Turning Community Business Ideas into Reality Sat 2 June 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Economic Development One of Tasmania's valued social enterprises will get the opportunity to attend an intensive six-month development program called The Crunch. The Minister for Economic Development, David O'Byrne, said it's the first time the program's been offered outside Victoria, thanks to funding of $10,000 from the Tasmanian Government. There'll be information workshops for interested parties in Hobart and Launceston this week. "The Crunch helps ordinary Australians take a social enterprise idea and make it reality," Mr O'Byrne said. "The Government wants to build strong communities where people support each other and share ideas, and social enterprises play a key role in that. "Tasmania needs a diverse economy that plays to our natural strengths, and that's what the State Government's Economic Development Plan is all about. "But we also need to encourage and reward those enterprises that show a deep and generous commitment to community causes, and bringing people together. "The Government is pleased to be partnering with Social Traders to help local enterprises expand, improve viability, and deliver better outcomes for the community," he said. Social enterprises are businesses that achieve a specific social or community purpose. They're different to traditional commercial businesses, because most of a social enterprise's profits go into solving social issues. The Crunch is delivered by Social Traders Ltd - a non-profit group based in Victoria, which delivers intensive training and support to build commercially viable social enterprises. Social Traders will be holding two free information workshops on the Tasmanian program - in Hobart on June 6th, and Launceston on June 7th, for all interested applicants. To register, visit www.thecrunch.socialtraders.com.au The Managing Director of Social Traders, David Brookes, said since 2010, 15 participants have received support to develop a feasibility assessment and rigorous business plan to start-up their social enterprise. "Should you be selected as a Crunch participant, Social Traders' staff and business mentors from Melbourne Business School and leading Australian corporations will work alongside you to refine your idea," Mr Brookes said. "Participants work on their social enterprise by attending a total of five workshops, commencing in late September. "The workshops cover a number of topics including industry and market research, business forecasting, feasibility assessment, and business plan writing and pitching for investment," he said. The program will finish with each participant pitching for investment from private and public funding organisations. The Tasmanian participant will have the opportunity to pitch for investment through the Tasmanian Social Enterprise Loan Fund, delivered by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts.