Since launching in 2017, the Mill House has been evolving its offerings in response to a growing social innovation ecosystem, that increasingly includes not-for-profit and for-profit social ventures. We advocate for social entrepreneurship as the means to make a meaningful and measurable impact in the Canberra community and surrounding region. Our goal is to build a high-quality pipeline of investible and scalable social ventures that contribute to sustained social, cultural or environmental change.
The 2017 and 2018 Social Enterprise Accelerator, a flagship program for the Mill House and the region, have enabled the Mill House to work with early-stage social ventures, side-by-side, challenging, collaborating and supporting each other toward creating viable and vibrant social enterprises. In just two years we have seen a change in the development of the ventures we work with and with this, the level of support they need. In this context, we are continuing in our client-centred focus to building strong social enterprises, however we have changed our program delivery design to achieve this.
We are excited to announce that from 2019 we will offer the Mill House Social Enterprise Accerlator Program: Powered by Social Traders.
Social Traders established Australia’s first social enterprise start-up accelerator program – Crunch which sought to address included: business skills; access to connections and networks; and challenges in scaling. Between 2011 and 2017, Crunch worked with 104 enterprises, 65% of which are still trading today. We feel priviledged to have been given the opportunity to establish a partnership with Social Traders for the delivery of this program and look forward to building on their success and bringing the program to the ACT and surrounding region.
There will be three ways for social entrepreneurs can engage with the Mill House Social Enterprise Accelerator: Powered by Social Traders
Catalyse will introduce clients to the concept of social enterprise and understanding of scalable social business models. Clients will have the opportunity to discuss their specific idea with members of the Mill House team, our students and mentors. In a friendly ‘speed networking’ format clients will get real-time constructive feedback on their current (or proposed) social venture business model and clarify those all-important ‘next steps,’ including determining whether they might apply to be part of our GRIST or REFINE program.
Catalyse will run as a half-day workshop offered in Canberra as well as regionally. Catalyse will be limited to four workshops in 2019 and places will be limited with entry upon successful application from individuals, organisations or businesses that are or have the potential to trade for social, cultural or environmental impact.
2019 GRIST will run from start in mid-July 2019 and run until early November. This program includes monthly workshops based on the amazing Social Traders content, and access to support from experienced Mill House mentors. The goal for an entrepreneur will be to have a validated business (financial) model and impact narrative. GRIST 2019 will culminate in a Graduation and Social Impact investment showcase in November. Entrepreneurs who are not quite ready for such an intensive level of work will be encouraged to attend a CATALYSE session.
REFINE is our incubation offering for established social entrepreneurs who can benefit from the intensive 1:1 mentoring and support that the Mill House team and its associated mentors can provide to grow and scale a validated social enterprise. Entrepreneurs are not required to GRIST prior to Incubation, but it is strongly encouraged. Applications for REFINE will be considered from mid-2019.