Tips and inspiration for changemakers from the social impact crowdfunding website, StartSomeGood

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This Week in Social Entrepreneurship: Upcoming Events, New Startups, and More!


Let’s start good together and build a better world.

Hello, February! We have links to summits and conferences, news on new startups, and so much more. We are in exciting times in the world of social entrepreneurship!


Opportunities and Events

#StartingGood Social Enterprise Virtual Summit – March 2017 

Our crowdfunding campaign is still running (with amazing rewards up for grabs)! Learn how to start good this year in a free-to-access virtual summit. We at StartSomeGood are bringing you the #StartingGood Social Enterprise Virtual Summit for social entrepreneurs and aspiring changemakers.

National Achievers Congress – Sydney and Melbourne, February 28 & March 2 2017 

Hear from various speakers regarding Business & Entrepreneurship, Success Mindset, and Wealth Creation on 28 February in Sydney and 2 March in Melbourne. Book your tickets now!

2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference – Washington DC, February 22-24

Join different fundraising and marketing professionals gather in Washington DC from February 22-24 at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel for the nonprofit conference entitled “Disrupt: Change Yourself. Change Your Organization. Change the World.”


News, Reports, Insights

New Startup Accelerator For Social Entrepreneurs Targeting Climate Change And Water Systems 

Read about GoodCompany Ventures’ Climate Ventures 2.0 that helps 10 startups targeted at addressing climate change and threats to water systems.

UK Tech Startup Takes Over Social Media With Global Launch Campaign To Tackle Diversity In The Workplace #GettingMoreWomenIntoTech 

This tech startup aims to get 1000 women into technology roles by 2020.

How Social Media Usage Could Affect Your Startup Funding Opportunities 

Read about the importance of watching what you post on social media – your investors may be watching!



3 Reasons Why Social Entrepreneurs Need a Mentor 

Whether it is learning from their mistakes, tapping into their established network, or improving effectivity, social entrepreneurs can gain much from mentors.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Really Care About Public Schools 

Whether we realise it or not, schools are the breeding ground for the industry’s talent pool. This article explains why it is then important that social entrepreneurs take heed.

11 Keys To Finding Success As A New Entrepreneur 

There will be many days when the entrepreneurship world will seem so daunting and full. Here are some keys to finding success in the field.


Email us at if you have links you would like to share. We would love to hear from you!

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The Social Enterprise Design Challenge is back!

EFF Social Enterprise Design Challenge cover image


What is this for: new social enterprise concepts from DGR (tax deductible) organisations in Australia

Applications due: January 31, 2017

Crowdfunding: March

Amount: Up to a $15,000 match.

Express interest: here.



The Social Enterprise Design Challenge is a unique matched funding opportunity provided by the English Famly Foundation and hosted by StartSomeGood which supports non-profit social enterprises in Australia to test and design new concepts for creating sustainable and transformational social change.

We are looking for ambitious leaders who are finding new and innovative solutions to tackle the most pressing issues within our communities, and who need a little help to achieve this. By asking the community to invest alongside us we ensure that these solutions have the support and attention they need to have the best chance at succeeding.

Last year four non-profit social enterprises tested their ideas through crowdfunding with the help of the English Family Foundation and StartSomeGood. To our delight all four exceeded their fundaising goals. Together they raised over $130,000 from over 650 individual supporters. You can find out more about their campaigns and our criteria here.



Not Just Another Crowdfunding Platform: Our Partnerships Help You Double Your Money

Week 6

TL:DR Version

If you’re an impatient social entrepreneur reading this, here’s the gist: we partner with businesses, foundations and governments to boost the funds raised by selected social benefit projects on our site, often by providing up to half your funding goal up-front. We have three of these opportunities open right now – find them under the “Funding Opportunities” heading on our homepage.

If you want to know how and why we arrived at this model, read on…

How Best to Support Change?

If you’ve been with us for any length of time you know this, but StartSomeGood was founded with a mission to help innovative community benefit projects share their stories and raise the funds they need to launch, whether run by a social enterprise, a not-for-profit or a local community group or changemaker.

