$135K to help businesses create positive change

Several local businesses stand to benefit from the funding. Supplied photos.

BayTrust is granting $135,000 to help Bay of Plenty businesses create positive social and environmental change alongside making a profit.

A multi-year grant has been awarded to the Ākina Foundation who specialise in coaching impact-led businesses to help them get ready for investment.

Ākina’s Head of Partnerships, Tan Huynh, says examples of ‘impact’ could involve tackling challenges like poverty, inequality, environmental degradation or climate change.

“For us, business should be conducted with the consideration of what’s good for people and planet, as well as profit,” he says.

Ākina provides a range of tools, workshops and consultancy services to help businesses, social and community enterprises to understand, grow and measure their impact – and ultimately, raise funds from investors so they can expand and succeed.

“Our experience has been that entrepreneurs have an area of expertise, and it’s typically not in capital raising. It’s often the first time these organisations are raising money.

“So we help them navigate the ecosystem by understanding who investors are and what are they investing in. What do investors actually want? What are the questions they’ll be asking?

“And what paperwork or documents are they wanting to see? We help them get ready for investment by giving them both the confidence and skills to know what is ahead.”

Their pioneering technology will allow councils and conservation groups to use drones and ground devices to detect invasive species and pests in our forests and then eradicate them in an efficient and environmentally sustainable manner.

“We will be supporting Envico to help them get investment-ready so they can scale their solutions,” Huynh says.

“Funding and support enables Envico to access expertise to value the technology they’re developing, protect their intellectual property, and then commercialise it by licensing that technology to bring revenue into the business.”

Similar expertise and support was recently provided to Truss House who is now ready to raise the capital they need to expand their locally-designed building system which provides a sustainable and energy-efficient way of building more affordable housing.

Huynh points out that Ākina’s support is no guarantee that a business will raise the money required.

“That’s up to the investors. But we are looking to coach these organisations so they can raise the money they need to grow their businesses, which then has a multiplier effect. If they’re growing, their team will increase which creates more jobs and financial benefits, as well as unleashing the wider ‘impact’ or positive change they’re creating in society.”

BayTrust’s grant will provide a critical injection of money to help businesses reach that next level and realise their full potential, he says.

“To build a business and to be investment ready, it takes a lot of knowledge and a lot of steps. So the BayTrust funding allows Ākina to support businesses at different levels of maturity.”

BayTrust CEO Alastair Rhodes says the grant money will benefit numerous local businesses over the next three years.

“Ākina focus on the building blocks of running an impact-led business. Those who are just starting out can learn how to build their business and what an impact model looks like. Others further along might do a capital strategy workshop with Ākina, or apply for the Impact Investment Readiness Programme like Truss House and Envico Technologies have done.

“BayTrust wants to encourage all social enterprises and businesses who aim to create positive change in our region. We look forward to seeing the difference that Ākina can make by coaching and supporting them to build their capacity along their journey.”


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