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New Funding Will Amplify ‘Impact’ In BOP

New Funding Will Amplify ‘Impact’ In BOP

Businesses traditionally focus on making a profit – but a growing number are now committed to making a positive social or environmental impact as well.

The Ākina Foundation are experts at supporting others to create that ‘impact’ by helping to reshape the way things are done. “For us, business should be conducted with the consideration of what’s good for people and planet, as well as profit,” explains Tan Huynh, Ākina’s Head of Partnerships.

“For the past 15 years we’ve been helping to build the impact economy by coaching businesses on how they can create positive change and tackle challenges like poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and climate change.”

Ākina provides tools, workshops and consultancy services nationwide to help businesses, government agencies, social and community enterprises to understand, grow and measure their impact.

“We also started one of New Zealand’s first impact investment funds to prove this could be done. When businesses are ready, we introduce them to investors who share their vision of creating positive social and environmental change so they can raise the funds they need to deliver.”


Bay Focus

BayTrust is a leading impact investor and supports many initiatives in the Bay of Plenty, particularly in the social housing sector. BayTrust has now granted $135,000 (spread over the next three years) to help Ākina support more local businesses by building their capacity so they can become ‘investment ready’.

Truss House is one example of a local organisation who recently received Ākina’s      support. Their locally-manufactured building system is designed to simplify the construction process and provide a quick, sustainable and energy-efficient way of building more affordable housing.

Ākina helped Truss House undertake intellectual property work to value their company and to produce investment promotional material and finance modelling. Truss House is now ready to raise the capital required to expand and succeed on a bigger scale.

“Our experience has been that entrepreneurs have an area of expertise, and it's typically not in capital raising. A lot of the times it's the first time 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.”

Thanks to BayTrust’s grant, another local business (Envico Technologies) will now undertake a similar coaching programme. 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.”


Help At All Stages

Not all businesses are investment-ready, however. For those who are just starting out, Ākina will use BayTrust’s funding to run workshops and provide other tools and consultancy services to support them.

IndigiShare is a mātauranga Māori-led and mana Motuhake-driven social enterprise helping to revitalise and empower indigenous economies, through greater access to finance and payment options.  Ākina recently ran a capital strategy workshop to help teach them the foundations of what’s required in a capital plan.

“It’s basically the step before getting investment ready,” Huynh explains. “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. “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 all different levels of maturity.”


Scaling Up

Huynh says with BayTrust’s support, Ākina wants to create a ‘multiplier’ effect and attract more co-investment from other private and philanthropic organisations to scale up these programmes that focus specifically on this region.

“Our intention is to try and work with other funders within the Bay of Plenty to amplify the base funding from BayTrust.

“Coaching and growing the next generation of impact-led businesses is how we’re going to achieve positive change. Yes this money will make a difference for Ākina. But it’s more about the difference we can help make for those businesses and the families who will benefit from those efforts.”