Scaling impact

An accelerator for propelling change

What is Scaling Impact?

Scaling Impact is an accelerator that helps social enterprises and purpose-driven startups
grow their business and prepare for future impact investment.

Given COVID-19, we are focused on enterprises with strong business models operating in resilient sectors.


There are no upcoming events at this time.

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Demo Day is the culminating event for the Scaling Impact program.

Taking place virtually on Tuesday 10 November, the inaugural and massively successful Demo Day saw the eight selected Scaling Impact social enterprises pitched to an audience of over 200 sector leaders, mentors, government and community supporters, industry partners, and impact investors.

we’re looking for startups with


An unambiguous social or environmental intention preferably focused on disadvantage and/or employment and operating in a resilient sector

SDG Alignment

A mission aligned with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Business Model

Revenue traction and a proven business model with embedded impact

Ambition to Grow

An intention to grow and scale

What is impact investment?

How does My startup “get ready” for it?

An impact investment is an investment made with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.

An organisation gets ready for impact investment by, amongst other things, demonstrating strong financials, good governance, proven leadership, solid business planning and modelling and the capability to measure social or environmental impact.

Unsure where your startup is on its impact investment readiness journey?

Sign up to our mailing list to access our Impact Investment Readiness Questionnaire.

Scaling Impact offers


Facilitated by experts with experience in scaling social businesses

Tailored Advisory

Access to consulting services from EY or Social Impact Hub’s Professional Impact Network

One-on-One Mentoring

Regular meetings with an assigned mentor and coaching sessions with our entrepreneur-in-residence

Pitch Support

Support on preparing for pitching at Investor Demo Night

Investment Readiness Diagnosis

Assessment of where your business is on the investment readiness journey via our sophisticated diagnostic tool and expert advice 

Co-working Space

Access to a dedicated work space at the Social Impact Hub in Sydney and in partner organisations around Australia and the world post COVID-19

Tools & Resources

Access online tools and resources such as CASE Smart Impact Capital

High Value of the Program

The in-kind value of the program is approximately $60-70,000 per enterprise

About us

Scaling Impact is an initiative of the Social Impact Hub.

The Social Impact Hub collaborates with bold, purpose-driven organisations to accelerate change. Through advice, thought leadership, education and the mobilisation of capital, we help create a world where people and the planet thrive.

We specialise in supporting social enterprises and purpose-driven businesses to design, demonstrate and scale their impact. As a leading provider for Impact Investment Ready Readiness Growth Grants, we also have deep expertise working with enterprises to prepare for and raise impact investment.

Scaling Impact team and advisory committee

Scaling Impact is a collaborative initiative designed and supported by professionals with a range of skills and expertise.

We thank our Professional Impact Network members, mentors and Advisory Committee members for the generous contribution of their time.

Our Supporters

We are very grateful for the generous support of the Sidney Myer Fund who have provided multi-year, capacity building funding to the Social Impact Hub, including for Scaling Impact. This program received grant funding from the Australian Government through the Incubator Support Initiative in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. We thank EY for their sponsorships and for kindly providing workshop venues and in-kind advisory support. We also thank the English Family Foundation for their support of the development of the Impact Investment Readiness Diagnostic Tool.

Our collaborators

We would like to thank the following organisations for their support in referring and supporting Scaling Impact enterprises.


“The input was critical to our ability to get ready for impact investment.”

“At every stage we had access to key advisors, practical support and the skill set necessary to make the raise happen.”

Marissa Sandler

“They helped us navigate the complexities of getting ready to raise impact investment…”

“. . . and provided us with the confidence to grow our impact!”


Johan du Plessis

“The impact investment readiness support is fantastic regardless of what phase your venture is at.”

“The Scaling Impact Workshop is ideal for those preparing for investment in the short to medium term and was perfect timing for us.”

Mark MacDuffie
Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation


Scaling Impact Program

How does the accelerator work?

If selected, you will be in a cohort of a maximum of 12 enterprises participating in the program. Scaling Impact offers a menu of activities, delivered over a 5-month period, that build investment readiness, including:

  • Masterclasses facilitated by relevant experts
  • Investment readiness diagnostic
  • Tailored consultancy
  • 1 on 1 mentoring and coaching
  • Peer support and facilitated networking
  • Introductions to investors and opportunities to pitch
  • Co-working space

In a normal environment, this is facilitated through a hybrid model of delivery and engagement in person and through online tools. In the current environment, we envisage that we will deliver all of the activities online.

