Social enterprise accelerator programs are specifically designed to help social entrepreneurs create and grow sustainable for-purpose businesses. Whether you’re in ideation phase or already in operation, a pit stop at a social enterprise accelerator is a great way to fast track your progress.
As the sphere of social entrepreneurship has expanded in the past few years, so too has the number of accelerators (and incubators). In general, these programs offer a combination of access to experienced entrepreneurs and mentors, business model refinement, start-up capital, and the opportunity to pitch to potential investors.
Here are some of the best support programs available to social enterprises in Australia. They each have their own timeline, format, and focus – so if you’re thinking of applying make sure you do your due diligence to determine which one is the best fit for you.
School of Social Entrepreneurs
The School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) Australia helps aspiring social entrepreneurs to establish, scale and sustain social ventures that create a lasting impact within disadvantaged communities. SSE runs a number of programs including an NDIS Accelerator, Social Change 101, Accelerator Program and newly launched Partnering for Scale & Impact (PSI). Since 2009 over 400 students have completed SSE Australia’s programs.
Young Social Pioneers
The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) Young Social Pioneers is an intensive six-month initiative that backs emerging social entrepreneurs to lead sustainable and impactful social ventures. Since it got going, it’s helped incubate, consolidate and scale more than 70 social enterprises.
Social Traders’ Crunch delivers business skills and networks to enable social enterprises to become sustainable and generate social impact. ST Crunch accelerates the development of enterprises by validating their business models and preparing them to access capital and customers. Through Social Traders’ high calibre networks, the program provides industry specific expertise through business mentors from a range of organisations, as well as analytical support from Melbourne Business School.
The Difference Incubator focuses on bridging the gap between social enterprises and impact investors through targeted capacity building and by helping to develop business models that can pay for capital while delivering measurable social benefits. TDi engages with social enterprises in four different ways to help them in their journey towards becoming Investable Social Enterprises (ISEs).
Impact Academy’s flagship project is the Impact Accelerator, a 20-week program dedicated to supporting startup and early stage entrepreneurs achieve sustainable and scalable impact. Other initiatives include the Impact Express, Impact Workshops, Impact Engagement and Impact Consulting.
ilab was established by the Queensland Government to support early stage, high-tech companies through the first few years of development by helping to build investor ready companies. ilab offers entrepreneurs three key programs – Germinate, Incubate and soon Accelerate. Since opening in 2000, ilab has incubated over 100 start-up companies and helped them raise over $70 million in grants and investment.
Feel free to add other social enterprise programs in the comments section.