New Enterprise Fund Opens

New fund focuses on quality of life in Canterbury

The Canterbury Community Trust (‘the Trust’) is proactively supporting innovation and employment by launching a new $2.5 million Social Enterprise Fund, says a leading US public policy consultant. The fund is aimed at groups operating in the Canterbury region.

Mary Jo Kaplan, an Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy, says the initiative will encourage sustainable, economic growth in Canterbury.

“Social enterprise is at an early stage in New Zealand in contrast to rapid growth throughout the rest of the world. The opportunity for social enterprise in Christchurch is to transform some of the many innovative ideas into sustainable change,” says Mary Jo.

The $2.5 million Social Enterprise Fund was launched yesterday (Monday August 5) by the Trust to help support employment opportunities and outcomes in the region, as well as encouraging innovation and self-sufficiency.

It is part of the $25 million Special Earthquake Fund announced earlier this year.

“We’re keen to use this fund to promote self-sufficiency, especially in areas which provide social, cultural, environmental and scientific benefits to the community,” Trustee Alec Neill says.

“A key to progress after the earthquakes has been original and inventive thinking, and we want to provide support for this approach. We want to encourage employment opportunities and sustainable economic growth and development within the region.”

He says the social enterprise model provides a path for organisations to take a business-like approach to addressing key social issues such as poverty, housing, employment and health.

“An important learning from both business and not-for-profit organisations is that funding without support can result in unsuccessful projects.

“The Trust is fortunate that Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) has agreed to assist in this support role, providing a boost for successful applicants,” says Alec Neill.

Jill Taiaroa from BMNZ says her organisation is excited to be part of a programme which has the potential to make real social change in Canterbury.

“We are all about utilising the skills and experience of successful business people to meet community needs, and this project fits right in with our goals by supporting the creation and retention of employment,” she says.

“This fund will help harness the energy and talent that is available in Canterbury.”

A panel of three Trustees, supported by independent professionals, will oversee application to the fund which is separate from the Trust’s normal activities.

The Trust is organising a workshop session on August 28 where organisations can come along, hear about the fund and ask questions.

To register and find out more email: rsvp@commtrust.org.nz