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November 2020 News

Hello again to our's been awhile.

It's been a few months since we caught up on the goings on in the impact investment/social enterprise space in WA. Maybe, like us you've been craving a decrease in the amount of information and noise in your inbox (and life) this overwhelming year inches towards a close?

2020 has been one hell of a rollercoaster with bushfires, COVID, lockdowns, economic and social upheaval, and the madness of Trump and the US election.. the ramifications of which are beginning to feel as though they may haunt us for as long, or possibly even longer than the pandemic.

We're now just a month from Christmas, a new fire season, a new year, a new election cycle, in the midst of a climate emergency which still hasn't been widely acknowledged in the corridors of power, save a few "2050 plans".  All the while there's still talk of fossil fuel-led-'recoveries', more cash splashes, more debt, more partisan politics and, well..more of the 'same-old' that has mired us in this burgeoning mess for a generation now.

There's also a much more momentum on the positive side of the ledger with a larger movement, and growing number of voices from all sides of business, communities and politics for real social, cultural and economic change. 

While a calendar slowly ticking over towards 2021 pays no attention to the big issues, the many wake-up calls of 2020 combined with time for reflection and family that goes along with the end of year period, might just trigger us humans to collectively turn the corner out of chaos and change some of the broken systems that have failed us and the planet so comprehensively up to and including 2020. 

Here's to changing the broken systems, and the two of the films that have inspired and defined this movement in 2020, Kiss The Ground, and David Attenborough's 'witness statement' - A Life On Our Planet.

Our Great Southern workshop/dinner series is almost here.  Tickets still available for next week (26-27th) November in Denmark and Albany

We're looking forward to meeting friends old and new at this event series next week in WA's beautiful Great Southern in partnership with the Shire of Denmark and Junto Dinner Club.

Join us next week (26-27th November) in Denmark and Albany as we explore:
  • Community-led social enterprises
  • Impact and outcomes measurement
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals
Want to join us? Bookings at:

Denmark Social Enterprise Workshop (Thu 26-Nov 9:30am-12:30pm) BOOK HERE 

Denmark Junto Dinner Club-Sustainable Development Goals (Thu 26-Nov- 6:30-9:30pm) BOOK HERE

Albany Impact Measurement Workshop (Fri 27-Nov- 9:30am-12:30pm) BOOK HERE



We're also partnering in two other great events this month..details below:



Welcoming Liz Jack our new Social Enterprise Manager for the Kimberley, and partnership with Environs Kimberley

Staff at Environs Kimberley, Broome. Photo: Damian Kelly

We're thrilled to partner with Environs Kimberley (EK) in welcoming Liz Jack to the new Broome-based role of Social Enterprise Development Manager for the Kimberley, with funding support from the Regional New Industries Fund program.

Liz, who is based in the EK office, has hit the ground running. Her role is to support the local social enterprises that we are already working with, as well as identify new candidates for the upcoming Groundswell Regional WA Impact Investment Readiness Project.
A long time Kimberley local, Liz has spent over 15 years supporting businesses in the WA cultural tourism sector, facilitating connections between Aboriginal? entrepreneurs in the region, partners, investors, media and government.  She previously operated hew own consulting business supporting the sector, and recently completed a Next Economy MBA focusing on business as a force for good, emphasising the regeneration aspects of the economy, including building the self-reliance of local economies. She also holds post-graduate qualifications in Business, History & Politics from Notre Dame University, and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Western Australia. 

Environs Kimberley Executive Director, Martin Pritchard said “We are very excited to be partnering with Impact Seed on this work. We know there is a latent demand across the Kimberley for social enterprise development support from incredibly talented and creative people. With our strong networks and long term trusted relationships, we are looking forward to making sure this new field of development is successful.”

Liz says, "The challenge for social enterprises in the Kimberley is moving from marginal to sustainable.  Direct investment, place-based mentoring and the support of social entrepreneurs is critical to overcoming these. I'm excited to join Impact Seed and Environs Kimberley to help grow our sector using business as a force for good, and partnering with our local First Nations and non-Indigenous groups to achieve this."

For Sven Stenvers, Founder & Director, Impact Seed, "Much of our work over the years has been to fill an unmet need in supporting and growing community-led social enterprises which fall between the gaps of start-up/innovation accelerator support (traditional business) and community service organisations (not-for-profit). We're really passionate about working with partners, place-based strategies, and strong local relationships to achieve community-led social and environmental outcomes, and are proud to be working with EK to this end. This part-time role is the first step on the journey to build a dedicated social enterprise development presence in the Kimberley."

If you're in the Kimberley and working in a social enterprise and want a chat about whether we can help, get in touch.

Member Pre-Registrations Now Open for WA Social Enterprise Council

Social enterprises have a critical role to play in building back better, and it's great to see WA formalise its own Social Enterprise Council with member pre-registrations now open.

"With the launch of WASEC, we call upon the McGowan government to recognise and support the sector to build back better. Catalytic funding for social enterprise market development and supporting a sector certification framework are well recognised, high leverage ways in which the McGowan Government can support the private sector in building capacity within our communities and industries for regeneration and economic diversification through social enterprise"

1) UK’s 100,000 social enterprises employ 2M and contribute $120B to the UK economy, creating 3 jobs for every $200K of turnover (compared to 0.66 for traditional businesses). These jobs are disproportionately in the poorest communities, targeting those furthest from the labour market. (Big Society Capital)

2) Victoria’s 4,000 social enterprises contribute $5.3B to the state economy, employing 60,000 people. The social return on the govt's investment is $3.65 for every $1 invested.

Full release here.

WASEC Member Pre-Registrations open here

Video Streams Now Available for our  Kimberley Bush Resource Certification Workshop & Perth Regenerative Investment Workshops 

We recently co-presented a Broome workshop with our partners Environs Kimberley on certification in the Aboriginal bush resources space. Stewardship of our lands started with our First Nations Peoples, and they are its future. Certification is an important pathway for ensuring authenticity in products and services provided by First Nation Peoples when working on and caring for Country.
The workshop was designed to provide an understanding and knowledge around the advancement of Kimberley Aboriginal bush plant resources - specifically in the areas of protecting authenticity in terms of certification, as well as protecting traditional knowledge. Topics included:
- Why certification and who's it for?
- What could certification change for the Kimberley?
- What makes good certification?
- Importance of trust and credibility

In the earlier Western Australian Forum for Regenerative Investment, we brought together local and national thought leaders and domain experts to deep diving into the role impact investment in regional WA to drive regenerative social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes for our communities. The WA Forum for Regenerative Investment brought together a diverse range of stakeholders, land managers, investors, and experts along with Traditional Owners with the goal of increasing purposeful investment in WA’s natural resources.

Catch up on these two, as well as many of our other workshops on our Youtube channel here.

Chamber of Commerce & Industry WA Calls on Government to Support Social Enterprise and Impact Investment

Thanks to Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia for joining the Impact Investment Alliance and WASEC (WA Social Enterprise Council) in calling on the McGowan Government to finally match its words with long overdue action.

"If the WA State Government is serious about addressing complex social issues and the ongoing sustainability of public services.. it should develop a Social Impact Investing policy and an action plan to grow the use of these innovative approaches in WA. These should set out the State Government’s approach to social innovation, as well as social enterprises (including any frameworks for certifying them).

NSW has a dedicated Office of Social Impact Investment. Victoria released a social enterprise strategy in 2019, and PwC has estimated that the social return on the Victorian Government’s investment in market development intermediaries and social enterprises between 2009-2014 was $3.65 for every $1 invested."

More from CCIWA's Budget Submission here.

Impact Investment WA Alliance urges McGowan Government to Support the Sector for COVID Recovery 

The West Australian
Proponents of impact investment are calling on the State Government to support the emerging sector, saying a lack of leadership is hindering progress despite a huge appetite for investments that have positive environmental or social outcomes..

