Frequently asked questions

What is an impact investment?

An impact investment is an investment made into an organisation that intentionally seeks measurable social and/or environmental outcomes alongside financial returns.

What is the Social Enterprise Development Initiative (SEDI)?

The Social Enterprise Development Initiative (SEDI) was announced in the Australian Government’s 2023-24 Budget. SEDI is part of the Government’s Targeting Entrenched Disadvantage package.

SEDI aims to support social enterprises to grow their business, scale their impact and further their missions of creating positive social change for people living in Australia who are experiencing entrenched disadvantage. SEDI has two main activities: the SEDI capability building grants, and online education and mentoring.

SEDI Grants

SEDI Grants support eligible social enterprises (Indigenous owned or controlled organisations with a defined social benefit) to build capability to grow their impact. Grant funds are to be used to purchase capability building services from intermediaries and other businesses, such as financial services, evaluation and impact measurement, business consulting and legal advice.

How much is a SEDI Grant worth?

The amount of funds awarded for a SEDI Grant depends on (1) the capability building services a social enterprise requires, (2) the associated provider/intermediary costs and (3) the social enterprise’s internal costs necessary to purchase capability building services. A grant will not be valued at more than the social enterprise’s annual turnover. The maximum value of a SEDI Grant is $120,000.

When are SEDI Grant applications due?

The SEDI Grants program will run through to June 2026, ensuring ample time for submissions by eligible social enterprises. Applications will be assessed at the next available SEDI Grants Expert Panel session. Grants will be awarded based on the merit of the enterprises/projects.

Are SEDI Grants repayable?

In general, SEDI Grants are not repayable, however funds not expended in accordance with grant agreements will be repayable. Under special circumstances grant agreements may have conditions where part of the grant is repayable if defined performance thresholds are not met. These conditions would be negotiated between the SEDI Grants Team at Impact Investing Australia (IIA) and the social enterprise, with the underlying intention to maximise the ecosystem support of the grant funds. Details are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Do I need to partner with a provider before applying?

Yes. It is important that social enterprises eligible for a SEDI Grant start engaging and connect with their preferred provider(s) (i.e. the intermediaries that will provide capability building services) early on. An applicant can have up to three providers. Note: There are no SEDI Grant ‘approved’ intermediaries. The intermediaries listed here on our website have not been qualified by IIA. We strongly recommend you carry out your own research on the suitability of an intermediary.

How can I find and engage with a provider?

Finding the right provider who understands your social enterprise and can offer the support you require is essential for building capability and scaling impact. These organisations should have prior experience with capability building services. For services outside of their expertise, you can subcontract a second or third provider.

For instance, you may work with your lead provider to develop an Impact Measurement Framework and other capability building services to assist with scaling impact, and also subcontract an accounting firm to help you with financial management and reporting.

At the time of your application, you need to clearly understand what services you require to build capability to grow your impact.

Who can be a provider?

Providers can be organisations or individuals that provide capability building services (such as financial services, evaluation and impact measurement, business consulting and legal advice) that will help your social enterprise to build capability to grow your impact.

What is an expression of interest (EOI)?

An EOI is a formal indication of your social enterprise’s interest in applying for a SEDI Grant. It helps the SEDI Grants Team determine whether you are eligible for a grant. An invitation to apply for a grant will only be offered by the SEDI Grants Team after successfully completing the EOI process.

An EOI can be submitted by answering questions here. Once an EOI form is successfully submitted, the applicant will be prompted to book in a phone call with a SEDI Grants Team member (from IIA). The purpose of the call is to discuss the social enterprise’s eligibility (according to the eligibility criteria) and provide the applicant with an opportunity to ask questions about the grant process.

Should the social enterprise be deemed eligible to apply for a SEDI Grant, an online application form will be shared with the applicant to complete and submit for assessment by the SEDI Grants Expert Panel.

What is the difference between an EOI and an application?

An EOI is used to assess a social enterprise’s eligibility for a SEDI Grant and is different from an application. A SEDI Grant application is a comprehensive and detailed proposal outlining the social enterprise’s activities, area/s of impact and overall purpose. The online grant application form is submitted by applicants that have successfully passed the EOI stage.

How should a successful applicant measure and present their social outcomes?

A successful SEDI Grant applicant will ​be able to explain​ the societal outcomes they create and demonstrate how these outcomes are achieved. (Refer to the approved Department of Social Services outcome areas [PDF]).

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to outcomes measurement, grant recipients need to have a method and metrics in place to measure their outcomes that best suit their social enterprise, as they progress through the project timeline.

Once approved for a SEDI Grant, grant recipients will be required to develop and submit an Impact Measurement Framework and a Business Plan as part of their grant-funded activities (if they do not already have one).

