2020 Canon Oceania Grants Program extended to include small businesses for the first time
Canon Oceania has opened submissions for its 2020 Grants Program. In response to the natural disasters and a pandemic that have impacted Australians this year, Canon is revamping its Grants Program with a new category and increased cash donations to support the most vulnerable causes across the country.
In the spirit of Canon’s guiding philosophy of Kyosei – which means living and working together for the common good – over the last 14 years, Canon Oceania has supported over 75 schools, not-for-profits and community groups with more than $400,000.
This year, Canon has introduced a new Small Business category to its Grants Program, in recognition of the way they have been impacted by bushfires, floods and the restrictions brought about by COVID-19.
Winners will also be selected from two additional categories: Community, which is open to organisations ranging from not-for-profits, to grassroots groups and environmental causes, and Education, which is open to schools and other educational centres for children and adults alike. Winners will be selected based on the strength of their initiative and the impact it will have on their community or business.
Each Grant winner will receive a total of $5,000 in cash and Canon products, ranging from cameras and printers, to projectors and other accessories. For the first time, winners will receive an equal donation of cash and equipment – $2,500 each – to support causes trying to rebuild themselves in a weaker economy (where the previous split was $1,000 in cash and $4,000 in products).
“It’s no secret that it’s been an incredibly tough this year for all Australians – from droughts and bushfires, to floods and a pandemic, organisations are facing uncertainty like never before,” said Dave Yoshida, Managing Director, Canon Oceania.
“The pressure COVID-19 has put on small businesses, schools and community organisations is unprecedented. While we are helping our customers, partners and employees navigate this new normal, we believe it’s equally important to help the community around us. So even as the government starts lifting restrictions, we know now is the time to support organisations that will be permanently changed by the course of 2020 thus far,” he said.
In less than one month following Australia’s new trading and social distancing laws, two thirds of the country’s businesses reported a slump in revenue, with one in ten grinding to a halt all together. With small businesses significantly impacted by lockdowns, 63 per cent of small businesses reported they have reduced staff and cut back hours in an effort to remain in business.
Yoshida continued: “At Canon, we follow the Kyosei philosophy, so with this in mind, and in recognition of the current climate, we’re pleased to introduce the small business category and increased cash portion of the grant package. We’re confident the Grants Program will help impacted organisations make the vital next steps towards recovery.”
The winner of the 2019 Education Grant was Elonera Montessori Robotics, a robotics team from an independent school in NSW that provides outreach opportunities for disadvantaged individuals. They used the Grant to provide a series of free, hands-on robotics sessions for children and young adults who are refugees or living with a disability.
“So much of our work centres on promoting STEM to marginalised communities, and the equipment we’ve received from the 2019 Grant has enabled us to do exactly that. We’ve really enjoyed using the Canon camera to capture the journeys of the students as they’ve discovered what they can achieve, through their own eyes,” said Karen Love, the robotic team’s Mentor.
This has been especially vital to continuing education during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Love continues: “We’ve created robotics build videos for YouTube, which we call ‘Wedo Wednesday.’ It’s been very rewarding to see the students’ excitement as they continue to enjoy robotics, even though we can’t meet in person. For anyone who is seeking to inspire greater connection within their workplace or community, I encourage you to apply for Canon Oceania Grants 2020.”
Aussie Ark, an environmental organisation focused on protecting imperilled species, was another worthy 2019 winner. The Grant enabled staff to better track the health of sanctuary wildlife and natural breeding from a distance.
“The Canon equipment has been wonderful in enabling us to educate people about our unique wildlife, and allowing us to keep an eye on them from afar,” said Liz Gabriel, Aussie Ark’s Director.
“This is especially true as we face some of the toughest climate conditions to date and rely on the generosity of the community to help protect our threatened native wildlife, especially given how close to us the bushfires raged to our sanctuary,” she said.
The winner of the 2019 Community Grant, Fitted For Work, helps women experiencing disadvantage to find and keep work. The not-for-profit is using equipment supplied by the Grant for everything from virtual fittings, to assisting with fine-tuning resumes.
“The ability to conduct virtual fittings and help women who are looking for work is especially important given the tough job market conditions,” said Donna De Zwart, CEO, Fitted for Work.
“With the support from Canon, we’re not only able to continue to support women through this difficult time but also increase the quality of our services with Canon’s quality equipment,” she said.
The 2020 Grants will be awarded for Small Business Grant worth AU$5,000 which is open to all businesses across any sector that employ fewer than 20 people and have less than AU$10 million aggregated turnover.
Another is a Community Grant worth AU$5,000 open to a range of organisations keeping their community at the heart of what they do, ranging from not-for-profits, to grassroots groups and environmental causes.
An Education Grant worth AU$5,000 is open to schools and other educational centres for children and adults alike. And a Runner-up Grant of AU$1,000 will be selected from any of the categories above.
Submissions are now open until Friday 31st July via canon website. The wider community will vote on finalists in August, and winners will be announced in September.