Visa Foundation backs First Australians Capital with $2m investment

Visa Foundation backs First Australians Capital with $2m investment

FAC managing partner Brian Wyborn.

First Australians Capital's (FAC) Catalytic Capital Impact Fund, aimed at connecting capital markets with the Indigenous economy to offer accessible, patient debt finance for supporting Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs, has secured a $2 million investment from Visa Foundation.

The Catalytic Capital Impact Fund garnered the support of Square and Afterpay owner Block (ASX: SQ2) late last year with a $3 million investment, joining longstanding investors the Paul Ramsey Foundation, AMP Foundation and CAGES Foundation.

FAC hopes to raise $30 million for the new fund which represents the next stage of growth for the Indigenous-led group following its $13 million Impact Enterprise Fund (IEF) that was launched in April 2021, of which $9 million has been deployed to date across 94 finance facilities.

Since 2016 FAC has supported more than 800 Indigenous businesses and leveraged $80 million in cumulative funding for Indigenous businesses.

In FY23, FAC supported 282 Indigenous businesses of which 31 per cent were female-led and 52 per cent were in regional and rural locations. The main sectors that sought support from FAC were construction, arts and recreation, retail and professional services.

"I welcome Visa Foundation's investment into FAC Catalytic Impact Fund supporting Indigenous businesses," says FAC managing partner Brian Wyborn.

"This partnership represents a powerful commitment to economic empowerment and self-determination within Indigenous communities. With Visa Foundation's investment, we continue to amplify our impact, providing vital capital and opportunities to Indigenous businesses across Australia.

"Together, we will cultivate a future where Indigenous businesses thrive, driving sustainable growth and prosperity for future generations. Thank you, Visa Foundation, for joining us on this transformative journey toward equity and opportunity."

Visa Foundation president Graham Macmillan says the foundation's core goal of supporting women and underserved entrepreneurs is reflected in our collaboration with FAC.

"As one of the few investment firms of their kind in Australia, FAC has a proven track record of deftly leveraging their resources to foster business opportunities for women and underserved entrepreneurs in Australia," Macmillan says.

"We look forward to working together and helping create a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for all."

Investments made by the Catalytic Fund range from $10,000 to $500,000, with an average size of $202,000 according to FAC's most recent annual report.

"The portfolio composition reflects a significant tilt towards early-stage businesses, accounting for 19 out of 27 current investees," the firm said in the report.

"Investments in growthstage enterprises remain over 3.5 times larger than other life stages - this trend is influenced by the capital-intensive nature of industries such as construction and manufacturing that are more mature."

Source: First Australians Capital (FAC) FY23 Annual Report.
Source: First Australians Capital (FAC) FY23 Annual Report.

FAC reported revenue of $14.68 million in FY23, representing more than triple the $4.5 million result of the previous year, with total comprehensive income after costs up nine-fold at more than $10.4 million. The group had net assets of $12.7 million at the end of the financial year.

Its investment network and supporters also include the Ian Potter Foundation, Mannifera, Westpac, Google.org, Violet Co, Bennelong Foundation, Apple and many more.

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