SVA provides ‘cradle to career’ support for disadvantaged Australians by removing the sector-wide challenges that impede social change.
The foundation for creating a brighter and more prosperous future starts with improving education and employment opportunities. By providing ‘cradle to career’ support for disadvantaged Australians, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) works to break the cycle of disadvantage affecting over two million people in Australia who are unemployed or underemployed. With an increasingly flexible labour market, greater flexibility in the employment system is required as is the need for innovative, collaborative and enterprising approaches.
Our experience over the past ten years has shown us that we can greatly reduce long-term unemployment if we successfully:
To achieve this we invest our efforts in three areas:
1. Social Ventures: Help scale and replicate carefully selected venture partners who implement innovative solutions to reducing unemployment
2. Projects and Partnerships: Develop collaborative projects and foster partnerships with key government, philanthropic and corporate stakeholders
3. Practical Insights: We identify ‘what works’ and based on this, support sector development and influence systems change.
Leading SVA’s employment strategy is Executive Director, Kevin Robbie, who has over 15 years of social sector experience in the UK, including seven years as Chief Executive of Forth Sector, one of Scotland’s leading social enterprises and as an advisor to the UK Government’s Cabinet Office. Kevin leads an experienced and multi-disciplinary team focused on developing innovative, collaborative, enterprising approaches.
SVA’s current Social Ventures, Projects and Partnerships solving long-term unemployment are:
Download the SVA Employment fact sheet (PDF, 172KB)
By the age of 15, there is a gap of almost three years between the literacy and numeracy of students attending school in a disadvantaged area of Australia and that of those attending school in a more affluent area.
No sector on its own can make the changes required to give every child in the country access to a high quality education. Returning to a ‘fair go’ Australia will take sustained collaboration between schools, philanthropists, researchers, social entrepreneurs, businesses and governments.
In pursuing this goal, none of us need start from scratch. There are educational bright spots throughout Australia, and our approach begins with finding these innovations which are already making a significant and measurable difference to the prospects of Australia’s disadvantaged students. With our collaborators from across sectors we are working to:
• Support Bright Spots with money, expertise and networks, so that they can sustain and develop their work. In addition to dozens of schools and several universities, SVA is supporting non-profit ventures such as the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), The Beacon Foundation, The Song Room and Teach for Australia.
• Understand the insights behind these innovations, and how they could be successfully adapted for different schools and communities.
• Showcase and share these learnings through peer networks and clusters, but also through practical toolkits and guides that schools, universities and others can pick up and action. Our goal is to turn Bright Spots into a Bright System.
• Bring together influential groups to guide and support this work, including a Principals Roundtable, a Government Roundtable, and our annual cross-sector Education Dialogue.
Children from low socio-economic status (low-SES) backgrounds perform significantly worse at low-SES schools than if they would if moved to a high-SES school . Later in life these disadvantaged children:
• are at greater risk of unemployment;
• earn less; and
• are more likely to be involved in crime.
They also may become the next generation of disadvantaged parents, with intergeneration effects that hold back Australia’s economy. The Grattan Institute has estimated that improving education standards up to world best practice would add 0.7% to GDP every year.
Download the SVA Education fact sheet (PDF, 1.3MB)
SVA Consulting partners with non-profits, philanthropists, corporations and governments to strengthen their capabilities and capacity to address pressing social problems. SVA Consulting is a specialist consulting practice that assists organisations across Australia to achieve greater social impact. Since 2007, we have supported over 170 clients through 400 projects.
Projects range from small and brief, to large and sustained. Using our skills in analytics, diagnostics, research and facilitated group work, we provide fact-based guidance to support critical decision-making and help scale impact. We accelerate learning by developing strong relationships that enable us to transfer knowledge, skills and practical tools.
With our clients, we create customised, results-driven solutions.
Our services include:
Strategy & policy – Supporting organisations to make critical decisions about direction, goals and resources. Assistance with monitoring progress against goals and developing and reviewing policy aligned with stated objectives.
Planning & funding models – Helping clients to develop funding strategies to increase sustainability and impact.
Implementation & organisational change – Assisting clients to align their organisations and operations with their strategies to ensure delivery of sustainable social impact.
Measurement & evaluation – Supporting clients in forecasting and evaluating program and organisational outcomes, with a focus on tools that include program logic and Social Return on Investment (SROI).
Research – Helping organisations to capture, analyse and synthesise information on programs, models and policies to draw out the key insights of what does and doesn’t work.
Boards & governance – Advising organisations as they set up or review their governance structure, including board reviews, board skills audits, governance recommendations and board development programs.
Building collaborations – Supporting clients across sectors to collaborate to achieve greater impact, improving efficiency and effectiveness.
Our team provides comprehensive consulting skills developed in international strategic consultancies, coupled with non-profit experience and deep sector knowledge in our impact areas.
The result is guidance that is both expert and appropriate to the social sector.
SVA Consulting is a division of non-profit organisation Social Ventures Australia. Fees are charged on a cost-recovery basis.
The SVA Impact Investing team is developing opportunities for investors seeking both a social and financial return on their investment. This emerging asset class is part of a global movement bringing much needed new capital to the social sector, helping it to achieve the scale required to realise extensive, sustainable social change.
The SVA Impact Investing team has been established to formally build on SVA’s 10 years’ practical experience in raising different forms of social investment, our venture philanthropy heritage and to tap into our extensive networks. SVA is uniquely positioned to play an advisory and intermediary role to grow this burgeoning market in Australia. In 2009, SVA helped orchestrate this country’s largest example of social finance investing, the $165 million GoodStart Childcare transaction, which funded the buyout of 650+ ABC Learning Centres by a non-profit consortium.
SVA is managing Australia’s first social benefit bond with Uniting Care and the NSW Government. The $7million raised will fund Newpin, a program that helps to safely return children in care to their families or prevent them from entering care in the first place.
The SVA Impact Investing team is focused on building on this platform to broaden investor opportunities as well as to provide expert social finance advice to government, foundations, high net worth individuals, philanthropists and socially conscious institutions.
SVA’s Impact Investing team is led by Executive Director, Ian Learmonth, who is responsible for development and implementation of SVA’s social finance strategy. Ian was formerly an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank and has been involved in establishing and leading a number of businesses in Asia and Europe including asset and structured finance, UK retail funds, direct investment in carbon and renewable energy (including wind and solar projects) as well as providing corporate advice in the renewable energy sector.
Emily Martin joined SVA’s Impact Investing team in 2012 as Portfolio Manager, specifically to manage the SVA Social Impact Fund. Emily has experience working on Social Benefit Bond proposals and over 10 years capital markets banking experience gained in Sydney and London.
Download the SVA Impact Investing fact sheet (PDF, 286KB)