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The Funding Network: Grassroots growth

Elizabeth Harris

We’re sure you’re already a fan of investment pitch program Shark Tank.

You know, the show where brave individuals pitch to millionaire entrepreneurs who may choose to invest in their venture?

Well, The Funding Network is pretty much Canberra grass-roots equivalent of Shark Tank, but with nicer sharks and pledges of support rather than investments. The Funding Network hosts pitch events, at which grassroots organisations addressing social disadvantage in the ACT community and beyond have the opportunity to pitch to attendees in the hope of earning monetary pledges of support.

With tickets for their next event on Thursday 21 September priced at just $20 per attendee (with the funds distributed equally among pitching organisations), including drinks and canapés, The Funding Network presents an interesting night out for anyone interested in social enterprise.

Presenters at The Funding Network's 2016 event

Presenters at The Funding Network’s 2016 event

Three local Canberran initiatives will be pitching on the night; here is a little taste of what each has to offer, so you can prepare your fishing rods for a night of FUNding.

GG’s Flowers

GG’s Flowers is a social enterprise florist which employs individuals with special needs, providing real-job training in the floristry industry. The pitch will be led by Nipuni Wijewickrema, Co-Founder of GG’s Flowers. The business’ work was inspired by Nipuni’s sister, Gayana, who has Down Syndrome.

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Seeking to provide meaningful employment for special needs individuals, Nipuni, her stepmother (Geetha), and her sisters have built GG’s Flowers from the ground up. Focussing on sustainable business practices, Gayana and Geetha create floral arrangements which Gayana will hand-deliver. Well known in Canberra for their stunning rainbow roses, the vibrancy of this inspiring family and their floristry is enough to make any reasonable shark smile.

Women’s Centre for Health Matters

A community-based non-profit organisation, the Centre seeks to improve women’s health and well-being. Currently seeking finance for a new sustainable microfinance facility to support women who have survived situations of domestic violence, the Centre will provide survivors with a one-off no interest loan to establish personal financial stability.

 

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Marcia Williams, the CEO will be pitching to attendees – having worked at a Senior Executive level in the Commonwealth APS and with deep experience in advocacy and policy development, she’ll be a treat to listen to.

Mental Illness Education ACT

MIEACT works in the youth, school and community setting to encourage awareness of what it means to live with mental illness. With a focus on using personal stories to demystify mental health issues, MIEACT’s predominant goal is to encourage young people to reach out early for mental health assistance.

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With an additional emphasis on supporting victims of bullying and the prevention of bullying, MIEACT’s pitch, led by Samantha Davidson Fuller (Executive Officer) is one worth jumping into shark infested waters for.

If you are interested in any of these pitches, we recommend registering for the event at thefundingnetwork.com.au.

the essentials

What: The Funding Network’s September Event
Where: Vibe Hotel, Canberra
When: Thursday 21 September, 5.30pm for a 6pm start
Tickets: $20 per attendee, including drinks and canapés; go to thefundingnetwork.com.au to register.

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Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris is currently studying Law and Arts at the ANU. She majors in Art History and has a minor in French. She has a hunger for fashion and food, and is a lover of the fabulous Canberra arts scene and many farmers’ markets. She has a deep interest in the intersection between the arts and law, and hopes to undergo further study in this area. Alternatively, she dreams of writing an art history thesis on the subject of memes. She can commonly be found enjoying a delicious cappuccino at any one of Canberra’s staple cafes, but particularly Tilley’s which she has frequented since she was four years old. When she grows up/old she wants to be just like Iris Apfel. More about the Author

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