Click to view article on: Linkedin  |   Twitter   |  Facebook  or view accompaniment piece here.

In Depth - Our Top Articles for this Edition

We’ve trawled the innards of the internet to bring you a curated look at the world of impact investment, innovation, social enterprise, as well as some opinions, critical thought and reflection.


  1. Big shout out to Perth social enterprise LOOP Upcycling for its partnership to help remanufacture thousands of Water Corp's dis-used uniforms (which would have previously gone to waste/landfill), into quality utility bags, corporate mascots and other merchandise for Water Corp staff. We're thrilled to be working with LOOP founder Dwayne Rowland to help establish their new Centre of Excellence in textile manufacturing in WA. LOOP provides training and jobs to those experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage in our WA communities. Providing these skills has the multiplier effect of re-localising manufacturing and bringing back textile manufacturing skills to Western Australia, AND saving some of the 500,000 tonnes of textiles that go to landfill each year.
  2. Fantastic news for Broome's Lauren Bell in securing $100K from the State Government's Regional Economic Development grants to build the pilot plant for her Waste Not Food Recycling social enterprise. Lauren farms Black Soldier Fly, taking waste food/organics which would otherwise end in Broome landfill to feed the BSF colonies, producing a high grade organic fertiliser for the ag industry, and creating social impact job and training opportunities in the process. We've been working with Lauren over the past 12 months through our Regional New Industries Fund-ed social enterprise business development program. This synergy of social enterprise capacity building followed up with pilot plant investment through the Regional Economic Development Program is a concrete example of how the government can fund practical and combined social/environmental and economic development innovation.
  3. It started with a Perth family, now 300 million people are involved (interview):  Wonderful well deserved award for Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, Plastic Free July Founder+Executive Director. Rebecca was named WA Local Hero at the WA Australian of the Year Award 2020 a few days ago. Congratulations Rebecca for building this Western Australian social enterprise with global reach and this well deserved recognition.
  4. Thanks to Impact Boom's Tom Allen for leading a podcast conversation on the social enterprise sector in Western Australia and development of WASEC (WA Social Enterprise Council) with Kylie Hansen and Pat Ryan
    "We like to think of impact investment in terms of being more collaborative and sharing of power, rather than it being held by people that have the money. One initiative is looking at the concepts of patient capital and blended finance. Particularly for start-up impact-led businesses and social enterprises, that's really important.  Also, increasingly with the COVID environment and looking to recovery, social procurement is something that is a great opportunity in the impact investment toolbox that can support the development of social enterprise and impact led business"(Kylie)
    ..and from Pat: "I hope that WA can catch up very rapidly to what's already been happening in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland for a decade now, that we can use these frameworks to think about what's unique about Western Australia that we can harness and cultivate to get the best outcome for the state". Listen here.
  5. Impact Investment WA Alliance member Adam Levin's thought provoking and highly relevant piece in the context of the COVID-recession and recovery as the Alliance calls on Premier McGowan and Treasurer Wyatt to lead WA into the New Economy.."How lucky are we here in Western Australia. Our strength in the Last Economy helped WA to sail through the GFC and is helping us stay above water, so far, during this global pandemic. However, this time it’s different. We see it. We hear it. We feel it.."  IIWA's members include:
    - Centre for Social Impact UWA
    Impact Seed
    Jackson McDonald
    Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)
    - WA Council of Social Service
    - Impact Collective
    Impact Investment Group
    Sefa (Social Enterprise Finance Australia)
  6. The Western Australian poll recently undertaken amid COVID19 by Patterson Research Group found that some 80% of Western Australians want more govt investment in social services, social housing, and renewable energy Vs 54% against loosening environmental/heritage regulations and further investment in fossil fuels. We know that with a severe economic contraction looming, government spending will be constrained, and so there is no clearer mandate for the McGowan government to support impact investment through a State Social Enterprise, Social Procurement and Impact Investment Framework. This is clearly the only sustainable middle path forward in an economic crisis with increased demand for services running concurrent with lower government capacity to spend.  Check out the announcement here.
  7. Inspiring ABC Australian Story covering Australian regenerative agriculture pioneer Charlie Massy, alongside WA's own Di and Ian Haggerty. Regen ag has the capacity to transform our food system and the lands and lives of farmers and communities towards resilience, wellbeing, and as the 'label' suggests, regeneration.. From improving food quality through soil health, water retention, carbon (our food system could be the greatest factor in reversing the unfolding climate emergency), to biodiversity and rebuilding our regional and remote communities through jobs addressing disadvantage and value adding. Shout out to our friend Anthony James who gets a guernsey in this show for his fab work in drawing out the stories of these wonderful storytellers through his RegenNarration podcast, as well as legend Justin Wolfgang, the quiet achiever and connector of all in this important space in WA, as Co Founder of RegenWA and Non-Exec Director of Impact Seed.

