Impact Investing Australia (IIA) was today announced as the selected administrator of the $7m Australian Government Sector Readiness Fund (SRF) to enable for-purpose businesses to grow their impact. For the last 3.5 years, IIA, a not-for-profit organisation supporting the Australian Advisory Board for Impact Investing in growing the impact investing market, has been managing the Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant. This program was initially seed funded by National Australia Bank.

The $7m SRF, funded by the Department of Social Services, will be managed through an updated version of the IIA Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant. Grants of up to $140,000 will be awarded to eligible for-purpose businesses seeking additional investment to expand their positive contribution to the Australian community.

IIA CEO, Sally McCutchan welcomed the news saying, “supporting young and growing for-purpose businesses that contribute to our communities in areas ranging from housing for people with disabilities, to new ways to improve educational outcomes is an important part of building the impact investing market and driving social innovation.”

Director of Social Enterprise Development at IIA, Sabina Curatolo, added “raising capital to grow these for-purpose businesses often requires new skills and advice that these change-making entrepreneurs would not already have. The grants from this new fund will enable successful applicants to seek this specialist advice from intermediaries, enabling their businesses to grow and increase their impact. In this way, we are also encouraging growth in intermediaries which is key to effectively growing the impact investment eco-system.”

Impact Investment Group CEO, Daniel Madhavan who also chairs the Growth Grant selection panel also welcomed the news, commenting “we have already seen the successful allocation of $1.75 million in growth grants to 29 for-purpose businesses attracting on average, 20 times the capital granted. These businesses are now able to increase their contribution to better outcomes for people and planet. We have seen 3D printed solutions for people living with disability, and employment solutions for the long-term unemployed.  Many of the successful grant recipients told us they could not have successfully raised the capital needed to grow their businesses if not for the growth grant.”

“It is heartening to see the Australian Government take this positive step which will contribute to the impact investing ecosystem,” said Ms McCutchan. She continued “the key to scale at this point in market development is building more intermediation and investible product. To this end the proposal for Impact Capital Australia, a $300m catalytic wholesaler, similar to Big Society Capital in the UK is the game changing policy initiative to drive scale.  This institution would unlock more private capital for public good and help us move faster and realise greater impact for Australian communities.”

Impact investments, which intentionally target societal outcomes alongside financial returns, unlock private resources to achieve positive social and environmental impacts. Impact investing is already making a difference across a broad range of areas, including: housing, employment, disability, aged care, health, education, arts and culture, agriculture and the environment.

Applications for the SRF will open on Tuesday 20 November at impactinvestmentready.com.

Contact: Sabina Curatolo on 0400 318 205