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The Funding Network: Grassroots growth

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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.


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.



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.


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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Funding for Change

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For the first time, Canberrans will have the opportunity to be part of a live crowd-funding event to help innovative grassroots charities.

On Thursday 30 June The Funding Network (TFN) will host its first Canberra event at Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport where guests will hear a six-minute pitch from organisations that are working in innovative and intriguing ways to make the world a better place. Then, after a glass of bubbly, guests will have a chance to ask questions and pledge support.

Four social entrepreneurs will pitch their work in the auction-style event. Firstly, Global Sisters is an online platform that assists socio-economically disadvantaged women in Australia to develop an income stream.

Then, Abundant Water, which is working to improve access to clean water in Laos with an innovative clay pottery filter that works sustainably and reliably. Abundant Water also trains local potters and helps villagers set up micro businesses selling the filters.

Image via Abundant Water

Image via Abundant Water

Next up is Paperworks, a Canberra-based social enterprise that aims to create social inclusion through art. Paperworks produce environmentally friendly products through recycling and employ marginalised people in a safe and fun space.

Last but not least, Malpa is focussed on improving Aboriginal children’s health to close the gap. Their Young Doctors program trains Indigenous and Non-indigenous young people to be health ambassadors in their communities through hygiene, health literacy, nutrition and environmental health.

At The Funding Network’s Canberra event, these four organisations will explain why their work is so important, and what they need to keep on doing it. Along with funds, donors can discuss providing non-monetary or in-kind support. By hosting an enjoyable and educational evening, the Funding Network aims to create a collective giving experience where everyone is encouraged to give what they can, and to make a personal connection with the cause they are supporting.

The Snow Foundation brings TFN to Canberra in partnership with Hands Across Canberra, Deloitte and Canberra Airport. Seats are limited and you can find out more information here: www.thefundingnetwork.com.au

the essentials

What: The Funding Network’s Canberra event
Where: Vibe Hotel at the Airport
When: 5.30pm for a 6pm start on Thursday 30 June
Tickets: $20 per person. Seats are limited and you can find out more information here

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