Six social enterprises in WA are the first recipients of the Western Australian Government’s $10 million Social Enterprise Fund, receiving a total of $239,000 in start-up funding for a broad range of causes.
The Social Enterprise Fund is designed to help not-for-profit organisations establish new social enterprises or strengthen existing ones, and increase the impact of these social enterprises.
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A consortium, led by Social Ventures Australia, provides a support service on behalf of the government to ensure the effective delivery of the fund.
This includes providing pre-investment support to social enterprises preparing to apply, and aftercare business support to successful recipients.
The SEF process is different from other grant funding rounds in that its key focus is on each recipient’s business plan, the market viability of that plan and the recipient’s ability to deliver it.
The first round of recipients includes the following:
Befriend, Inc – The eFriends Project ($24,000)
The e-Friends Project seeks to utilise freely available technology in order to encourage participants to build communities and social networks, thus removing isolation.
The project will explore a number of income-generating streams for the organisation, including delivery of training and web-based tutorials.
Bridging the Gap – Cleaning Up Clearing Out ($50,000)
Cleaning Up Clearing Out (CUCO) is a new social enterprise that employs socially disadvantaged people to provide cleaning services in commercial and residential settings.
The enterprise is aimed at “bridging the gap” by empowering disadvantaged and disenfranchised individuals through social inclusion, practical training and enhanced employment opportunities.
CUCO employees will be trained, mentored and supported through their placement, and encouraged to be actively involved in the day-to-day running of the business.
The social enterprise will be targeted at clients suffering from mental health issues, those assessed with a disability and those assessed as long-term unemployed.
Dismantle believes in the power of cycling as a catalyst for positive lifestyle change resulting in healthy people, connected communities and a thriving environment.
Its current programs include a bike workshop and a bike rescue project, which encourage at-risk youth to become active members of the community.
The organisation is seeking support for the development of a corporate programs business unit.
This will focus on providing team-building activities to corporations centred on the reassembling of recycled bicycles, which are then donated to disadvantaged young people, and the delivery of basic bicycle maintenance and commuting proficiency lessons in office workplaces.
The WA Government isn’t the only government offering support to social enterprises.
The Federal Government established the Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds program, while the City of Melbourne offers social enterprise and micro business grants.