The Ākina team are pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of the Impact Investment Readiness Grants, a grant programme designed for social enterprises to unlock support and get ready for investment.

This year there are six grant recipients including science educators Nanogirl Labs, Māori tourism enterprise Stay Native, and compostable packaging creators The Better Packaging Co.

Director of Ākina Invest, Jackson Rowland says that the number of applications received made this year’s selection process more difficult than the previous two grant rounds.

“This year the demand was huge. We received 167 applications, which shows there are so many impactful enterprises out there keen to get that extra support that will help them scale.” he says.

The purpose of the grants is to build the capability of social enterprises so that they can secure investment. Grant money, which is up to $20,000 per grant, can be spent on financial, legal or any business support designed to get the enterprise ready for investment.

“We’ve selected a range of really inspiring businesses, with impact areas covering science and technology, waste reduction, eco-friendly paint, and employment opportunities for refugees.” says Jackson.

Founder of Nisa, Elisha Watson runs a Wellington studio employing refugee women who produce underwear. “This is such a game changer for us – it means we can afford to get the support we need to put forward a really attractive offer for investors.” says Elisha “This in turn will help our social enterprise get to the next level and increase our impact.”

The other winners include Again Again, a reusable cup lending system for takeaway coffee; The Natural Paint Co, creating a more sustainable paint option that’s better for the environment, and for people’s health.

This is the third year Ākina has run the grant programme. The first two rounds gave out a total of $150,000 in grant funding and returned over $4m in investment, with more investment anticipated.

Thanks to grant partners Kiwibank, The Tindall Foundation and WEL Energy Trust, the total pool of available grant funding available this year was $150,000. Ākina administers the grant programme, with funding supplied by grant partners and additional support through the Government-funded Social Enterprise Sector Development Programme.

Previous grant recipients include LearnCoach, BBM and For the Better Good. After receiving a grant, each of these social enterprises went on to raise significant investment.

Impact investing is investing with the intention of generating a measurable and beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. The Impact Investment movement is growing worldwide, with recent estimates putting the total investment available for impactful businesses at over $500bn globally.