Like all the other crowdfunding platforms out there, our focus was (and remains) to build great tools to help for you to rally your community. For many platforms, that’s all they do, leaving projects to sink or swim entirely on their own. But we wanted to go further than that, because it was never about throwing projects out there, it was about helping them to succeed, and this, we rapidly learned, meant also focusing on coaching entrepreneurs on how to use these tools effectively.

We put more emphasis on coaching and supporting people to set up projects which succeed, which is why we have the highest success rate in cause crowdfunding.

But still, we were dissatisfied.

There are great ideas out there that struggle to get the attention of funders – particularly those with the capacity to make bigger investments – and which fail to gain the momentum they need to reach their goals, despite the quality or importance of the idea. While crowdfunding is an amazing tool for making new things possible it’s not a meritocracy with regards to those ideas. Those with more resources, connections, marketing experience and time will naturally tend to do better.

We kept asking ourselves how we could best help the best projects, based on the quality of their ideas, and help connect them with potential funders.

The answer came to us thanks to a conversation with ING DIRECT Australia. They had a somewhat different problem they wanted to solve: they were keen on supporting more grassroots projects, but uncertain about how to differentiate between the volume of ideas they were likely to receive without staffing up a major foundation, which they didn’t want to do. They also wanted to better leverage all their resources, including their communications channels and relationships, to support these projects, not simply provide a grant.

And a new approach to funding innovation was born.

Introducing Crowdmatch


We now call this model Crowdmatch, and we’re really excited about how well it works for both entrepreneurs, who get a huge boost at the start of their campaigns, and for our funding partners, who see their risk reduced, their funds go further and their community get more involved.

Crowdmatch sees a funding partner support a group of projects either from the start of their crowdfunding campaign, by providing up to half of the funds they are seeking, which then needs to be matched by the community, or at the end, based on meeting specific goals.

The goal of Crowdmatch is to better connect philanthropic giving with community aspirations and impact investing with market input.

The combination  gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits the best chance to raise the funds and rally the community backing they need to do good, while making institutional funding more targeted and impactful.

With ING DIRECT we are now into our third year of Dreamstarter and the sixth cohort of projects supported through the program will launch in two weeks. Through Dreamstarter ING DIRECT have invested about $200,000 in community benefit projects and together we have helped them crowdfund more than $300,000 more, with a 90% participant success rate.

We are working hard to increase the number of these opportunities available. Just in the last week we have launched two new opportunities.

New Crowdmatch Opportunities:

EFF Social Enterprise Design Challenge cover image

The Social Enterprise Design Challenge presented by the English Family Foundation is a rare and exciting opportunity for Australian-based non-profit social enterprises to design and test a “visionary” new project.

It will fund four projects for half their fundraising goal, up to $15,000 each. Find out more about what they’re looking for and how to apply here. Applications due by May 5.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.06.58 AM

The Young Changemakers Crowdmatch will support Australian changemakers aged 18-29 to develop and run crowdfunding campaigns, with $5,000 in match funds going to the projects with the most supporters and most funds raised at the end. Participating projects will get help from experts in both organisations and have their campaigns promoted to over 150,000 people.

Find out more and how to apply here. Applications due May 1.

Why just Australian opportunities? Because that’s what these particular partners are looking to fund and who is live right now, but we hear you, we want to create opportunities for everyone reading this and are in discussions with potential Crowdmatch partners in several countries. If you would like to see this model available to great projects in your country we would love your suggestions for potential partners as we are looking for new partners to add new opportunities all around the world! And if you are that potential partner, well….

Interested in Changing the World Together?

You can find out more about partnership opportunities with StartSomeGood here and when you’re ready get in touch with us here. We’d love to talk with you about collaboration!




A cheat-sheet of great opportunities for Australian Social Enterprises

one night stand

Jamie Green of One Night Stand sleepwear, a social enterprise which raises funds for homeless relief, and who was supported by ING DIRECT’s Dreamstarter.

