they’re offering $500,000 in capital loans for start-ups creating products or services with environmental benefits for Victorians.
The Melbourne City Council-backed fund focuses on projects based in Victoria targeting renewable energy, energy efficiency and greener buildings.
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The rolling loans and investment program has just over $6.5 million in funds. They have invested in over 20 start-ups so far, and don’t take equity in the businesses they back.
Chief executive Scott Bocskay told StartupSmart they look for projects that will deliver powerful benefits but are too small to be backed by bigger funds.
“We don’t target companies at that venture capital and angel stage. We’re a better fit for business with cash flow. We look to give loans attached to particular projects so the start-up can grow to the next level,” Bocskay says.
He says they look for businesses with a “triple bottom line approach” that are financially viable and create environmental and social benefits.
He adds it’s the first element of this approach that stops most businesses who apply from receiving funds.
“We do see a lot of good ideas, and the challenge is often it’s just that: a good idea without a solid business plan, and a team that may not have the management expertise to deliver on the idea. But these are essential components for an investment situation,” Bocskay says.
The Sustainable Melbourne Fund looks for innovative and scalable ideas. Previously backed start-ups include Eko Energy, a community bulk purchasing solar panel start-up that was recently sold to AGL Energy.