All components of the program are designed around an entrepreneur’s particular goals. By the end of the program social entrepreneurs in the program will have taken concrete steps forward on the path to becoming investment ready.

What will I get out of participating in Scaling Impact?

The enterprises participating in the cohort will receive significant value, including:

  • 8 action learning masterclasses, facilitated by experts with experience in scaling social businesses;
  • At least 5 days consulting from EY or Social Impact Hub’s Professional Impact Network;
  • Monthly meetings with a Scaling Impact mentor;
  • Entrepreneur’s personal learning path facilitated by a fortnightly 30-min Zoom call with the Enterprise Development Manager to discuss challenges, roadblocks, unlocking barriers to reach potential and to create accountability; and
  • Bookable monthly sessions with experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence through ‘coach desk’ function.

The total value of the program to each enterprise is estimated to be $60-70,000.

What are the outcomes I can expect?

By the end of the Scaling Impact program you will have materially progressed your enterprise’s readiness for impact investment. If your enterprise is impact investment ready you will have the opportunity to pitch to investors and impact investment funds at the program’s completion.

You will also have had opportunity to develop your interpersonal, communication, listening, management, and other ‘soft skills’ necessary for building your business and you will have made warm connections in the sector.

What is demo day like?

You will have the opportunity to present to impact investors on Tuesday 10 November as part of the 2020 Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific. This is the peak gathering of impact investors in the region which usually brings together 350+ investors, with around 50 international visitors in normal years.

What are my chances of being successful in raising capital at the end of the process?

The purpose of Scaling Impact Accelerator is to progress the investment readiness of all participants in the program and assist in the preparation for raising capital. We make no guarantee of a successful capital raising especially in this COVID-19 environment.

What are the international connections I can gain?

You will have the opportunity to present to international impact investors at Demo Day at the Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific which usually attracts approximately 50 international investors.

You will also have tailored advice from EY that can be focused on how to access new markets. EY will leverage their global network of 700 locations in over 150 countries to support participating startups.

If enterprises wish to enter emerging/developing high growth economies in Africa, Asia or Latin America, they will receive support from Grameen.

If the enterprise is focused on young people or employment, Save the Children have committed to provide entrepreneurs with access to Save the Children’s global networks and office space.

COVID-19 may impact the ability to realise some of these international connections.


What will the tailored advisory look like? What can I expect to receive from it?

The tailored advisory will involve enterprises working with experts towards being technically ready for impact investment as well as working on their personal development and growth, around communication, stress management, resilience and management skills.

You will be matched with an EY expert or a member of Social Impact Hub's Professional Impact Network to provide bespoke advisory support where you need it most. This will normally be at least five days of pro bono work. The Impact Investment Readiness diagnostic will help inform where you need further tailored advisory.

I am in a niche - do you have mentors with the right expertise?

We have a diverse team of professionals with a vast range of expertise and experience. While we may not have mentors with direct experience in every niche market that our enterprises operate in, they will have the skills that are relevant to getting investment ready such as strengthening business models, financial modelling and valuation, impact measurement etc.

How is Scaling Impact different from other accelerators?

We are an accelerator operating in Sydney, but we serve the whole of Australia. We are unique in that we focus on impact investment readiness for all socially or environmentally focused enterprises. Many others are commercially focused or are focused on earlier stage enterprises.

Who are the mentors?

Scaling Impact has access to a network of highly skilled professionals to offer mentoring support and advice to social purpose organisations. The mentors are selected carefully for their skill sets that are relevant to each enterprise at the stage they are at, so they can provide specific and tailored assistance to meet their needs.


What are the eligibility requirements?

Scaling Impact targets startups that are social enterprises or purpose-driven businesses. By this we mean businesses that have a social or environmental focus and that are aligned with SDGs. We are also looking for a proven business model or some traction in the market and an intention to grow and scale.

What sort of start ups are you looking for?

Scaling Impact will be open to impact entrepreneurs anywhere in Australia, including regional and remote locations. Scaling Impact targets startups that are social enterprises or purpose-driven businesses. By this we mean businesses that have an intention to have a social or environmental intention and that are aligned with one or more of the SDGs. We are focused on those enterprises where the impact model is intrinsic (ie. as the business scales, the impact also grows), and addressing disadvantage and/or employment. We are also looking for a proven business model or some traction in the market and an intention to grow and scale. We are focused on those ready to start preparing for impact investment. Given COVID-19, we are focused on enterprises with strong business models operating in resilient sectors.