This is an exciting time to be founding or growing a social enterprise in Australia, with a rapid build-out of a supportive ecosystem of organisations here to help entrepreneurs and enterprises succeed. As about 1/3 of our projects are currently from Australia (which makes it our equal biggest market with the US) and we have members of our team there who keep abreast of such things, we thought it would be worth summarising these opportunities as a cheat-sheet for Aussie entrepreneurs.

This is the first of a series of posts which will provide similar cheat-sheets for the US, UK, Canada, SE Asia and elsewhere.

Incubators, Accelerators and Leadership Programs

Need to discover your purpose, refine your idea or get serious about scale? Whichever stage you’re at one of the great programs below can help you take that next step!

School for Social Entrepreneurs
The School for Social Entrepreneurs started in the UK and launched in Australia in 2009. It now runs programs in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, helping aspiring social entrepreneurs to develop a clear theory of change and identify how to move forward with their vision.

Centre for Sustainability Leadership
The Centre for Sustainability Leadership (CSL) is another entrepreneurial leadership program – with a more environmental bent – to help people become “future makers”. They have programs for intrapreneurial leadership as well as a program for rural leaders.

One10 is a new social enterprise accelerator in Melbourne which works closely with enterprises to get them growing and ready to raise investment. The One10 accelerator program last for about 12 weeks, the program is tailored to each individual or business. They work to strengthen your market strategy, to help you commercialise, and to support your rapid growth.

Social Traders’ Crunch
The Crunch, run by Social Traders, has been around for five years and has worked with 100 social enterprises. They help participating enterprises grow capacity in creating jobs, business sustainability, waste reduction, accessible housing and more.

Impact Accelerator
Impact Accelerator is a Brisbane-based 20 week program dedicated to supporting social enterprise startup and early stage entrepreneurs achieve sustainable and scalable impact. The program includes 160 direct hours of contact with every social entrepreneur and is great for new, launching enterprises.

INCUBATE is an award-winning startup accelerator and entrepreneur program at the University of Sydney. INCUBATE fosters a proactive community of entrepreneurs on campus by providing funding, co-working space and mentoring from Australia’s most recognised entrepreneurs to accelerate the growth of high-potential startups. The program is open to students, researchers and alumni at the University of Sydney and is expanding across Australia.

Two Feet by The Difference Incubator
Two Feet, a new program run by The Difference Incubator, helps you build your organisation’s understanding and capacity on your journey to becoming investable. This six month program is structured into fortnightly group sessions and a monthly one-on-one coaching session which will explore the key aspects that you need to build into your business in order to grow an Investable Social Enterprise

Funding and Investment

Social Enterprises may have a sustainable business model but like many startups you may require investment to fully realise this. If this describes your enterprise here are a few opportunities you should look into.

Dreamstarter by ING DIRECT
Over the past three years ING DIRECT have supported 50 community projects – including many social enterprises – through their Dreamstarter program. If selected they will provide up to half your fundraising goal, then support you to raise the rest on StartSomeGood.

Some of the entrepreneurs supported by Dreamstarter last year

Some of the entrepreneurs supported by Dreamstarter last year

SEFA –Social Enterprise Finance Australia – is one of Australia’s leading lenders to mission-led organisations. SEFA provides tailored finance solutions to mission led organisations and are deeply committed to fostering positive social and environmental impact. They have recently launched a worlds-first collaboration with StartSomeGood to use crowdfunding success as a qualifying instrument for a loan. Find out more here.

Foresters Community Finance
Foresters provides community finance loans for social enterprises and non-profit organisations who are looking to grow and develop. These will be on relatively commercial terms.

Myer Innovation Fellowship
This doesn’t have to be a social enterprise but can be and is one of the great opportunities in the Australian social change sector. The Myer Innovation Fellowships supports Australia’s brightest, self-directed leaders to forge breakthrough solutions and articulate actionable ideas which compel our community to respond. Fellows will take nine months away from their current role to pursue a nascent idea that has the capacity to radically shift our approaches to the challenges facing the social and environmental sectors in Australia today. Fellows will each receive $100,000 for their nine month commitment to the program along with select administrative and operational support.

