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CLIENT NEWS - WEL and Akina funding partnership announcement

WEL and Akina funding partnership announcement

Waikato businesses founded to do good, have received a major boost with a $50,000 funding partnership announced between WEL Energy Trust and impact development organisation the Ākina Foundation.

WEL Energy Trust has provided a $50,000 Impact Investment Readiness Grant to Ākina, to support three Waikato social enterprises and grow the social enterprise landscape in the region.

The first three grant recipients are Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, Learning Matters andHome Kitchen. They will now work with Ākina to attract further investment and grow their businesses.

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt will seek investment to enter new international markets and build a new factory in Raglan.  Learning Matters will seek investment to launch an online literacy programme, to help children with learning differences like dyslexia, and Home Kitchen will seek investment to expand the business nationwide and investigate other product ranges.

WEL Energy Trust Chief Executive Raewyn Jones said partnering with Ākina was about helping to grow the ecosystem for investment into businesses that are doing good in our communities, and providing the specialist knowledge and support they need to take their business to the next level.

“We’re excited about growing social enterprise activity in the Waikato and Ākina is the perfect partner for that,” she said.

“This grant is a way of making sure this type of business activity continues to grow in the Waikato and we’re keen to see how we can continue working together.  It’s all about finding new solutions to old problems and new ways to create positive impact.”

She said WEL’s strategic plan was directed towards investments and grants that provided a positive impact for communities.

“The social enterprise space hasn’t traditionally been one that’s been easy for us to be involved in. This grant and partnering with Ākina allows us to move into that space and make a positive impact.”

She said they had also worked with partners like Te Waka, Waikato’s regional economic development agency, to find businesses to work with.

Ākina Director Jackson Rowland said it was the third time Ākina had run Impact Investment Readiness Grants, but it was the first time it had run a local version of the programme, thanks to the WEL funding.

“We’re really thrilled to have been able to offer this opportunity targeted to Waikato businesses.”

“Through the applications we received, we’ve seen just how much awesome potential there is in the Waikato.  The previous national grant rounds unlocked over $4 million of impact investing from just $150,000 of grant money, so we’re really looking forward to seeing how much investment will be unlocked by our Waikato grant recipients over the coming months.”

“Our three Waikato recipients are exciting impactful businesses.  They’ll be using the grant money to help take them to the next level, whether that’s through the development of their business models, funding strategies or getting ready for an equity raise.”