It takes a village to grow an inclusive sustainable business

October 27, 2020

A reflection on the long term commitment to supporting businesses that help to create a better future.
Anthea Smits, CEO The Difference Incubator

TDi has been committed to inclusive sustainable businesses since the early days of the social enterprise movement in Australia. We’ve partnered with NAB to start our Two Feet accelerator program for early stage social entrepreneurs and our founder Bessi Graham was behind the design of Australia’s first investment readiness grant which is now managed by Impact Investing Australia and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS).

These were designed as part of a long-term mission to build a critical mass of successful social enterprises across Australia. Now, years on we’re seeing the real fruits of these initiatives.

There’s a saying it takes a village to raise a child. I think this saying can also be applied to social enterprise, and business looking to do good in the world. These models are tough to build, and they need support and help. Refugee Talent is a good story of how that support has kicked in at different stages of their journey to propel them forward.

We’re excited to be working again with founders of Refugee Talent, Nirary and Anna, who we met right at the beginning of their journey through our Two Feet Accelerator in 2016. Two Feet was an accelerator program working with early stage entrepreneurs in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and initially supported by NAB.

Refugee Talent is a recruitment and technology platform connecting Refugees with Employers. Nirary and Anna never had thought of themselves as business entrepreneurs, but it was their commitment to solve a problem that drove them to start a business. They were both passionate about breaking down barriers for refugees and helping employers to see the opportunity – the skills, experience and talent of people who want to contribute to the world. They recently shared how the TDi accelerator helped them at the early stage of their journey: “It was really good to learn about all the different concepts of social enterprise and governance, marketing, strategy and all these different aspects you’re not necessarily thinking about when you first start. It helped us get more business savvy and work out what we needed to do. We won the prize too, which kind of launched us.”

“It was really good to learn about all the different concepts of social enterprise and governance, marketing, strategy and all these different aspects you’re not necessarily thinking about when you first start. It helped us get more business savvy and work out what we needed to do.”

Over the past four years Refugee Talent have grown their model taking on two early stage rounds of investment and are now ready for their next big step in taking on a significant capital raise round. They have extended their business to include a Social Inclusion Recruitment Platform to support diversity in employment and they need more resources to grow and scale their impact. We are very pleased to be part of Refugee Talent’s ongoing story and to be supporting them through the Investment Readiness grant that we helped to create.
Early in TDi’s journey we realised that the market needed stimulation and help to create investment ready enterprises. We approached our partners at NAB and worked together to design Australia’s first Investment Readiness grant. Today this grant is known as the Growth Grant managed by Impact Investing Australia and has been further seeded by DSS Australian Government. With the support of the IIA Growth Grant TDi will work with Refugee Talent over the next 12 months helping them design a pathway to their future. Anna shares, “They know us, they are aligned with our work in social impact and it’s really nice to come back again and work on our future plans together. I think we really want to get clear on our business plan and best approach to scale this platform as quickly and as best as possible and continue to build a sustainable organisation.”

‘Early in TDi’s journey we realised that the market needed stimulation and help to create investment ready enterprises.’

We live and operate in an era that requires great acts of bravery, creativity and fresh approaches to entrenched social problems. We believe that business can be a powerful tool for this and we’re here to help make it happen. But it takes a village. It takes funders like NAB with a vision to catalyse a future we can only imagine, it takes market builders like IIA & Bessi Graham (TDi’s previous CEO) who are able to understand the gaps and advocate for the right support and it takes strategic implementation partners like TDi who are able to design and build. And it take difference makers like Nirary and Anna, who are committed to create a business to solve a problem that they are passionate about. At this time, more than ever before we require a chain of collaborators and actors to design and build our future. Are you part of this village? Let’s explore the possibilities together.
Spread the love

9 Mindsets of my Favourite Difference Makers

TDi Senior Consultant Isaac Jeffries shares the philosophies and habits that are the hallmarks of his favourite difference-makers.

This is a concrete list of practices and mindsets for working in community, and maintaining connection to people without burning out or burning others.

Bilum: The Power of Story to Drive Inclusive Economic Growth

by Annie Smits, TDi CEO   In May this year we attended the first official public screening of The Bilum Story, hosted by the AUS-PNG Network at The Lowy Institute in Sydney. Before the screening, I introduced the film to a crowded room, by bringing to the fore a...

Why We Need More Coaches and Fewer ‘Experts’ in International Development

By Kate Wilson, TDi Associate   An intuitive mindset coach and mentor, Kate's insight and expertise is so valuable to our team – we hope it will be for you too. This post was originally published on Kate's website, Resources Reimagined and explores the vital role...

Reconciliation Week 2022: Wrestling with our role in the Indigenous Business Sector

Anna Moegerlein, Deputy CEO, TDi In light of National Reconciliation Week, TDi’s Deputy CEO Anna shares some of the unfolding story around our work in the Indigenous Business sector: What are the challenges we are wrestling with as an organisation, what are our...

Introducing: Accelerate with IBA 2022 Cohort

Our 'Accelerate with IBA' Showcase on April 7 was a great success. It's been an incredible six-month journey as we partnered with Indigenous Business Australia once again to equip a new cohort of business owners to grow, learn new skills, and explore their social...

Meeting Uncertainty and Crisis with Curiosity

Anthea Smits, TDi CEO   I’m going to be honest; I had a rough start to 2022.   We endured a bout of coronavirus in January, followed by a series of personal crises. Each of these would have been manageable on their own, but one after the other, at a time when...

5 Minutes with Difference Maker Tammy: Ethical Innovation in First Nations Fashion

The challenges of ethical production in the fashion industry are many, but they lead to innovation and creative problem solving. We sat down with Difference Maker Tammy Saville and discussed the joys and challenges of starting her own children’s label, and how the IBA Accelerator is providing practical assistance in helping her meet her social impact goals. 

Mindset in Entrepreneurship

Anna Moegerlein, Deputy CEO TDi I’ve been at TDi for almost six years, and in that time I’ve worked with about 120 entrepreneurs. The one thing I’ve seen, over and over, is that we all get tripped up by our own mindsets. Our mindset has a big impact on our success in...

Meet Difference Maker, Ruth

Ruth has worked closely with us on several projects including the Laikim Sister program, as well as our ongoing work with bilum.

Holiday Recommendations – 21/22

Looking for some reading, listening or watching recommendations for the holiday season?Throughout the year, in our Newsletter, we have shared various recommendations for reading, listening and watching. We share some of these below that you might like to enjoy over...