Local Government Funding
A number of Australian local governments have social enterprise funding programs. At StartSomeGood we’ve worked with the Cities of Melbourne (Pitch for Good), Parramatta (Parramatch) and Fremantle (Freomatch) to showcase great social entrepreneurs and support them to crowdfund additional support, matching that with government funding. So don’t forget to check out your local council for opportunities.

Impact Investment Readiness Fund
The Impact Investment Readiness Fund provides mission-driven organisations with targeted advice and support to help them secure investment for scaling up their social or environmental impact. The Fund offers grants of up to $100,000 for enterprises to purchase specialised capacity building support from providers such as advisory, financial, intermediary or legal services.

10×10 supports emerging charities and social enterprises across Australia through live crowdfunding events with 100 participants contributing a minimum of $100 and three organisations pitching for their support.

The Funding Network
TFN is an Australian non-profit organisation that hosts live collective-giving events where like-minded individuals, foundations and corporations come together to create powerful social change. At each event, four social entrepreneurs running grassroots non-profit organisations pitch for funding from a philanthropic audience. In six-minute segments our speakers share their inspiring stories and invite guests to become part of innovative solutions to community issues. TFN has raised $3.1 million for 94 organisations so far.

Crowdfunding with StartSomeGood!
Have to put this on the list. We love working with social enterprises and help them reach their goals at a very high rate. You don’t necessarily need the approval of institutional investors if you have an engaged community ready to support you and be early adopters of what you’re offering!

Events and Learning Opportunities

Events can be a source of knowledge and of community. They’re how you build your community and where you can find natural partners, collaborators and mentors, as well as where you can learn many of the essential skills to social enterprise success.

General Assembly
General Assembly transforms thinkers into creators through education and opportunities in technology, business, and design. They offer an incredible array of workshops and courses, on and offline (in Sydney and Melbourne, and another 17 locations worldwide) in everything a startup would need. Coding, design, customer development, marketing, data analytics and more. Doesn’t have a social focus but if you need to skill up on the hard skills to make your vision fly this is the place to look.

Link Festival
Link Festival is a wonderful conference which covers design, technology and social change, and for the first time this year takes place in Sydney in additional to Melbourne. Link bring together Australia’s leading and emerging social innovators and future makers along with students, startups and academics. Link 2016 takes place the first week of March and you can still get a ticket.

Nexus Youth Summit
Nexus is a global movement to bridge communities of wealth and social entrepreneurship. Nexus works to unite young investors, social entrepreneurs and allies to catalyse new leadership and accelerate global solutions. Applications have closed for the next Nexus Youth Summit Australia in March but it’s worth keeping an eye on the network of Nexus events happening around the world.

Social Enterprise Awards
The Social Enterprise Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in social enterprise in Australia. As the only national awards, this is your opportunity to tell your social enterprise story and be recognised for leading the way in addressing social, environmental or community issues. The awards take place towards the end of the year and are organised by Social Traders.

Entrepreneurs & Co
Entrepreneurs & Co hold monthly events in Melbourne which focus on how to start, fundraise for and grow a social enterprise.

Sprout Summit
Sprout Summit is a one-day event for emerging leaders who want to create positive impact by joining a non-profit board or starting their own non-profit or social enterprise. Sprout Summit will equip emerging leaders with the practical tools, processes and insights to create positive impact and drive successful change.

Their next conference is in Melbourne in July.

StartSomeGood CEO Tom Dawkins presenting at Sprout Summit last year.

StartSomeGood CEO Tom Dawkins presenting at Sprout Summit last year.

In additional to their accelerator One10 run regular events and workshops about pitching, fundraising, building product and other key entrepreneurial topics, mostly in Melbourne.

IMPACT Social Enterprise National Conference
IMPACT Social Enterprise holds a national conference in August each year for young innovators around the country to come together and engage with the idea of social enterprise. They introduce participants to the knowledge and skills required for tackling social problems with business models and innovation, and support these young people as they develop enterprises.

The first Purpose conference took place in December and was wonderful. Wildwon, the team behind it, have made no commitments about doing it again but I’m sticking this here in the hope they do. If they do you should go.