Social enterprises are set to grow with today’s announcement of an innovative collaboration between the Australian Government and leading social impact investors, which will help the nation’s social enterprises to be more investment ready and financially sustainable.
Minister for Employment Participation, Kate Ellis, and the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Senator Mark Arbib, today announced the successful funds managers for the Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund (SEDIF).
The Australian Government is providing seed funding to Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA) and to Foresters Community Finance to offer tailored financial products and loans to meet the needs of social enterprises.
The two investment funds will have a total capitalisation of $32 million.
Ms Ellis said that SEFA and Foresters Community Finance will work to support those social enterprises nationwide which combine an innovative business model with a social or environmental mission.
Ms Ellis today visited Tasty Fresh Community Catering in Logan in Brisbane, a social enterprise which creates pathways into training and employment especially for carers of people with a disability.
“We want to ensure that more social enterprises, like Tasty Fresh Community Catering, are able to access appropriate finance at the right time to achieve positive social impacts in their communities,” Ms Ellis said.
“SEDIF offers a way for community organisations, investors and governments in Australia to work together to pool resources and skills to deliver financial returns and an even greater social impact.”
SEFA brings together a unique range of partners including Community Sector Banking, the Macquarie Group Foundation, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Australian Bush Heritage, the University of Sydney, and Triodos, one of the world’s leading social impact finance organisations.
SEFA has received $10 million in seed funding to establish the SEFA Loan Fund with a further $10 million being invested by individual and corporate investors.
SEFA comprises three sub-funds including the Aboriginal Community Enterprise Fund, Community Environment Fund and the Community Development Fund, plus an incubator fund to develop innovative new social enterprises.
Senator Arbib said the Aboriginal Community Enterprise Fund will provide loans and financial advice to eligible social enterprises delivering services in Indigenous communities or to organisations led by Indigenous Australians.
“Social enterprises play a vital role in creating sustainable training and employment opportunities in many Indigenous communities,” Senator Arbib said. “This investment fund is a good example of the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting Indigenous Australians to get long term sustainable jobs, and to close the gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians.”
The Community Environment Fund will help social enterprises to develop innovative responses to environmental issues in the wake of climate change.
The Australian Government is also providing $6 million in seed funding to Foresters Community Finance, which is being matched by a further $6 million provided by the fund’s investment partner, Christian Super Fund.
Foresters Community Finance will manage two funds: the Community Finance Fund (CFF), which will provide a range of tailored financial products, such as a mortgage loans and enterprise loans, and the Social Enterprise Finance Fund (SEFF), which will provide similar loans to the CFF, but with a focus on incubating innovative and emerging social enterprises.
“Ensuring social enterprises have access to appropriate finance at the right time, combined with sound business and investment advice will help this industry to grow, to create jobs and deliver meaningful results for the community,” Ms Ellis said.
Further information on SEDIF and the funds is available at: www.deewr.gov.au/pages/sedif.aspx.