A new seed capital fund for businesses focused on generating social good was launched in Brisbane this week.
The $300,000 Early Stage Social Enterprise Fund has been launched by the Foresters Group, and is made up of funds donated by the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and family trusts the McKinnon Fund and the English Family Foundation.
The manager of the English Family Foundation, Alan English, told StartupSmart they had launched the fund to empower social entrepreneurs to grow their organisations.
“Often social enterprises are launched with only a few thousand borrowed from family and friends. This fund is to help grow good ideas to the next stage,” English says. “These guys are coming up with new, viable ideas to tackle the more serious issues our society is facing, and we’re here to back these guys to bring about change.”
The fund will loan $5000 to $35,000 to social entrepreneurs with strong business plans that demonstrate how they’ll generate the cash to pay back the loan.
“It’s not a grant, it’s debt and they’ll need to pay it back to get them used to the real commercial world,” English says, adding they’re flexible as to loan repayment terms but the maximum will be three years.
English adds the fund is needed to grow the social enterprise sector.
“We’re getting really talented people who wanted to come into the community sector because they have a resonance with doing some work that it meaningful,” English says.
“We’re looking for operating entities that deliver community benefit in some shape or form, and entrepreneurs focused on creating good.”