Who We Are
The Growth Grant
Guidelines & FAQ
If you are a mission-driven organisation and would like to consider applying for a Growth Grant, or are a capacity building provider who wants to learn more about the program - here is all you need to know!
We encourage applications from all organisations that focus on one or more of the following outcome areas:
The Growth Grant Panel considers a range of factors when assessing the applications. The most important ones include:
WHO CAN APPLY
The key eligibility criteria for grant applicants are:
THE PURPOSE OF THE GROWTH GRANT
The Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services as part of the Sector Readiness Fund, provides capacity building grants of up to $140,000 to mission-driven for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, allowing them to secure investment capital to scale their social impact.
We know that many mission-driven organisations in Australia have the potential to scale and increase their impact, but need investment in the form of equity and/or debt to do so.
We also know that raising capital can be challenging and often intimidating. Support from capacity building intermediaries can be invaluable at this stage - for instance to build the financial model, get the legal structuring of the organisation right, develop the Information Memorandum, and engage with potential investors. However, paying for such support can be a challenge in itself.
This is where the Growth Grant comes in. We provide grants to mission-driven organisations to pay for the capacity building support needed to raise capital and fast-track their growth and scale of impact.
If you believe you may be eligible for a grant, head to Application and fill out an Expression of Interest to confirm you meet all key eligibility criteria.
One of our team members will get back to you for a conversation about your eligibility, after which you may be invited to apply in one of the rounds.
EOIs are open on a rolling basis. Once a round meets capacity, any existing EOIs will be automatically be rolled over for consideration as early-entrants to the next round. We anticipate about 4 rounds/year.
Granting decisions are made by the Growth Grant Panel. The Panel evaluates screened applications and invites suitable candidates for interview.
Panel decisions are informed by the interview and applicants are notified of the outcome by the Impact Investment Ready team.
WHAT GROWTH GRANTS FUND
All grant funds must be used to pay for capacity building services from external intermediaries (Providers) that are directly related to your investment readiness and securing capital. The support financed by the grant must get you all the way to your capital raising.
The support needed is largely dependent on the characteristics of your organisation, but often includes:
Growth Grants do not fund:
WHAT IS AN IMPACT INVESTMENT?
Impact investments are investments that are intentionally made into organisations that deliver measurable social and/or environmental outcomes alongside financial returns.
WHAT IS IMPACT INVESTMENT READY?
Impact Investment Ready is an initiative that supports the impact investment ecosystem with two core programs. Growth Grants enable impact businesses to become investment-ready and scale, Discovery Grants support not-for-profit organisations that want to explore pathways towards financial sustainability. These programs do not only support mission-driven organisations with funding, but also strengthen the intermediary sector and build the impact deal pipeline for investors.
ARE GROWTH GRANTS REPAYABLE?
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 a condition, the repayment is to be considered as an 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.
WHAT IS GRANT LEVERAGE?
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 2 years, grantees who have successfully secured capital achieved an average leverage of 23. Applicants should seek leverage of at least 5 times the grant value in capital raised.
HOW MUCH INVESTMENT ARE GRANTEES USUALLY LOOKING FOR?
Grant recipients have typically sought between $500,000 and $3,000,000 equity and/or debt funding.
HOW WOULD A SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT BEST MEASURE AND PRESENT THEIR SOCIAL OUTCOMES?
A successful Growth Grant applicant will be able explain the societal outcomes they create and demonstrate how these outcomes are achieved. While there is no 'one size fits all' approach to outcomes measurement, the Panel expects that the applicant has found a method and metrics that best suit their organisation's needs.
DOES THE APPLICANT ALREADY HAVE TO BE IN CONVERSATION WITH A PROVIDER?
Yes, enterprises can only apply for a grant in partnership with a Provider.
HOW CAN THE APPLICANT FIND AND ENGAGE WITH A PROVIDER?
Finding the right Provider who understands your business and can offer the support you require is essential for the success of your capital raising.
We highly recommend that you find one lead Provider who commits to go all the way to the capital raising with you. These organisations should have prior experience with investment readiness and connections to potential investors. For services outside of their expertise (e.g. accounting,legal), you can subcontract a second or third Provider.
For instance, you may work with your lead Provider on the financial modelling, investment documents, information memorandum and investor engagement and subcontract a law firm to help you with the legal structuring of your organisation.
At the time of your application, you need to clearly understand what will be required to get you to investment readiness and the costs associated.
WHO CAN BE A PROVIDER?
Providers can be organisations or individuals who provide 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 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.
CAN PROVIDERS INVEST IN ENTERPRISES THEY PERFORM CAPACITY BUILDING WORK FOR?
Yes. However, 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 raising. If the aggregated amount of the equity component and performance fee is greater than 10% of the total deal, this will reflect unfavourably on the applicant, even though it will not automatically make them ineligible for a grant.
WHAT IS A PERFORMANCE-BASED PAYMENT STRUCTURE?
The intent of the Growth Grant 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.
IF I RECEIVE A GRANT, WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO RECEIVE THE FUNDING?
The initial 70% of the grant funding is paid approximately 6 weeks after the application round closes.
DOES IMPACT INVESTMENT READY FACILITATE ACCESS TO INVESTORS?
We are aiming to support successful grantees in anyway we can, which also includes potential introductions to investors or other connectionsin our networks that may be of value. However, you should not rely on us to find appropriate investors for your organisation.
More questions? Contact us!
Level 13, 114 William Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Telephone: 0478 544 423
Telephone: 1300 605 449 (tollfree)
The Impact Investment Ready Growth Grant is managed by:
Grant decisions are made by an independent expert panel:
Independent Advisor on Impact Investing
Good Shepherd Microfinance
National Australia Bank (NAB)
Impact Investing Australia