The Bunya Fund

Grow your co-operative; increase your positive impact

What is The Bunya Fund?

The Bunya Fund is Australia’s first Co-operative Development Fund and was established by the BCCM in co-operation with our members. The aim of the Bunya Fund is to help newer and emerging co-operatives and mutuals to grow and prosper to increase their positive impact on their members, their communities, the environment and society.

The Bunya Fund provides education, training, advisory services and mentoring to support emerging co-operatives and mutuals that demonstrate high economic, social, cultural and environmental impact potential.

The Bunya Fund supports the BCCM’s mission of growing the co-operative and mutual economy in Australia by empowering the next generation of social businesses to choose the co-operative or mutual model of enterprise if it is the right model for them.

The Bunya Fund will provide capacity building, education and advisory services, valued at between $5,000 and $25,000.

Advice

  • Access to advisory and education services from BCCM members and other approved providers.

Infrastructure

  • Funding to support investment in organisational infrastructure where this is the main barrier to the implementation of a growth plan (e.g., a refrigerator for cold storage).

Successful applicants will also have access to the following

  • BCCM foundational education and courses such as governance training and Mutual Value Measurement© workshops if available.
  • BCCM Associate Membership for the remainder of the financial year.

The Bunya Fund approach

  • The Bunya Fund will support four or five early-stage co-operative or mutual enterprises or initiatives (or businesses converting to a co-operative or mutual structure), primarily by covering the costs of business advice and capacity building education and training.
  • The impact of funding will be maximised through the BCCM and funder expertise and in-kind support for selected projects.
  • Applications are assessed by an independent committee comprising funders, the BCCM and an independent academic/researcher.

Please note: Successful applicants will receive funding as a package of education, advice and mentoring. Grants are not awarded as cash funding.

Who can apply?

Newer or emerging co-operatives and mutuals (including one based in regional WA) that can demonstrate:

  • The organisation is fit and proper to receive funding (high level of ethical practice)
  • Clear organisational purpose and objectives
  • Strong current or prospective economic, social, cultural, and environmental impact within their communities
  • Business viability (or pathway to viability)
  • Basic business documentation (annual report, business plan, financials)
  • A strong foundation of member/community support and engagement.

Applicants must generally be a co-operative or mutual. Enterprises that are not currently a co-operative or mutual but intend to convert to a co-operative or mutual structure with the support of the Bunya Fund may also apply (e.g., a business buyout by the community or workers). Applicants may be for-profit, not-for-profit or charitable. Evidence of co-operative or mutual status is best evidenced through registration as a co-operative under the Co-operatives National Law or Co-operatives Act 2009 (WA). Companies that include co-operative principles in their constitution and meet the definition of a mutual entity in the Corporations Act are also eligible.

What can I apply for?

  • Professional advice required to support growth and capacity building
  • Access to education or training to support growth and capacity building (governance, innovation, strategic planning, capital raising, mergers etc)
  • Support for an existing business or organisation seeking to convert to being worker-owned or multistakeholder owned
  • Support to further a regional economic development collaboration
  • Support to build a co-operative or mutual network of social and community organisations or enterprises
  • Support to develop an emerging or innovative co-operative model or initiative such as a limited-equity co-operative housing project or a platform co-operative
  • Development of a farmer’s co-operative or mutual
  • Support with the growth of a member-owned community asset (co-op pub/hotel/hardware store etc)

Examples of what will not be funded

  • Untested ideas
  • Applications with little or no focus on creating positive social, economic, cultural or environmental outcomes  (a focus on one or more of these areas is acceptable)
  • Applications with no clear plans or a demonstrated demand
  • Applicants from a single individual with no evidence of broader community or member involvement
  • Applicants that are not (or do not intend to be) co-operatives or mutuals
  • Applicants that breach or do not support co-operative values and principles including openness, care for community, cooperation with other co-operatives or mutuals (or other social enterprises)

Application process

Please read the Bunya Fund criteria and make sure you meet the requirements before starting an application.

Criteria

Your application will be assessed against the following criteria:

  1. Co-operative or mutual structure and governance:
    • Proof of co-operative or mutual structure (or assurance that business is/will convert to co-operative or mutual structure)
    • Fit and proper operation and governance. The potential or existing enterprise practices the co-operative values and principles including openness, care for community, co-operation with other co-operatives or mutuals and no detrimental activity in these areas
  2. Business case:
    • Have at least a basic Annual Report outlining achievements and organisational profile (or equivalent formal documentation)
    • Have financial statements including profit and loss and balance sheet (audited if required by law) that have been prepared and accepted by members at an Annual General Meeting (or if the enterprise is prospective equivalent formal documentation)
    • Provide at least basic business planning documentation
    • Provide verified member and/or community endorsement statements to support application
  3. Mutual Impact:
    • Evidence of contribution to the social, economic, cultural and/or environmental wellbeing of the community where the enterprise is based or intends to be based

The applicant should ideally have been operating for three or more years and be planning for increased member and/or community investment in the future. The decision-making process will consider level of innovation, likelihood of receiving funds from other sources and overall balance of supported projects across various co-operative types and industries.

Please note: If you are not a currently registered co-operative or mutual but plan to convert to one, you can still apply to the fund and simply use documentation relating to your existing group or enterprise (such as existing business registrations and planning documents).

If you are confident that you can demonstrate that you meet the criteria, then please complete the online application form.

If you have any questions: [email protected]

Application dates

Applications open: Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Applications close: 5 pm, Friday, 23 September 2022

Grantees notified by: 5 pm, Friday, 21 October 2022