The Crunch, a social enterprise accelerator program in Australia, has announced 15 startups that will join The Crunch Round 4 beginning February 2014.
Operated by Social Traders, a Melbourne-based nonprofit founded in 2008 to help establish commercially viable social enterprises throughout Australia, the program has received over 80 applications – up 100 percent from the previous round.
The Crunch takes strong ideas and builds on them through an intensive 6-month business development process with the goal of turning ideas into enterprises and investment opportunities within 12 months.
Social Traders said that the depth and diversity of the applications were impressive. Those participating in Round 4 reflect a variety of industries such as youth training and employment, waste and recycling, performing arts, food, education, and transportation.
In addition, Lisa Boothby, who is responsible for capacity building as the Head of Enterprise Investment Readiness, tells Autralia’s StartupSmart that she believes one key growth segment for the social enterprise sector in the coming years will be employment training.
Program participants, Boothby adds, will learn how to access the markets and get paying customers ahead of all the other options, such as grants. Based on the last rounds, successful social entrepreneurs are the ones who have the flexibility to respond to the market properly. “It can be quite tough when the market doesn’t like what you’re offering, no matter how great your cause is. You need to get back on your feet and change what you’re doing,” said Boothby.
Among the 15 startups, ten will be attending the program through sponsorship from the Westpac Foundation, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Sustainability Victoria, the Telstra Foundation, the Victorian State Government, and the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and The Arts.
Because of the support from government and philanthropic partners, Social Traders was able to double the number of participants in the program.
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