The Business Accelerator programme delivered by Venture Southland could also be of benefit for social enterprises in the future.

The Business Accelerator programme was initially designed to work with business start-ups but Venture Southland has extended this to include a pilot for two local social enterprises, Koha Kai and Poppycock trust.

Venture Southland accelerator programme manager, Stu Fleming

Business Accelerator programme manager, Stewart Fleming said supporting social enterprises in the programme requires a different approach to innovation.

“Social enterprises differ to other businesses in that they are seeking societal impact as opposed to pure commercial gain, “Fleming said.

Due to this the business and community development teams are working together to develop a social enterprise framework for the programme.

This framework will establish a criteria that social enterprises must meet including having an element of scalability and large societal benefit associated with it.

Fleming said both Koha Kai and Poppycock trust fit this criteria.

This had involved the enterprises and their respective boards establishing a solid foundation for scalability and replacing the “investment pathway” for commercial start-ups with pathways to fundraising, and central and local funding.

Fleming said the development of a social enterprise accelerator framework will be an important contribution to innovation in New Zealand.

“There’s less experience with handling social enterprises, not just here, but across the whole New Zealand start-up ecosystem,” Fleming said.

Once this is better understood a structured accelerator programme will be able to be established.

Since becoming involved in the pilot Koha Kai has gone on to be recognised at a national level recently winning the people and capability section at the New Zealand Maori Business awards.

Koha Kai was also a finalist for the Supreme Business Award, and founder Janice Lee made the top three for the Business Woman’s title.

Fleming said Koha Kai’s national recognition showed the impact social enterprises can have on encouraging innovation across the country.