Social Enterprise City Impact Grant

What is Social Enterprise City Impact Grant?

The Social Enterprise City Impact Grant is a program which aims to support startups and existing enterprises which are expanding or developing new products or services.



The Social Enterprise City Impact program provides financial assistance and capability building opportunities to support the establishment and expansion of businesses and organisations with a distinctly social purpose. This program aims to enhance the City of Melbourne’s reputation for business vitality, diversity and inclusiveness and contribute further to the city’s thriving economy and community.

This program encourages the establishment and expansion of sustainable social enterprises that: 

  • enhance the City of Melbourne’s business vitality, diversity and inclusiveness
  • help reinvigorate the city, respond to post-pandemic opportunities or challenges and generate positive impact to the City of Melbourne
  • have a unique point-of-difference, sound business model, including long-term financial viability. 


Program Streams

Open Stream

This stream is open to any social enterprise that meets the eligibility criteria and the program objectives outlined in the guidelines.

Circular Economy Stream

City of Melbourne is interested in bold and inventive circular economy solutions, challenging the notion of what ‘waste’ is, and finding pathways towards a circular economy and zero waste.

This stream is for those social enterprises (startup/emerging or expansion/development) who are developing and/or delivering circular economy related products and services. 



Up to $10,000 grant funding per enterprise is up for grabs and additional support will be available, including access to temporary space for pop-ups, plus mentoring and capability building opportunities. There’ll also be a great opportunity to pitch at a showcase event.



For the purpose of this program, a ‘social enterprise’ is defined as an organisation that combines trade with a social purpose where this purpose is a defining part of the business. Applicants may include social enterprises, B Corporations, charities and other philanthropic organisations. Applications will be accepted from not-for-profit and for-profit businesses. 

Types of social enterprises that can apply for this program:  

  • Impact startups/organisations utilising digital technologies with high growth potential that uses innovation and/or addresses scalable markets. 
  • Organisations operating a more traditional street-side “brick-and-mortar” business that offers products and services to its customers face-to-face in an office or store that the business owns or rents. 
  • Organisations that are a hybrid/blend of the two models above.

Applicant organisations must be located within, or be delivering their activity, product or service to customers within, the City of Melbourne municipality and the enterprise must be targeted to benefit the environment and people (the community) who live, work, study and play in the City of Melbourne. 

To be eligible for a City of Melbourne social enterprise grant:
  • The business is a business or activity that will take place within the City of Melbourne municipality.
  • Demonstrate how the City of Melbourne will benefit from its proposal and the alignment to key City of Melbourne plans including: Council Plan 2021-25, Economic Development Strategy 2031 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • Have documented evidence of an appropriate legal structure, such as a sole trader, an Australian registered company, business cooperative or partnership. 
  • Organisations can be a not-for-profit constituted body, a certified B Corporation or a social enterprise that meets the Social Traders definition of a social enterprise. 
  • Demonstrate sustainable business practices in line with the Australian Ethical Charter.
  • Have no outstanding acquittals or debts to the City of Melbourne. 
  • Be able to commence the proposed activity promptly upon receiving the grant.
  • Be able to demonstrate financial viability as evidenced by a basic business plan including projected financial statements. 

Franchisees, subsidiaries of larger companies, unincorporated associations and government departments or agencies are not eligible to apply. Branches of foreign companies not registered as an Australian company are also ineligible.

For detailed information and other eligibility criteria, please ensure you read the guidelines before applying.



Applications close 14 January 2022


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