This autumn, up to 40 start-ups from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with a social and/or environmental mission will partake in leading social enterprise incubator Two Feet.
The Two Feet program is run by TDi (The Difference Incubator), known as the hardest business heads in social enterprise and subsidised by the National Australia Bank (NAB). The Two Feet program normally costs $15,000, but thanks to NAB funding will be delivered for $5,000 per company.
After starting in Melbourne last month, Two Feet is launching in Sydney and Brisbane. TDi’s scouting team will be in both cities in April to interview potential participants, who are invited to apply via TDi’s website.
TDi co-founder and CEO Bessi Graham said Two Feet was part of a long-term mission to build a critical mass of successful social enterprises across Australia ready to take on investment.
“At present, the social enterprise market is like the tech scene in the nineties – a market in its infancy, but which has enormous potential to change the world while also making money,’’ Graham said.
“We want social enterprise to become mainstream. Once we have a critical mass of enterprises, other startups will see how they can do good and make money, and investors will see how they can do good while diversifying and de-risking their portfolios.”
How does the Two Feet program work?
Graham said the team do not select charities or ‘napkin ideas’, but social enterprises who are already trading, or entrepreneurs with a track record who have an amazing idea.
“We want to move social enterprises away from grant reliance and into a business model where they are doing good and making money. We are looking for companies that could stack up as good investment and demonstrate their social impact.”
The Melbourne edition of the program launched last week and eight start-ups have already been selected to participate. A second edition will start this June for a further 10 social enterprises.
A team of TDi experts will work with the start-ups for six months, after which the two top performers from each program in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will be selected by their peers to present to a Dragons’ Den style panel including TDi, NAB and impact investors in Melbourne. The winning enterprise will also have the opportunity to participate in TDi’s highly competitive Investment Readiness Program.
Who is taking part in Two Feet Melbourne?
The Two Feet Melbourne participants are an inspiring and diverse group of entrepreneurs with big ideas to make a positive social or environmental impact.