We've already received funding, are we still eligible to apply?

If you have received grant funding or seed funding in the past and are working towards impact investment readiness and seeking larger scale investment funding, you are still eligible to apply.

I have already participated in an accelerator, can I still participate in Scaling Impact?

 We welcome applications from any enterprises that are socially or environmentally focused and have a well proven business model, or some traction in the market, irrespective of whether you have already participated in an accelerator.

Do I need to be in Sydney to participate?

In normal circumstances, Scaling Impact adopts a hybrid model of delivery and engagement, facilitating in person and through online tools. Given the current environment however, we expect to deliver most or all elements of the program online, so there is no need to be located in Sydney.


When does the next round of applications open and close?

Express your interest to receive updates when applications for the next cohort open.

How does the application process work?

Applicants will be asked to fill in a short application form online. It is likely that there will be a second stage in the selection process with further information requested from the shortlisted enterprises. We will conduct interviews before the final selection of a maximum of 12 enterprises.

Do you accept late applications?

We do not accept late applications unless there are extraordinary circumstances.

How do you choose which companies to accept in the program?

We will select enterprises with proven business models with the intention to grow and scale including internationally, preferably operating in the fields of disadvantage and/or employment. In this COVID-19 environment, we are particularly focused on enterprises operating in resilient sectors.

What if I need to change the answers to my application?

Applications can be resubmitted online at any point up to the application end date of May 22. After that date, you are welcome to email us.

I’ve applied and haven’t heard back! When will I get an answer?

We will be in touch with all applicants by May 31.

Do you provide feedback on unsuccessful applications?

Yes, we are happy to provide verbal feedback to you if you are unsuccessful.

Should I apply again if I am rejected?

Yes, applicants are welcome to reapply in the 2021 program if they are unsuccessful in 2020.

Participation in Scaling Impact

Is now a good time to participate in an accelerator program during these uncertain times?

Many enterprises will have seen considerable disruption and change to their businesses as a result of COVID-19. Others will have new growth opportunities in their sector in the COVID-19 environment. Investors will still be looking for opportunities to invest in companies that have a resilient business model that are operating in sectors that are more able to withstand the impact of COVID-19 or that have growth opportunities as a result. For all enterprises, the accelerator offers the opportunity to take the time to work on strengthening business plans, reviewing impact measurement frameworks and doing other preparation for future investment.

Will the program definitely go ahead in the COVID-19 environment?

The program will only be run if we receive a strong response, and 8-10 high calibre social enterprises are selected. If not, applicants will have the option to defer their applications to the next program to be run in early 2021.

How big of a time commitment is the program?

Scaling Impact offers a menu of activities, delivered over a 5-month period. These do not require a full-time commitment. In the program, entrepreneurs are not passive recipients of content, rather active participants so it is expected that they will action learnings throughout the duration of the program in a model of iterative project-based learning and this will require a significant commitment of time.

How many founders need to participate in the program? Can my team join?

Where possible and beneficial to the progress of the enterprise, team members will be welcome to participate.

Our masterclasses are open to additional team members. Depending on places available and the level of other interest, there may be a small fee involved.

Do you invest in the participating companies?

We do not commit to invest directly into our participating enterprises. We retain a right to invest on the same terms as other investors for three years post completion of the program.

Does it cost money to participate?

There is no upfront cost to our selected cohort to participate in the Scaling Impact accelerator program. However, if investors choose to invest in your enterprise, we require a fee to help cover the costs to offer the program to future cohorts. Also, some of our Scaling Impact masterclasses will be offered to members of the public at a cost.

Other Questions

I have additional questions, who should I contact?

If you have an additional question that is not answered via our FAQs please email us and we will quickly respond to your question.

What is the work space that you provide?

Social Impact Hub’s has office space available in Edgecliff. We also have access to the office space of our program partners in other states in Australia and in multiple international locations.

Do I have to work out of the Social Impact Hub office?

No, you do not have to work out of the Social Impact Hub office. In the current environment, it is expected that most or all activities for the program will be conducted virtually.

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