Guidelines & FAQ

If you are a not-for-profit organisation and would like to consider applying for a Discovery Grant - here is all you need to know!

Application

Application Guidelines

Discovery Grants may fund the following organizations and activities:


  • Incubators and/or innovation labs to effectively engage staff in the innovation/social enterprise area and identify projects suitable for impact investing
  • Engage partners/specialist skilled volunteers to assist in developing business cases and train staff in a range of impact investing tools, e.g. loan agreements, capital raising mechanisms etc.
  • Document and make readily available appropriate case studies, tools and guides, resources, approved partners and networks to support the NFP sector
  • Support NFPs to engage external advisors to act as mentors, reviewers and trainers
  • Support NFPs who have implemented impact investment projects to play a more active part to mentor and support other NFPs


Discovery Grants do not fund:

  • Salary costs for staff and/or Board Members to participate in the capacity building program
  • Costs associated with attending conferences
  • Costs associated with the development and/or implementation of new or modifications to existing IT Systems

The maximum grant amount is $50,000. 

We invite ALL charitable organisations to apply (DGR Item 1 Status is not required), who:


  • Clearly demonstrate a commitment to developing a more sustainable business to achieve positive social and/or environmental outcomes via impact investing;
  • Have a deep understanding of their clients and different service model options; and
  • Can demonstrate an awareness of the requirements of impact investing, trading enterprises and alternative financial models.

  • Source other funds (cash and/or in-kind) too add value to the capacity-building program;
  • Have identified an external intermediary impact investment expert to assist and advise them on their impact investing journey; and/or
  • Have NOT received previous funding for an impact investing project.


Eligible organisations which have an impact investing project – existing or about to commence – which requires capacity-building to ensure its success/de-risking may also be considered.


The Impact Investment Ready Discovery Grant provides grants to help not-for-profit organisations explore pathways towards financial sustainability and lay the foundation for future investment proposals.

         WHAT CAN BE FUNDED

         WHO CAN APPLY

         THE PURPOSE OF THE DISCOVERY GRANT


         GRANT AMOUNT 

Activities That Can Be Funded

The intent of the Growth Grants is to help enterprises with the greatest chances of success to secure capital investment. It has been designed based on global best practices and has incentives that help to achieve this outcome. We recognise that a significant level of responsibility sits with the providers to secure capital investment for the enterprise. Therefore, payment is split into two parts: 70% of the approved amount will be paid on approval of the grant, and the remaining 30% once the enterprise proves that it has secured the investment sought.

WHAT IS A PERFORMANCE-BASED PAYMENT STRUCTURE?

Grantees will have the unique opportunity to present to the Growth Grant investor circle Twentyfive*25 and explore the potential for support and funding with the members. Twentyfive*25 members include individual investors, family offices, trusts and foundations, and investment companies interested in financing mission-driven organisations. More details on the next roundtable are be provided in the application form. More information about Twentyfive*25 can be found here.

DOES IMPACT INVESTMENT READY FACILITATE ACCESS TO INVESTORS?

Growth Grants cannot be seen as a way to subsidise the due diligence for any provider that invests in the enterprise, while also performing the relevant capacity building work. The Growth Grant Panel requires full disclosure if the provider expects to take an equity component in the enterprise or a performance fee upon the successful capital raise. If the aggregated amount of the equity component and performance fee is greater than 10%, this will reflect unfavourably on the applicant, even though it will not automatically make them ineligible for a grant.

CAN PROVIDERS INVEST IN ENTERPRISES THEY PERFORM CAPACITY BUILDING WORK FOR?

The types of Providers vary for each applicant depending on the characteristics and needs of the business. A list of providers who have successfully secured a grant and investment with an enterprise are listed in the “Providers” section of the Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant website. Applicants can either connect to one of these Providers, or find an appropriate Provider themselves.

HOW DO ENTERPRISES FIND PROVIDERS?

Providers can be organisations or individuals that services like advisory, legal, financial, or intermediary services that help the applicant to become investment-ready. When a provider takes three enterprises from successful application through to investment they will be credited with a Gold Star provider rating. If a provider is successful in receiving grant funds through the enterprise they are working with and fails to secure investment for the enterprise on the agreed conditions two times, they will not be able to apply for further grant funding. This is to ensure that the quality and effectiveness of the services provided to enterprises will give them the best chance for success.

WHO CAN BE A PROVIDER?

Yes, enterprises can only apply for a grant partnership with a provider – without exception.

DOES THE APPLICANT ALREADY HAVE TO BE IN CONVERSATION WITH A PROVIDER?

