September 8, 2015
Monday 7th September was the culmination of the inaugural Crunch program in New South Wales, with the 2015 cohort presenting their social enterprise ideas at Social Traders Pitch at Westpac in Sydney.
The Pitch is an opportunity for Crunch participants to showcase their social enterprise business plans and demonstrate their investment readiness in front of a panel of business experts and a room of social enterprise supporters.
Social Traders’ Managing Director David Brookes opened the evening reaffirming Social Traders’ continued commitment to developing investment-ready social enterprises.
“Investment readiness is one of the most critical issues confronting social enterprises not just here in NSW and Australia, but right around the world,” said Brookes, “We remain strongly committed to building the capacity and business skills of social enterprise and we will continue to evolve and improve our Crunch program to meet the diverse needs of social enterprises in Australia.”
Ten Crunch participants presented at the Pitch, putting forward a range of social enterprise ideas and social impacts which included:
- The Social Outfit – a fashion retailer providing employment and training opportunities to new migrants and refugees
- Figtree Conference Centre – function and event catering services that offer training and meaningful employment for people with a lived experience of mental health
- Pnyx – cloud-based technology supporting collaboration between care providers to enable person-centred care
- Studio A – an art studio dedicated to supporting and showcasing artworks created by artists with intellectual disability
- Mates on the Move – an initiative to support the transition of former prison inmates into training and employment with a dedicated removalist company
- Blak Markets – an open market initiative that provides business support and opportunities to small Indigenous business and training to Indigenous youth
- Fresh Ground – a social enterprise café providing training and career pathways for Indigenous and at-risk youth
- Uni2Beyond – a university-level inclusive education and internship opportunity for young adults with an intellectual disability
- Jigsaw Business Solutions – a digital information business that provides employment, training and skill development for people with a disability
- CARE TWO DANCE – a social enterprise dance studio that funds international outreach programs to deliver both dance and life skills workshops to young people
Each enterprise had the opportunity to share their social enterprise idea and demonstrate their investment-readiness to attract investment and support.
Whilst no immediate investment decisions are made at the event, the crowd selected Studio A as the People’s Choice Pitch for the most engaging social enterprise presentation on the night.
“This has really inspired us to keep doing what we’re doing because sometimes it can be really hard – physically, emotionally and mentally, but when you share your ideas with people with different perspectives whose opinions you really respect and to have them endorse and get excited about what you’re doing, it’s really encouraging,” said Gabrielle Mordy from Studio A.
The investor panel also provided feedback on each of the social enterprise ideas presented at the Pitch. The panel comprised of business, finance and philanthropy experts including:
- Hamish Hawthorn, CEO, ATP Innovations
- Ron Coskerie, Regional General Manager – Commercial Banking, Westpac
- Jenny Wheatley, CEO, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
- Justin Dowd, Executive Director, Global Corporate Bank, JP Morgan
Pitch panellist and Crunch mentor, Hamish Hawthorn reflected on the quality of the pitches on the night, commenting “I think all the enterprises did a great job of articulating what problem they were solving and they showed the detailed thought that had gone into the last 6 months. The way they presented their ideas tonight showed how they have developed and strengthened their value proposition along the journey and that’s at the heart of any sustainable business model.”
Social Traders’ Head of Enterprise Development, Lisa Boothby was delighted to see the first cohort of Crunch participants in New South Wales complete the program with their final pitches.
“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to work with these organisations through the Crunch program in Sydney this year, which couldn’t have been possible without the support from our partners JP Morgan and Westpac Foundation. This year’s Crunch cohort showed great social impact initiatives, particularly in support for the disabillity sector. We look forward to Crunch 2016″, said Boothby.
The 2015 Crunch participants will now continue to work towards securing investment to fulfil their start-up ideas, or the scale and growth of their existing enterprises.