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Social enterprises offered pro bono business support to get through COVID-19 crisis

Westpac employees with APY Art Centre Collective team members, working together on their business strategy in 2019.  


Social enterprises impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can now leverage the skills of corporate Australia to help address their current business challenges, thanks to a new collaboration between Social Impact Hub, Westpac Foundation and Social Traders.

The new initiative gives social enterprises the opportunity to access pro bono support across key areas of need such as financial support, business strategy and human resources. Whether it’s pivoting a business model to find new potential revenue streams or finding ways to adjust financial plans to ensure cashflow is stabilised, social enterprises will receive tailored support to help with their immediate needs.

“We are thrilled to partner with Westpac Foundation and Social Traders to deliver this critical support to social enterprises at a time where it is so desperately needed. Social enterprises are critical to our social fabric and we hope this program will help the sector emerge from the crisis intact, and with the potential to grow,” says Jessica Roth, Founder & CEO of the Social Impact Hub. Eligible social enterprises who take up the opportunity will have a dedicated support team, matched to their needs following an initial scoping process.

The collaboration gives Westpac Foundation the opportunity to extend its existing non-financial support to the broader sector. The Foundation has been supporting social enterprises for over a decade and part of this support includes access to Westpac’s Pro bono Skilled Volunteering network.

“We have had great success with our existing Westpac pro bono support program for our community partners. Working in collaboration with other corporates and industry partners, Social Impact Hub and Social Traders, to extend this support to the entire social enterprise sector is something I hope many businesses will take advantage of,” says Westpac Foundation CEO, Susan Bannigan.

“There are so many professional employees who are ready to give their time and expertise to help,” says Ms Bannigan.

Social enterprises in need of business support are encouraged to review the eligibility guidelines and submit an Expression of Interest. Social enterprises certified by Social Traders are also able to contact Social Traders directly.

The enterprises will be matched with an appropriate business support team, which will include employees from relevant corporate organisations who are volunteering their time and expertise to help. Participating organisations include Westpac, Boston Consulting Group, MinterEllison and Cast Professionals.

In a recent survey of certified social enterprises, Social Traders found that after access to cash, 85% of enterprises expressed a need for business support. According to Social Traders Managing Director David Brooks, “Social enterprises address today’s most entrenched social and environmental challenges and it’s critical that tailored assistance for retention of these businesses flows now rather than rebuilding from scratch in 12 months’ time.”

In addition to pro bono business support, the collaboration will also offer a webinar content series, delivered by Westpac’s Davidson Institute. The first of these, to be held next Friday 17 April, will help explain how the new Jobkeeper payments work for social enterprises. To register, please visit the Davidson Institute.

For more information on the pro bono support please visit the Social Impact Hub and complete an Expression of Interest form. ST certified social enterprises can also email Social Traders directly to discuss their needs.