Umbo announces social impact investment to improve healthcare access
Umbo, a social enterprise established in 2018 to reduce inequalities in access to health care by connecting families
in rural communities with speech and occupational therapists, received a $200,000 investment from social enterprise investor
Fortis River Pty Ltd, with Pilgrim Advisors advising the process.
This investment represents a significant win for rural and regional families, who often wait up to 18 months to access services
such as speech and occupational therapy. The investment into Umbo will enable the social enterprise to scale its ability to
onboard more clients and clinicians, therefore increasing its reach in rural Australia, and cutting wait times down for more
families. It will also support Umbo to develop regionally based partnerships with other service providers working to assist
families in need of support.
Investment into social impact
The investment from Fortis River comes one week after Umbo released their Social Impact Framework which includes impact
measures such as time saved from waitlists, travel time to therapy appointments, and cost savings. Overall Umbo has seen
travel cost savings of $225,000, which enable families to double the amount of therapy they can receive from NDIS funding.
Umbo has, on average, saved 14 hours of travel time per family. This decrease in travel time has saved the carbon equivalent of
60 return flights from Sydney to Melbourne.
“This is a big win for families all over Australia struggling to access timely, person-centred support from speech pathologists and
occupational therapists,” said Umbo Co-Founder and Speech Pathologist, Ed Johnson. “It breaks my heart when families tell me
they’ve spent 2 years on a waiting list, or they’ve been doing 6-hour round trips weekly to see a clinician, or an outreach clinic
came through their remote town to screen and diagnose their child, then left without any options for therapy. We have the
evidence that online therapy works, and now we’ve got the means to help as many families as possible.”
Fortis River director Nigel Strong added: “We are delighted to complete this investment and I thank the Umbo founders and
employees and Pilgrim Advisors for such a constructive and positive process. Umbo is providing an important service and we
are excited to support them in the next phase.”
Investment into social enterprise
The $200,000 investment comes off the back of a successful Scaling Impact program in 2020, run by Social Impact Hub, which
has helped Umbo improve its investment readiness and facilitated the introduction between Umbo and their investor.
“We’re pleased to have played a key role in supporting Umbo along their investment readiness journey and to have introduced
them to Fortis River. This is exactly the type of outcome we are aiming for with the Scaling Impact accelerator program,” said
Jessica Roth, Founder and Director at Social Impact Hub. Funded through the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme
and the Sidney Myer Fund, together with support from Ernst & Young and the English Family Foundation, the Scaling Impact
accelerator focuses on addressing the needs of social start-ups at a crucial point in their development – the inflexion point
between building on a proven track record and preparing to take on impact investment.
Umbo is a social enterprise; a speech and occupational therapy service which aims to meet the needs of children living in
regional, rural and remote Australia who need allied health support. Umbo provides children with therapy in an online format
which includes video conferencing, file sharing, online chat, and phone calls. As a social enterprise, Umbo is committed to
reinvesting 50% of its profit back into the company to reach more vulnerable communities.