Rotary Wellington supporting social enterprise through Kick-Start Award 2017

The Rotary Club of Wellington and the Ākina Foundation have joined forces for a third year to kick-start social enterprises in the Wellington region by providing $10,000 in cash to promising start-ups.

Ākina Foundation Chief Executive Alex Hannant welcomed the return.

“We are excited to be partnering with New Zealand’s oldest Rotary Club to support social enterprises for the third year running. It’s fantastic to see the original supporters of some of New Zealand’s most valued social causes embracing the new generation of social entrepreneurs coming through. Previous recipients have done great things after winning the award.” said Mr Hannant.

Rotary is providing up to $8,000 for the top venture with remainder awarded to the first runner-up. 

In 2016, the winning venture was LearnCoach, who deliver online NCEA tutorials at no cost to students. Last year NCEA students watched over 1,000,000 tutorials on the LearnCoach website.

“The Rotary-Ākina Kickstart Award was an amazing boost to our organisation! LearnCoach’s goal is to help students thrive in school. The Rotary money allowed us to make online tutorials for Chemistry that have helped 8,000 students in the six-months following the award. These tutorials will continue to help thousands of students in the years to come. As a new venture, the money, support, and network from Rotary and Ākina helped us to grow our user base and improve our product. Every dollar that Rotary contributed is helping another NZ student to thrive in school. LearnCoach (and NZ students) are very grateful!” – Dave Cameron, LearnCOACH

Check out LearnCoach’s entry video by clicking here.

Rotary’s Acting Chair of Vocational Services Committee, Leanna Dey, said “the Rotary Club of Wellington believe social enterprises have a key role to play in supporting strong, resilient communities, and thinking up new ways to solve social and environment challenges”.  She further said, “we’re excited about the potential for early stage ventures to bring their awesome ideas to life, and build their own capacity to develop an impactful, sustainable, social enterprise model. We realise support for social enterprise in New Zealand is still young, and see this huge opportunity to inspire other philanthropic and service organisations to do things differently. We can collaborate and back these groundbreaking enterprises who are changing the way we do business, delivering positive social and environmental impact for Kiwis”.

The Rotary Club of Wellington can help strengthen social entrepreneurship by building capability and connections. Members have provided specialist services like finance and governance to a range of start-up social enterprises, with some members joining advisory boards. For other early stage ventures, even a simple coffee and chat with club members has helped clarify thinking and broaden perspectives.

Applications for the Rotary Club of Wellington Social Enterprise Kick-start open 1 May at the Ākina website, and close at midnight on 2nd July. The winner will be announced at a Rotary event on Monday 31 July, after a presentation of the shortlisted videos and a vote by Rotary members.

To qualify for the kick-start, applicants must be resident in the Wellington region although their project may have a local, national or global impact. Applicants are required to submit a three-minute video along with a short online application form.

Rotary Wellington supporting social enterprise through Kick-Start Award 2017

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