The Difference Incubator [TDI] has selected four out of 36 social enterprise startups to compete in its pitching competition for the chance to win a trip to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 in New Zealand. Along with the trip, the successful startup will also receive $15,000 in cash and a spot in the incubator’s Investment Readiness Program.
This year TDI chose 36 businesses from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to take part in its six-month intensive incubator program called Two Feet. The program teaches entrepreneurs how to have a social conscience, make money, and create a scalable business that can take on investment capital.
While the trip to the Social Enterprise World Forum is definitely a coveted prize, the entry into TDI’s $150,000 Investment Readiness Program is the all important award.
The Investment Readiness Program is all about helping enterprises get investment ready. The program only accepts those enterprises that are most likely to attract investment of $500,000 or more. According to TDI, approximately 70 percent of participants have secured investment as a direct result of the program.
TDI cofounder, Bessi Graham believes that Australia’s social enterprise scene is bursting with ideas, however it takes a lot of education to prepare a company to successfully take on investment. The challenge of investment is what many early stage startups face.
Graham explained TDI created the Two Feet program to build a stronger pipeline of investable social enterprises in Australia.
“Running Two Feet nationally for the first time has been an incredible journey. We’ve worked with some fantastic enterprises who have demonstrated consistent ability to iterate, evolve and learn,” she said.
TDI was first launched in 2010 to look at how organisations can help make the world a better place, but ultimately still make money at the same time. Whether startups are looking to operate for-profit or not-for-profit, TDI helps them grow and expand on their ideas.
The four social enterprises that have been chosen to compete in the pitching competition will be judged by a panel of industry leaders including cofounder of Benefit Capital, Paul Steele and general manager of products and markert at JBWere, Ariane Barker.
The finalists will be judged on the desirability, feasibility and viability of their business model, their intent, and the overall social impact of their startup. Judges will be also looking for teams who present governance structures and the ability to scale, grow and raise capital in the next 12 to 24 months.
The four finalists are:
Refugee Talent – cofounded by Syrian refugee Nirary Dacho and Australian Anna Robson, Refugee Talent is a digital platform connecting skilled refugees with companies offering short and long term job opportunities.
Champion Life – founded by Kym Hunter, Champion Life provides motivation and education programs to help make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of Australian teenagers and encourage them to make sport and physical activity a lifelong habit.
Circular Food – founded by Steve Morriss, Circular Food helps professional and urban farmers produce better tasting, higher quality and more profitable products by improving the health of soils through vermiculture (worm farms), thus creating a closed loop system for organic waste.
SettleIn – founded by Alice Brennan, SettleIn is a tech platform allowing refugees to communicate with caseworkers, share paperwork and documentation and set goals to help them get a head start on building a good life in Australia.
Image: Bessi Graham. Source: The Difference Incubator.