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Social start-ups urged to apply for new disability program

Monday, 29 April 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

Start-ups that operate in the area of disability are being urged to apply for a series of initiatives offered as part of the federal government’s Sustainable Social Enterprise Project, including business reviews and workshops.


The Sustainable Social Enterprise Project, led by Social Ventures Australia (SVA), aims to assist Australian Disability Enterprises and other social enterprises become more commercially viable.


Australian Disability Enterprises, or ADEs, are defined by the federal government as commercial businesses that provide employment for people with disabilities.


SVA is leading a group of partners – including Social Firms Australia, Social Traders and Matrix on Board – to deliver the Sustainable Social Enterprise Project, which wraps up on June 30.


An SVA spokesperson told StartupSmart ADEs should “apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment”.


Among the initiatives being offered are business reviews – offered only to ADEs – and workshops, which are open to any organisation working in the broader disability sector.


The business reviews are designed to provide expert advice and guidance for organisations that are “developing plans to transition into financially sustainable social enterprises/social firms”.


The SVA spokesperson says a business review is typically conducted over several days.


The workshops, meanwhile, are interactive forums that will be conducted by experts in their fields and will focus on addressing specific issues.


These workshops, which are being held across Australia until June, are designed to provide ADEs with a deeper understanding of how to transition into a social firm or more commercially viable social enterprise.


The workshops are also open to any organisation working in the broader disability sector, “for whom many of the topics may be of direct relevance to the operation of their business”.


Meanwhile, applications are now open for Young Social Pioneers 2013.


An initiative of the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), Young Social Pioneers (YSP) aims to connect “inspired young changemakers” and develop their leadership skills.


To be eligible for the year-long program, applicants must be aged 18-29 and have been actively working on an initiative, project or ongoing campaign for a minimum of six months.


“Through start-up style projects, the pioneers work in areas as diverse as education, the environment, health, human rights, the arts and technology,” FYA says on its website.


In addition to a five-day live-in learning retreat, participants will attend a series of workshops, including a half-day workshop with the program’s 2012 participants.


Applications close on Friday, June 14.