  8. ‘World-first’ legal case: student accuses Australia of misleading investors on climate risk (article): All the power to this young woman. "In a claim filed in the federal court on Tuesday, Katta O’Donnell, a fifth-year Melbourne law student, said the government was breaching a legal duty and deceiving investors by not informing them upfront of the climate risk they face. The RBA, ASIC and APRA have all warned that climate change exposes the economy and financial system to risks that will get worse if action is not taken.
    O'Donnell said the case would put the government “on trial for misconduct for failing to deal responsibly with the climate crisis. I’m 23, I look to the future and I can definitely see that climate change is here and is going to get worse. It’s time the government told the public about the impact climate change will have on our future and the economy. While the current government will be long out of power by the time we can access superannuation money, our financial security … will bear the brunt of its climate legacy,” O’Donnell said."
  9. Great news for Australia this month with a 25 year old winning his legal action in the Federal Court to have his superannuation fund weigh climate risk in all its investments. Australia is not the country of climate luddites reflected in mainstream finance, business and politics and it's past time for these sectors and our governments to catch up with emerging leaders like Mark McVeigh. "The law requires trustees of super funds to act with care, skill and diligence to act in the best interest of members, including managing material risks to its investment portfolio. In its statement, Rest Superannuation said that "climate change is a material, direct and current financial risk to the superannuation fund". It went further and agreed to manage its investments so they are responsible for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It also agreed to immediately begin testing its investment strategies against various climate change scenarios, publicly disclose all its holdings, and advocate for companies it invests in to comply with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to stop global warming at 1.5C."
  10. In February our friends at Small Giants host an intimate 6-week course via zoom for private wealth holders focusing the Journey to Impact. Journey to Impact will be led by Australian impact investment pioneer Danny Almagor, co founder of Impact Investment Group and Small Giants (Australia's first B-Corp). This course is designed to educate and empower you to explore the alignment of wealth with values, and to inspire others to do the same through your leadership. Danny and Berry's 's family office has a 100% impact asset allocation strategy and their life's work as storytellers, impact investment practitioners and leaders-by-example is truly inspiring. Don't miss this.
  11. Australia’s first impact investment fund run by a charity is ready to start investing in a number of technology for development opportunities after reaching its first close (article) This is the first impact investment fund run by a charity in Australia, and bodes well for the development of impact investment out of the not for profit and foundation sector. Congratulations to Save the Children Australia for this lighthouse initiative to target social innovation and ventures improving the lives of disadvantaged children and families. Pointing to the huge gap between philanthropists supporting very early stage innovations, and the funding to see these through to financial sustainability, Save The Children CEO Paul Ronalds said "This fund was born out of frustration about the lack of funds to take innovation to scale..That gap is what kills a lot of potentially successful innovations in Australia and in other countries around the world..perhaps the most important but least understood opportunity is to leverage the Save the Children platform to both source investments but also to help initiatives succeed. That’s something that other venture capitalists or other impact funds simply can’t match”.
  12. Building back better through procurement (article): The fallout from COVID-19 means Australian governments at all levels are spending well over $300 Billion in stimulus and support in 2019-20 . This includes substantial investment in economic recovery projects. As public servants, governments carry a heavy social responsibility in these procurement decisions. "Building back better means purchasing from companies that deliver high-quality products and services that governments need, and that share governments’ objectives of working towards reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities and the creation of high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose". Social procurement is vital to this decision making process. Without it government cash splashes run the risk of never realising the impact they were intended to.
    (Thanks to Anna Crabb of B Lab Australia and New Zealand Ltd for this insightful and timely article. Impact Seed is proud to be a certified West Australian B Corp.)