Although flexible in its structure, an Impact Measurement Framework will:

  • define the intended impacts of the social enterprise’s activities
  • define the theory of change through which impact will be created
  • establish valid and reliable indicators that will be used to measure and report on impact

A Business Plan could include, for example, your social enterprise’s:

  • strategic objectives
  • operational goals
  • financial plans
  • risk assessment and approach

What if I already have an Impact Measurement Framework/Business Plan?

Social enterprises that have an existing Impact Measurement Framework and/or Business Plan in place can use the grant funds to review and re-develop these, if needed. Otherwise, social enterprises will need to identify (in the grant application form) the capability building services they require. There is a list of services provided in the SEDI Grant application form that social enterprises can choose from.

Should other capability services be required, the SEDI Grants Expert Panel will consider which services will be included in the grant agreement for acquittal at the end of the project timeline.

What are capability building services?

When completing the SEDI Grant application form, social enterprises must list the capability building services they require to grow their impact. A costed budget must be allocated to these services. The total costed budget will equate to the amount of grant funds being requested.

The SEDI Grant application form includes a list of services that social enterprises can choose from. These services could include:

  • Advice on systems implementation
  • IT/HR/Inventory/Accounting
  • Advice on financial management and reporting
  • Advice on marketing strategy/materials preparation
  • Advice on social procurement strategies
  • Investor grant pitch development
  • Introductions to impact investors or philanthropists
  • Operations advice to assist in scaling operations
  • Other capability building services to assist with scaling impact
  • Internal costs necessary to purchase capability building services (to a maximum of 20% of total grant funding)

Social enterprises can include other services (not included in the list) that will assist them to grow their impact. This list of services is flexible and will change as the SEDI Grants Team learns more about what social enterprises need to grow their impact.

Note: Grant funding can be used by the social enterprise to have its capability building needs assessed by a provider/intermediary, after a SEDI Grant has been awarded. The list of capability building services, the chosen provider/s (intermediary/ies) and allocated budget the social enterprise identifies in its grant application can be changed, subject to approval by the SEDI Grants Team. No extra funding will be provided.

How often are the SEDI Grant Expert Panel sessions held?

We anticipate the Expert Panel will meet approximately every two months.

How will the grant funds be paid?

An upfront payment equivalent to 80% of the total SEDI Grant funds will be made once the Grant Agreement has been signed between IIA and the SEDI Grant recipient.

The final 20% of the funds will be paid once the grant activities have been successfully acquitted.

Can an enterprise use grant funds to pay internal costs?

Yes. A social enterprise can apply for up to 20% of the total grant amount to be used for the internal costs of engaging with the SEDI Grants program. The remainder of the grant funds must be spent on purchasing capability building services from the designated capability building provider(s). The payment of internal costs must be made with funds provided in the acquittal payment (see below).

What is an acquittal payment?

An acquittal payment equivalent to the remaining 20% of the total grant funds is included in the SEDI Grant. It is payable when the social enterprise’s capability building services are completed and an Impact Measurement Framework and Business Plan have been developed by the end of the project timeline and approved by the SEDI Grants Team. In cases where social enterprises already have either or both an Impact Measurement Framework and/or a Business Plan, then the mandatory services outcome as specified in the Grant Agreement is required for approval by the SEDI Grants Team.

For example: A social enterprise that is awarded a $90,000 SEDI Grant will receive $72,000 when the grant is awarded and $18,000 when the capability building services are completed, and an Impact Measurement Framework and Business Plan are approved, at the end of the project timeline.

A significant level of responsibility sits with the provider/s (intermediary/ies) to help create an Impact Measurement Framework or tool to measure impact outcomes for the social enterprise, and for developing the Business Plan.

How does a successful grant recipient acquit the funds?

At the end of the project, which must be completed within six months of being awarded a SEDI Grant, the grant recipient will be required to acquit the grant funds and show evidence of the mandatory services outcome as specified in the Grant Agreement. This will include deliverables, such as the completion of the capability building services and development of an Impact Measurement Framework and a Business Plan.

When are SEDI Grant funds paid?

The initial SEDI Grant funding (of 80%) will be paid approximately eight weeks after the application round closes. The acquittal payment equivalent to 20% of the grant funds will be paid at the end of the project timeline, upon completion of the capability building services and approval of an Impact Measurement Framework and Business Plan.

What is the total SEDI Grant funding pool?

The total funding for SEDI Grants is $6 million over three financial years.

Could the total amount of grant funds be allocated early on in the program?

Funding for SEDI Grants has been allocated for each financial year of the program. We do not anticipate the annual allocation to be expended in the first few grant rounds of each financial year.

More information

If you need clarification on the above or have questions, you can email the SEDI Grants Team at: SEDIGrants@impactinvestingaustralia.com