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Crunch time for corporate engagement and social enterprise

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The Crunch aims to address some of the major constraints of establishing commercially viable and sustainable social enterprises by assisting nine innovative Victorians to develop a business plan and pitch for a share in a $1 million investment fund.

These entrepreneurs are partnering with some of Australia’s leading organisations to provide them with developmental support.

Nerida Clarke discusses the reasons why Australia Post is involved in this Australia-first initiative.

Why are you supporting this social initiative?

Australia Post has long been an integral part of the fabric of the Australian community and it makes sense for us to be part of something that strengthens and enriches that fabric.

We like the philosophy behind The Crunch – it’s not a hand-out, it’s a hand-up, and many of the social enterprises will deliver ongoing benefits to the community that money can’t buy.

The two social enterprises that we are matched with have a direct fit with our business strategy and values.

Campfire is building a business that promotes cultural, spiritual and racial tolerance through short films. Fostering diversity and social inclusion is a key platform of Australia Post’s corporate values.

Creative Clunes is a community organisation which is actively working to generate growth and renewal in the village of Clunes. Australia Post prides itself on its strong regional presence and long history of supporting rural communities.

What value does your organisation gain from supporting this?

Six of our staff are participating as volunteer business mentors in the program.

The Crunch provides a unique learning and development opportunity for the Australia Post staff involved in mentoring, while also delivering on our commitment to social inclusion.

Our employees are excited to be involved and share their professional knowledge. They see this as an opportunity to experience first-hand how business, government and the community sectors can work together to address social issues.

How should social organisations approach corporates for assistance?

  • Put on a business hat and imagine that you are the corporation receiving the approach.
  • Do some research about the corporation that you want to engage, so that you understand their strategy and values.
  • Pitch your enterprise so that it links with those elements.
  • Have a strong business case.
  • Be open to feedback and be willing to adapt your approach.

The future of partnerships between business and community endeavours?

Corporations can encourage new social enterprises by providing expertise and staff, and can encourage leadership in other businesses.

An exciting evolution would be to procure services or products from the social enterprises that we helped to establish, thus creating a truly socially-minded supply chain.

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