Four social enterprises have been selected out of 36 to battle it out in a Dragons’ Den style event for a chance to win $15,000 cash, a spot in a top investment readiness program and a trip to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 in New Zealand.
The panel event – with judges including Benefit Capital’s Paul Steele and JBWere’s Ariane Barker – is part of the ‘Two Feet’ graduation ceremony organised by Australia’s leading social enterprise incubator, The Difference Incubator (TDi) on Tuesday 22 November in Melbourne.
This year, 36 businesses from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland completed TDi’s six-month Two Feet program, which teaches social entrepreneurs how to do good, make money and ensure they have a scalable business that can take on investment capital. All participants voted to decide which of their peers should have a shot at the Dragons’ Den event.
Who is entering the TDi Dragons’ Den?
The TDi Dragons’ Den finalists are:
1. Refugee Talent
Co-founded by Syrian refugee Nirary Dacho and Australian Anna Robson, Refugee Talent is a digital platform connecting skilled refugees with companies offering short- and long-term job opportunities;
2. Champion Life
Founded by Kym Hunter, Champion Life provides motivation and education programs to help make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of Australian teenagers and encourage them to make sport and physical activity a lifelong habit;
3. Circular Food
Founded by Steve Morriss, Circular Food helps professional and urban farmers produce better tasting, higher quality and more profitable products by improving the health of soils through vermiculture (worm farms), thus creating a closed loop system for organic waste;
Founded by Alice Brennan, SettleIn is a tech platform allowing refugees to communicate with caseworkers, share paperwork and documentation and set goals to help them get a head start on building a good life in Australia.
How will the winner be decided?
The four Two Feet finalists will be judged on the desirability, feasibility and viability of their business model, their intent and social impact, their team and governance structures and their ability to scale, grow and raise or take on capital in the next 12 to 24 months.
As well at the cash prize and the trip to the world forum, the finalists will also compete for a coveted spot on TDi’s $150,000 Investment Readiness Program. This program, which is at the pointy end of getting an enterprise investor-ready, is extremely selective. TDi will only accept enterprises most likely to attract investment of $500,000 or more. Seventy per cent of previous participants have secured investment as a direct result of the program.
TDi co-founder and CEO, Bessi Graham, said TDi created Two Feet to build a stronger pipeline of investable social enterprises in Australia.
“While Australia’s social enterprise scene is bursting with ideas, it takes a lot of education and business acumen to prepare a company to successfully take on investment,” Graham said.
“Running Two Feet nationally for the first time has been an incredible journey. We’ve worked with some fantastic enterprises who have demonstrated consistent ability to iterate, evolve and learn.
“There is huge potential in this cohort, in fact some of them have already secured investment, which is a great testimony to the success and strength of our program.“