Up to $7M is available from the Sector Readiness Fund – Fund Administrator Grant to help organisations looking to enter the social impact investing market and become investment-ready.
Sector Readiness Fund – Fund Administrator Grant
The Sector Readiness Fund – Fund Administrator Grant aims to grow the Australian social impact investing market by providing capability building grants to organisations looking to enter this market and become investment-ready. This will address the gap between the demand for, and supply of, investments in the Australian social impact investing market. The Fund will provide opportunities for organisations to develop their capability to bring more ideas to market.
A Social Impact Investing package was announced in the 2017-18 Budget, which included $30 million over 10 years to support social impact investments and grow the social impact investing market. Around $22 million will be used to support Commonwealth-state social impact investments and up to $7.48 million is for a Sector Readiness Fund to support capability building for non-government organisations to bring new social impact investments to market.
The Sector Readiness Fund – Fund Administrator Grant will require interaction between three distinct stakeholders:
- The fund administrator, responsible for delivering the Fund and implementing their own selection processes to distribute grants from the Fund.
- Grant applicants of the Fund, who will apply to/receive grants from the fund administrator in order to build the capability of their organisation to bring an idea to the impact investment market.
- Specialist advisors, who will partner with grant recipients and deliver specified capability building activities to support the grant recipient to bring an idea to the impact investment market.
This grant opportunity is for the selection of a fund administrator with expertise in the Australian social impact investing market. As discussed above, the successful fund administrator will be responsible for delivering the Fund and independently implementing their own selection processes to distribute grants from the Fund. This role will involve administering small grants for capability building activities to be undertaken by relevant external specialist advisors with the capacity to provide these services. Specialist advisors providing support to organisations who are receiving grants from the Fund must be external to the fund administrator’s organisation.
The fund administrator will be expected to implement an independent grants process with rigorous selection processes to ensure grant recipients have clear and measurable social outcomes and well-developed, investable ideas.
Short and medium-term goals of the Sector Readiness Fund – Fund Administrator Grant are:
- Growth in the Australian social impact investing market, indicated by an increase in the number and variety of ideas and initiatives coming to market and greater capitalisation of activities
- Better social outcomes for the cohorts supported by social impact investing initiatives
- Greater public interest in social impact investing including more investment from an expanded variety of sources
- Lessons learned from the Fund, which can inform possible future Government involvement in social impact investing.
In the long-term, the project aims to allow the social impact investing market to obtain a greater equilibrium between demand for, and the supply of, opportunities for investment.
In order to determine the effectiveness of the project in achieving its short, medium and long-term goals for participants, outcomes of the participants will be measured by a robust monitoring and evaluation system, tracking essential program information and participant outcomes, including formative and comprehensive evaluation processes.
The Australian Government has announced a total of up to $7 million for the fund administrator to distribute as grants through the Fund. The quantum of each grant distributed from the Fund will be determined by the fund administrator with regard to the activity being funded. It is expected that between 50 to 100 grants will be issued from the Fund, depending on the quantum and demand.
An additional amount of up to $480,000 is allocated for the fund administrator to pay for the overhead costs of managing the Fund and the related selection process. The funding will be available from upon execution of the Grant Agreement (grant agreement) to 30 June 2021.
There are two separate allocations of funding in this grant opportunity. The Sector Readiness Fund – Fund Administrator Grant will be managed and distributed independently in the form of small grants disbursed by the fund administrator. The remaining allocation will go to the fund administrator directly, to manage the costs of administering the Fund. Both of these allocations have
distinct eligible activities and must be spent separately:
Administration funding: for the fund administrator to cover management and overhead costs
- To cover ongoing costs incurred while managing the Fund, the fund administrator will receive an amount of funding which must be spent on the following activities. This includes:
- staff salaries and on-costs which can be directly attributed to the provision of the grant activity in the identified service area or areas as per the grant agreement
- operating and administration expenses directly related to the project as per the grant agreement, such as:
- costs related to the process of selecting grant recipients
- computer/ IT/website/software
- stationery and printing
- accounting and auditing
- travel/accommodation costs
- assets as defined in the Terms and Conditions of the grant agreement that can be reasonably attributed to meeting agreement deliverables.
- employee training for paid and unpaid staff including Committee and Board members that is relevant, appropriate and in line with the grant activity
- promotion of the Fund to potential applicants and investors
- evaluation of the funded project and/or to explore options for future sustainability and ongoing viability of the funded project.
Sector Readiness Fund: for distribution by the fund administrator
- The fund administrator will: promote, assess and allocate grants to successful organisations for external capability building support. The fund administrator must ensure grant recipients of the Fund meet Commonwealth requirements. These requirements are as follows:
- deliver projects with one or more clear and measurable social outcomes, aligned to the activity areas
- use the grant funds to pay for capability building support that assists grant recipients to bring an investable product to market
- have well-developed projects that are highly likely to come to the social impact investing market
- be based in Australia and deliver the supported program solely in Australia
- have a core commitment to solve social problems
- have sustainable and proven business models and experience with the product/service they propose to deliver.
- The fund administrator has discretion to determine which capability building projects and services should be supported through the Fund and the opportunity to determine how these are identified for or by grant applicants. These services must be delivered by a specialist advisor operating outside of the fund administrator’s organisation with capacity to provide this support. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Business planning
- Financial modelling
- Financial structuring
- Capital raising and advisory services
- Contract negotiation support
- Legal support
- Other specialist advice including support with outcome measurement and evaluation, development of governance structures.
- The fund administrator can only spend grant funds on eligible grant activities as defined in their grant agreement.
To be eligible to apply for the Sector Readiness Fund – Fund Administrator Grant, you must be one of the following entity types:
- Indigenous Corporation
- Incorporated Association
- Sole Trader
- Statutory Entity
- Trustee on behalf of a Trust
You must have the following additional eligibility requirements in place before you apply to this grant opportunity, or be willing to register prior to the execution of the grant agreement:
- if applying as a consortium, the lead organisation must be an eligible entity type
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN) (you can register for an ABN)
- be registered for the purposes of GST (you can register for GST at the same time you apply for an ABN)
- be a permanent resident of Australia
- have an account with an Australian financial institution.
Applicants who do not meet these additional requirements will not be eligible and will not progress to assessment.
Applications from consortia are acceptable, as long as you have a lead applicant who is the main driver of the project and is eligible.
Applications close 12 June 2018.