The purpose of Scaling Impact is to focus on addressing the needs of social start-ups at a crucial point in their development – the inflexion point between building on a proven track record and preparing to take on impact investment. 

Our ultimate goal for Scaling Impact is to grow the pipeline of investment ready social impact enterprises in Australia.

The enterprises that made up the 2020 cohort were selected from a highly competitive pool of applications from across Australia. The selection process was focused on selecting those enterprises with a strong business models and are operating in resilient sectors. They also needed to have an unambiguous social or environmental mission. We were very impressed with the quality and quantity of applications we received for the program, especially as we were in the middle of a global pandemic. 

It is important to flag the significant impact COVID-19 has had, not only on communities, but also on social enterprise businesses. Some of the enterprises in the program  thrived and benefited from trends accelerated by COVID-19, others have skated by entirely unscathed by COVID-19, but for others it has disrupted “business as usual” completely forcing them to seek new and innovative ways to pivot, and ultimately adding challenges to their investment readiness journey. What became clear to us through these challenges, is the grittiness, resilience and optimism of all the social entrepreneurs in the Scaling Impact program. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was conducted entirely virtually and included a series of masterclasses, tailored advisory support and mentoring. Over 4 month, the enterprises selected were challenged by the most seasoned coaches – serial social entrepreneurs, top VCs, and industry professionals – and took major steps towards preparing for impact investment. 

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. A big THANK YOU to those that attended. We were thrilled by the flood of support and positivity the Scaling Impact social enterprises received.

If you’d like to rewatch any of the fantastic pitches, you can do so via the links below:

  • Dismantle (ReNew Property Maintenance): a high quality, reliable property maintenance service employing disadvantaged youth and creating vocational pathways for them.

  • Farmwall: an agrifood-tech startup that designs urban farming technology and experiences to enhance fresh produce accessibility in the city.

  • Food Connect Shed: a community supported agriculture enterprise that aims to create a fairer food system by connecting local farmers with local buyers.

  • MyCareSpace: a national online platform that helps people with a disability and their families, all around Australia, find the disability services and supports they need and information about the NDIS.

  • Seljak Brand: sells recycled wool blankets that are made from textiles waste off the factory floor at Australia’s oldest wool mill and a 92-year-old wool mill in Lithuania.

  • Umbo: matches a clinician across Australia with a family in the bush to provide allied health services, thereby cutting wait times of up to 18 months down to a week.

  • Y Waste: an app that facilitates the discounted sale of end-of-day food from quick-service restaurants to consumers, preventing the food going to landfill.

  • Young Change Agents: a design-thinking based social entrepreneurship program for 10-18 years old that helps our youth see problems as opportunities. Contact Margaret O’Brien.

Tanarra Capital Philanthropic Advisors, who have also been wonderful supporters throughout the program, unexpectedly and generously decided to sponsor a Best Demo Day Pitch Award, which came with a cash investment. While the decision was an extremely difficult one to make, they decided to grant the award to…

… drumroll…


Founder and Chair John Wylie AM said, “Umbo highlighted a compelling social need and presented a smart entrepreneurial solution for Australia. They’re building a viable bridge to cut waiting times for occupational and speech therapy in rural and remote communities which is critical given that we know earlier intervention provides much better outcomes. We’re impressed by their team and mindset and look forward to seeing Umbo’s platform grow new wings.”

Congratulations Weh Yeoh, Francesca Pinzone, Ed Johnson and the entire Umbo team.

If you’d like to (re)watch the fantastic pitches, including Umbo, click here.

If you missed the event and/or would like to follow up with any of the amazing founders, click here.

Scaling Impact would not have been possible without generous funding from the Australian Government through the Incubator Support Initiative, the Sidney Myer Fund, Ernst & Young, as well as our philanthropic partners for various projects: the English Family Foundation, Seventh Street Ventures and the Yarranabbe Foundation.

We would also like to thank our collaborators and the numerous stakeholder groups who have supported the initiative and underscored the importance of building the pipeline of investible enterprises.

And of course, the Scaling Impact team – led by Kate, with Jay as our Enterprise Development Manager and Jess Liang as our Program Coordinator in support – thank you all for your exceptional work ethic and commitment to the success of the program and the enterprises in the first cohort. 

If you’re a social enterprise or purpose-driven startup looking to prepare for future impact investment, Expressions of Interest for the 2021 Scaling Impact program are now open and close 12 March 2021.

More news and resources

Social Impact Hub Unveils Enterprises For Its First-ever Scaling Impact Accelerator Program

Social Impact Hub Unveils Enterprises For Its First-ever Scaling Impact Accelerator Program

Social Impact Hub have announced the eight enterprises selected to participate in the first cohort of its Scaling Impact accelerator program. Funded through Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme and the Sidney Myer Fund, together with support from Ernst & Young and the English Family Foundation, Scaling Impact will focus on addressing the needs of social start-ups at a crucial point in their development – the inflexion point between building on a proven track record and preparing to take on impact investment.


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