Westpac Foundation announced it has awarded grants valued at $1.5 million to five not-for-profit social enterprises across Australia, through its Social Scale-up Grant program. Individually, the grants consist of $300,000 over three years as well as non-financial support from the Westpac Group.
The successful recipients are operating businesses across a diverse range of sectors yet have a common goal of creating Award-wage paying jobs and employment pathways for vulnerable Australians.
Westpac Foundation CEO Sinclair Taylor said the work of social enterprises in creating supportive work environments and training opportunities was critical to those Australians facing barriers to gaining mainstream jobs.
“People who are unemployed over long periods of time are more likely to become socially and economically excluded and to suffer mental health issues. The funding from Westpac Foundation Social Scale-up Grants will support five not-for-profit organisations who are each using innovative business models to support vulnerable Australians into meaningful training and work, which will help them transition to mainstream employment,” Mr Taylor said.
In addition to its financial contribution, Westpac Foundation also offers grant recipients a range of non-financial support (such as business mentors) that is designed to increase their financial sustainability and social impact.
“Many of our applicants are generating enough trading income to sustain their current business operations; however, they need capital to grow. Our aim is to back social enterprises that have demonstrated their social impact and help them deliver more jobs and employment pathways for fellow Australians in need,” Mr Taylor said.
Following the success of the Social Scale-up Grant program launched last year, this 2017 cohort joins the initial five Social Scale-up Grant recipients we announced in 2016 – Bama Services, Green Connect, The Bread & Butter Project, Jigsaw Business Solutions and STREAT.
“Together our ten Social Scale-up grantees will create real impact. Collectively they are forecasting more than 2,000 currently unemployed people will be supported into jobs, in addition over 2,000 people will also have access to formal qualifications or valuable work experience”.
The Social Scale-up Grant program builds on the long history of Westpac Foundation backing Australian communities. Over $16 million in grants has been awarded by Westpac Foundation to social enterprises over the past ten years.