07 Mar 2016
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PledgeMe targets social enterprise with Ākina partnership

By Shannon Williams

PledgeMe has entered into a partnership with charity Ākina Foundation in a bid to help New Zealand social enterprises tap into their networks and expertise for funding.

PledgeMe CEO Anna Guenther says the partnership would be powerful for New Zealand’s social enterprises.

"PledgeMe working with Ākina means social enterprises looking for support and funding will have our combined powers at their disposal,” she explains.

“Social enterprises in New Zealand are often on the lookout for funding to grow and expand the impact they’re having, and struggling to find it,” says Guenther.

“This partnership means they can access business development support from Ākina and our support with crowdfunding to maximise their impact with their crowds help.

“We’ve already seen a number of social enterprises crowdfund, from Eat My Lunch, a buy one gift one lunch programme helping feed kids in poverty, to Ethique, a solid hair care company that wants to reduce waste,” Guenther explains.

“They activated their crowds to support their social missions, and got so much more than funding,” she says.

Ākina Foundation chief executive Alex Hannant says he was happy to be able to cement the relationship between the two organisations.

“Ākina and PledgeMe have worked together for more than three years informally, so this partnership has a solid foundation,” says Hannant.

“Reaching a point of financial sustainability is hard for any business, whether a social enterprise or not,” he explains.

“Having access to crowdfunding in all its forms may be an important source of funding to grow ventures."

Hannant noted that while PledgeMe already offered crowdfunding, the new partnership would increase the profile around what it meant.

“There is a challenge in the social enterprise sector in that only companies or charities operating company models can access equity, like Ooooby, which has expanded globally thanks in part to the support of PledgeMe,” he says.

“Social enterprises coming through PledgeMe are showing that you can do well and do good, and strengthen your relationship with existing stakeholders by asking them to support you,” Guenther adds.

“These pledgers are often motivated by more than just a financial return. They want their funds to also have a social impact,” she says.

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