Grant leverage refers to the ratio between the grant amount and the investment raised. For instance, if an enterprise receives a grant of $60,000 and raises $1,200,000 in equity and debt funding, the leverage is 20.During the Growth Grant's first 18 months of operation, grantees who have successfully secured capital achieved an average leverage of 24.

WHAT IS GRANT LEVERAGE?

All applications will be reviewed for completeness and key eligibility criteria. Those that meet the initial review will then proceed to the judging panel. The panel decides which applicants will be invited for an interview.After the interviews, the panel decides on approval or decline of the applications. Unsuccessful applicants who make it through to the panel interview will receive feedback and may be invited to apply in future rounds.

HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?

In general, Growth Grants are not repayable. However, the Panel reserves the right to provide grants under the condition of repayment upon achievement of defined performance thresholds. Under such condition, the repayment is to be considered as a mutual agreement between the Panel and the enterprise with the interest to maximise the ecosystem support of the Growth Grant funds, not an obligation. All further details are determined on a case by case basis.

ARE GROWTH GRANTS REPAYABLE?

Impact Investment Ready accelerates the impact investing ecosystem through support of mission-driven organisations with two grant programs. Growth Grants enable impact businesses to become investment-ready and grow, Discovery Grants support not-for-profit organisations that want to explore pathways towards financial sustainability.

WHAT IS IMPACT INVESTMENT READY?

Impact investments are investments that are intentionally made into organisations that deliver measureable social and/or environmental outcomes alongside financial returns.

WHAT IS AN IMPACT INVESTMENT?

  • A NFP that has already identified and fully developed an impact investing proposal and now wishes to seek potential investors. In this case, the NFP should consider applying for the Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant


  • A NFP wishes to send a Board and/or staff member to visit impact investment projects in Australia and/or overseas and seeks a grant to cover the costs associated with such visits. There are now many well developed case studies available, and if considered, a priority should be funded using the organisation’s own resources.


  • A NFP wishes to cover the cost of staff time to learn and train in impact investing. This is considered more appropriate to be funded via the organisation’s own resources.


  • A NFP needs to purchase a new Accounting/HR IT system to support monitoring and reporting functions associated with a proposed impact investing program. This is considered more appropriate to be funded via the organisation’s own resources


          EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES THAT CAN BE FUNDED

          EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES THAT WILL NOT BE FUNDED

  • A NFP engages experienced intermediaries to work with the Board and Senior Management to review the operations of the organisation, identify possible areas that may be suitable for an impact investing opportunity, and ascertain priorities and next steps to develop a proposal and likely impact investors.


  • A NFP which has already been successful identifying, developing and delivering an impact investment program offers to assist other NFPs via a mentoring/advisory service. For instance, if a key staff member is available to work with other NFPs for one day per week over a given period at no fee, the grant would cover the costs of the service, including salary and other associated costs like travel and accommodation.


  • A NFP has identified a potential program suitable for impact investors and engages an experienced intermediary to review their proposal and asses the capability of the organisation to develop the proposal as well as identify the next steps to develop a proposal and likely impact investors.


  • An intermediary proposes to develop a NFP Guide to developing impact investing proposals via their NFP client. Such a program may include the creation of templates, tools, and guides which are made freely available online to all NFPs as well as seminars or workshops.


  • A NFP engages experienced intermediaries to undertake a training needs analysis of the Board and senior staff to assess their capability to undertake impact investing and deliver in-house training programs on impact investing, loan agreements, capital raising etc. as identified


  • A NFP engages experienced intermediaries to establish an accelerator program/innovation lab within one organisation and/or with other similar organisations to build the capacity of staff to identify and undertake impact investing proposals.


  • A NFP which has an existing impact investing program – which may or may not have commenced - and has identified gaps in their capability to deliver such a program. To de-risk and/or improve the chances of the impact investing program succeeding, they develop and deliver a targeted capacity-building program for their staff/Board and/or appoint an external provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS AN IMPACT INVESTMENT?

Impact investments are investments that are intentionally made into organisations that deliver measureable social and / or environmental outcomes alongside financial returns.


WHAT IS IMPACT INVESTMENT READY?

Impact Investment Ready accelerates the impact investing ecosystem through support of mission-driven organisations with two grant programs. Growth Grants enable impact businesses to become investment-ready and grow, Discovery Grants support not-for-profit organisations that want to explore pathways towards financial sustainability.


ARE DISCOVERY GRANTS REPAYABLE?

Discovery Grants are not repayable. 


HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?

All applications will be reviewed for completeness and key eligibility criteria. Those that meet the initial review will then proceed to the Grant Committee.

The Grant Committee makes a final decision on the approval or rejection of the application.

While there are generally no interviews to evaluate applications, the Grant Committee may contact applicants in case of further questions.


WHAT WAS FUNDED IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE DISCOVERY GRANTS?


Impact Investing Discovery Grants Awarded – Round 1 June 2017

The Grants Selection Committee received 65 application for Discovery Grants from not-for-profits across Australia seeking funds to build their capacity in Impact Investing. The Selection Committee awarded grants to 6 organisations for a total of $280,500, namely:


Capital Idea!  A Regional Social Impact Initiative
University of Canberra
$50,000

Capital Idea! will train and deploy a network of skilled business advisors and administer a small grants program to assist social entrepreneurs in the Capital Region to develop sustainable and impactful social business models that will attract social impact investment, including venture philanthropy.


Seabank

Total Environment Centre Inc

$38,000

TEC was established in 1972 and among other environment protection work manages and directs the Boomerang Alliance campaign of 47 groups which is seeking to reduce dangerous marine plastic pollution (see: http://bit.ly/2ieaE6E).  The impact investment project seeks to develop a non-profit business for collection infrastructure for donated containers and transport logistics.  Having internally undertaken a research and investigation phase we are now moving into developing a business case and a pitch to potential investors, as well improving Board skills for the new enterprise.  


SisterWorks Creative Enterprises

SisterWorks Inc

$50,000

SisterWorks is a non-profit social enterprise that supports women of migrant, asylum seeker or refugee backgrounds to become financially independent and happily settled in Australia. SisterWorks focuses on sustaining the charity aspect (i.e. the training and mentoring of the women) and developing the business aspect of the organisation.  The SisterWorks Creative Enterprises Project focuses on the latter and involves: boosting the organisation’s capacity to support more women to support themselves; achieving 50% self-sustainability; and becoming impact investor ready to achieve scale.


Governance and Strategy Capacity Building to Support Impact Growth and Enterprise Sustainability

Green Collect

$50,000

Green Collect generates social benefit through the creation of new employment and training opportunities for communities facing significant disadvantage. The enterprise creates jobs by working with businesses to achieve the highest possible environmental outcomes for a wide range of discarded office resources. Green Collect deals with ‘hard to recycle’ office items and create new solutions that keep harmful materials out of landfill by finding the best reuse, upcycling or recycling pathways. This project will enable Green Collect to undertake critical capacity building work in areas of governance and strategic planning to guide business growth and identify financing required to achieve overall enterprise profitability to grow its impact.


Investment Ready for Ear Health

Telethon Speech & Hearing Ltd

$42,500

Telethon Speech & Hearing Ltd (TSH) is a charitable organisation that helps children with hearing or speech and language impairments learn how to communicate, socialise and learn.  Recognising how difficult it is for families to navigate the complex and costly system of supports (particularly for disadvantaged families), TSH delivers ear health services for children and adults.  In a competitive charity market, TSH is looking to improve its impact, sustainability and support for Western Australians through social investment for the acquisition and running of ear health/audiology clinics throughout WA.


BikeRescue Social Franchise Model

Dismantle

$50,000

Dismantle supports at-risk young people in Western Australia to achieve their potential.  The social enterprise engages youth, aged 12-17 through BikeRescue, a 10 week bike engagement program that uses hands-on learning to facilitate engagement, mentoring and transitions to further education and employment pathways. Dismantle delivers BikeRescue in partnership with youth service providers, ensuring appropriate wrap around support is available before, during and after the program.  To date, Dismantle has supported over 500 young people in Western Australia through over 60 WA based partners. Dismantle is facing increasing demand for BikeRescue and is exploring delivering their BikeRescue program through a social franchise model, which will enable them to scale up in a more sustainable and effective way, increasing the impact that they are having with young people across Australia.

 

This website is managed by Impact Investing Australia

Level 13, 114 William Street

Melbourne Victoria 3000

Telephone: 0478 544 523

Email: admin@impactinvestingaustralia.com



Growth Grant 

This website is managed by Impact Investing Australia

Level 13, 114 William Street

Melbourne Victoria 3000

Telephone: 1300 605 449 (tollfree)

Email: admin@impactinvestingaustralia.com

The Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant is managed by Impact Investing Australia. The Impact Investment Ready Discovery Grant is managed by Philanthropy Australia

The Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant is managed by:












Grant decisions are made by an independent expert panel:

Who We Are

Independent Advisor on Impact Investing

Fiona Rowland

Good Shepherd Microfinance

Corinne Proske

National Australia Bank (NAB)

Impact Investing Australia

Katherine Leong

Daniel Madhavan

Fiona Rowland
Katherine Leong
Corinne Proske
Daniel Madhavan