THE Difference Incubator (TDi) is scouting for startups from Brisbane and Sydney with a social or environmental edge when it hits the road next month.
The Melbourne-based incubator will select up to 10 social enterprises from each city to participate in Two Feet, a program designed to help emerging businesses grow and become more investable.
TDi co-founder and CEO Bessi Graham says Two Feet forms part of a long-term strategy to build successful social enterprises across Australia.
"At present, the social enterprise market is like the tech scene in the nineties - a market in its infancy, but which has enormous potential to change the world while also making money," Graham says.
"We want social enterprise to become mainstream. Once we have a critical mass of enterprises, other startups will see how they can do good and make money, and investors will see how they can do good while diversifying and de-risking their portfolios."
The Melbourne edition of Two Feet launched earlier this month, with eight startups to take part in the program. A second edition will commence in June.
Over six months, the startups will learn about branding, finance, marketing, governance and how to pitch to investors.
The top two performers from each city, as voted by their peers, will present to a Dragon's Den style panel, including TDi, NAB and impact investors in Melbourne.
The winning enterprise will also have the opportunity to participate in TDi's competitive Investment Readiness Program.
Graham says Two Feet is targeted at social enterprises that are already trading or entrepreneurs with an amazing idea backed by a solid track record, rather than 'napkin ideas' or charities.
"We want to move social enterprises away from grant reliance and into a business model where they are doing good and making money," she says.
"We are looking for companies that could stack up as good investment and demonstrate their social impact."
TDi has partnered with NAB to subsidise the cost of the program at $5000, with the team interviewing potential participants this month.
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