  13. Social Enterprises that claim Indigenous impact should be held to a higher standard (article): "Not all Indigenous business is a social enterprise. Nor should it be. Just like we allow mainstream entrepreneurs to decide if they want to use the social enterprise asset class, Indigenous entrepreneurs have every right to determine how to run their businesses. However, I've observed a tendency by some in our movement to 'foist' that impost on to Indigenous entrepreneurs. That's not on."
    1) Indigenous Business. This is mainstream business, but always where an Indigenous person controls a majority of the capital. Social benefit is often a positive externality of these businesses.
    2) Social Enterprise. Intentional, measurable social innovation sustained by trade.
    3) Indigenous Social Enterprise. Social Enterprises (as per above) that claim a specific contribution to the advancement of First Australians; not necessarily Indigenous-led"
    Thanks to Cindy Mitchell for this great reflection.

  14. Government Budgets: Socialised risk, privatised reward.. capitalism after the pandemic (article): “For too long Government budgets have socialised risks but privatised rewards. A great opportunity was missed to reshape the economy during the GFC so that the market delivers the kind of long-term outcomes that benefit everyone. As they climb out of the current crisis, Governments must do more than spur economic growth; Instead of a Budget handing out no-strings-attached assistance to business, they can condition these cash splashes to protect the public interest and tackle societal problems

    Government also needs to consider how to use the returns on their investments to promote a more equitable distribution of income. This is not about socialism; it is about understanding the source of capitalist profits.”
  15. Impact Investing Won’t Save Capitalism (article): "The most important role for impact investors is to lobby for changing the rules. Impact investors could be a powerful voice urging governments to internalise externalities..greatly expanding the horizons for marrying social return with profitability"
  16. Sustainable Finance and ESG: The 2020 playbook (report): "Sustainable finance isn't simply a new style of investing that fits next to one's hedge fund or private equity..It's framed upon an understanding of a connected world. It's about re-integration, relating separated parts to new forms of systems thinking.. (rejecting) the illusion of separation, and re-engaging with the reality we are all One." (Jed Emerson, author of, pioneer of impact investment)
  17. The UK’s 100,000 social enterprises employ 2M and contribute $120B to the UK economy, creating 3 jobs for every $200K of turnover (compared to 0.66 in the private sector). What's more, those jobs are disproportionately in the poorest communities, and target those furthest from the labour market. (article): Around 30% [or 600,000] of their total jobs created are in the most deprived communities, and 40% of social enterprises actively seek to employ people with disabilities, care leavers, ex-offenders, the homeless, and veterans. Last but not least, social enterprises invest more in improving the quality of those jobs.
    The COVID recovery will be long and hard, and we will need kindness and generosity from our communities that goes beyond welfare, stimulus and cranes in the sky. There is no better argument for social enterprise policy to help COVID recovery in WA than the success and data for it in the UK
  18. Impact investing is not a substitute for political action, and can't function well in a society organised around greed (podcast) “Impact Investing is not a substitute for political action and well-functioning governments. In many ways, we only get to make a difference when we ally ourselves with progressive governments that are moving the way that society works. We can’t be functioning well in a society that’s organized around greed" (Antony Bugg-Levine, who was MD of Rockefeller Foundation at a meeting almost 15 years ago where the label impact investing was attributed to the movement..source: podcast
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