Our Story

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The idea for LendForGood emerged out of conversations between Cameron Neil and Tom Dawkins on how to unlock the potential of the social enterprise sector in Australia by helping great social enterprises scale. Red Hat Impact is already lending to enterprises ready to grow, but we agreed that platform-thinking was required to build the scale to shift the sector. The idea for LendForGood has emerged over several design sessions between the Red Hat Impact and StartSomeGood Team.

The video below is a great introduction to our thinking (and who we are):

Red Hat Impact and StartSomeGood have formed an MOU-based partnership for developing and testing this crowdlending platform.

LendForGood won the Eidos Social Procurement Challenge in December 2017, and has been using the funds to build this Minimum Viable Test of the online platform and further develop and refine the business model.

Why LendForGood?

The Australian social enterprise sector is like a monster truck jump: big on-ramp (early-stage startup social enterprises), small off-ramp (large social enterprises at scale) and nothing in-between. At the entry level, crowdfunding sites like StartSomeGood are leading to a vibrant market for launches and new ideas. At the upper end we have $100 million impact funds ready to invest who cannot find sufficient deals. The reason for this is the lack of bridges between the two sides to help social enterprises scale.

Creating a crowd lending platform to allow retail/small investors to participate in supporting the acceleration and growth of Impact SMEs through a distributed risk model is a potentially groundbreaking innovation: through a model like this, everyone has the opportunity to become an active impact investor.

Early stage Impact SMEs that are still on their growth and development pathway are finding it difficult to access mainstream shorter-term trade finance. This makes the process of “stepping up” to larger and larger procurement contracts extremely difficult; they simply don’t have the operating capital.

The platform would enable these businesses to access shorter term finance attached to their trading performance, freeing up other cash for working capital. Investors interested in creating impact by supporting the growth and development of Impact SMEs would benefit from a much more efficient line of sight to business they can support by taking low to moderate risk: an easier entry point to impact investing than is currently available.

Larger impact investors that are holding back capital because they are waiting for a pipeline of scaling businesses in which they can take equity, could use this platform to release smaller investments that drive the growth of that pipeline: they can make early stage investments in impact businesses on commercial terms with low to moderate risk.

LendForGood will:

  • Accelerate the growth and development of SMEs that pursue and transparently demonstrate positive economic, social, cultural and / or environmental impact (Impact SMEs) in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Engage and mobilise thousands of people as investors in impact businesses and use their capital to create the world they want to live in