18 November 2022
The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) has announced the successful applicants to its inaugural co-operative development fund, The Bunya Fund, as it looks to kick-start a new generation of member-owned businesses.
The ten successful applicants, who will share a collective $137,700 in first round funding, were announced at the BCCM Leaders’ Summit in Melbourne today.
Round one recipients include The Pack, a co-operative music streaming platform owned by musicians, two co-operative housing groups and Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance.
Another successful applicant was the Coota District Co-op, which formed last year after the town’s last remaining department store closed its doors, leaving the community without access to basic supplies.
The Bunya Fund was launched by the BCCM in June with the aim of helping to grow Australia’s co-operative and mutual sector by bridging the funding gap for early- stage enterprises to develop their businesses.
It provides funding for education, training, advisory and mentoring to support emerging co-operatives and mutuals with high economic, social, cultural and environmental impact.
Founding members of the fund include Australia’s largest co-operative, CBH Group, Australian Unity, Bank Australia and Co Power, who collectively provided $137,700. The fund is expected to grow to $500,000 a year.
BCCM Chief Executive Officer Melina Morrison said The Bunya Fund was an example of the collaborative nature of member-owned businesses and would ensure young enterprises had the resources to grow.
“The Bunya Fund is helping to empower the next generation of co-operatives and mutuals by lending vital monetary support and also contributing valuable advice from some of our more experienced member organisations,” Ms Morrison said.
“This fund is ensuring that emerging co-ops and mutuals can grow and prosper, and in the process, deliver positive impact to their communities,” she said. “What is most pleasing is to see some of our larger co-operatives giving back and sharing what they have learned in the interests of creating a better future for all Australians.”
The successful applicants were: