The Bunya Fund Impact

The Bunya Fund was established by the BCCM to support the next generation of co-operatives and mutuals that demonstrate high economic, social, cultural and environmental impact potential.

The Fund had its first iteration in 2022–23, supported by three foundational contributors: Australian Unity, Bank Australia and CBH Group. The foundational contributors committed a total of $137,500 per year for a period of three years. In addition, CoPower made a contribution of $10,000 for the first round of funding via a CoPower member poll.

The Bunya Fund funds education, training, advisory services and mentoring (as well as supporting infrastructure essential to start-ups) to help co-operatives and mutuals take on challenging economic, social, cultural and environmental problems in Australian communities and to thrive. Successful applicants receive support valued between $5,000 and $25,000.

This ground-breaking fund is the first of its kind in Australia. The BCCM launched The Bunya Fund in June 2022 and ran its first round of funding applications in September 2022, and the second in April 2023.

In the first round, ten recipients were selected, with grants ranging from $2,500 to $17,000 and covering diverse industries:

  • bHive Bendigo (sharing economy)
  • Cohousing Australia (co-operative cohousing)
  • Co-operation Housing (co-operative housing investment)
  • Coota District Co-op (retail)
  • Earthworker Construction Cooperative (construction)
  • Eyre Peninsula Cooperative Bulk Handling (EPCBH) (agribusiness)
  • Kingdom Community Life Care (care)
  • The Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance (NAAKPA) (agribusiness)
  • Quairading Farmers Co-operative (retail)
  • The Pack Music Co-operative (music streaming)

The Bunya Fund Impact Report 2022–23, prepared by Professor Emmanuel Josserand, outlines the impact of the fund, and how it is derived from two key factors. First, for the majority of co-operatives supported, the fund intervenes at an early stage, when resources are scarce. In doing so, it can accelerate the delivery of impact. Second, the fund has supported a strong proportion of scalable projects. While two projects are local, three concern a broad region (such as a state), while five recipients can be scaled nationally or even globally. Because the models developed are scalable, it means a high impact relative to the funds invested.

The majority of the co-operatives supported by the fund are in their early stages, where resources are typically scarce – the fund’s intervention at this crucial juncture can accelerate the delivery of their impact, making a meaningful difference in their development and success.

Download The Bunya Fund Impact Report 2022–23.

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