Akina welcomes the Government’s announcement of funding for the development of the social enterprise sector in New Zealand with an initial commitment of $1.85m.
Alex Hannant, Akina CEO says that “The social enterprise work going on in New Zealand is world-class but up until now we have lacked the connectedness and sector strategy that makes individual efforts more productive and powerful.” “Going forward, there are significant social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits to be had if we can better create the conditions for more social enterprises to start and succeed.” Hannant notes that the results from similar commitments globally provide strong precedential evidence for success.
“Making progress really comes down to taking a long-term approach,” he explains. Hannant outlines four objectives critical to the development of the social enterprise sector in New Zealand. “Firstly, we need to build skills and capability and provide the appropriate support to social enterprises across the country, through all stages of their development.
“Done well, this support will pay dividends in both profitability and impact, and radically expand the number of people equipped to innovate.” “Secondly, we need to grow the market for impact investment so there is appropriate financing for both innovation and growth,” Hannant says.
This means making access to capital more efficient for social entrepreneurs, as well as enabling more investors – be they private, philanthropic, or citizens - to use their capital for social change as well as financial return. “Thirdly, we need to build the marketplace for social impact, so that consumers and supply chain managers increase their trade with social enterprises and unlock more value through their everyday purchasing and procurement decisions,” he adds. Hannant says the final piece of the puzzle is that New Zealand needs to establish sector infrastructure where social enterprises are better connected to each other, where we learn from robust and enabling data, and where policy is connected to needs and opportunities on the ground. Ultimately, one of the key things he believes this investment can do is unlock co-investment and collaboration across local government, philanthropy, business, and civil society to enable social entrepreneurs to get on with the job at hand. The announcement from Government enhances the legitimacy of social enterprise, and enables Akina to organise, and move forward, with confidence. There will be no better opportunity to do this than at the Social Enterprise World Forum, which will be held in Christchurch from the 27th to the 29th of September.