Chris Dembek is a lecturer at the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University, in Australia. Chris is currently working with innovation company SecondMuse on a new initiative of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade called Frontier Innovators.
What is this program about? Country/sector focus?
Frontier Innovators is a search for innovative businesses in the Asia-Pacific that are delivering impact through their work. We are looking for businesses from any sector that are delivering impact in one or more eligible countries in the Asia Pacific (a full list of these countries can be found on our website).
15 winners will receive up to AUD $100,000 in grant funding and will work with our team and program partners to improve the way they deliver, measure, communicate and their impact, while also identifying and addressing other needs. Alongside the winners, a larger group of finalists will also receive recognition and training.
How is it different from other programs?
The aim of Frontier Innovators is to find compelling businesses that are delivering impact, and to help them unlock pathways to sustainable growth by identifying and addressing their needs. We want the stories of their success to showcase new ways of working, and the impact these can have, in order to build the broader case for supporting these businesses (e.g. through impact investment, seed funding, or incubation).
This is about showing that market-based approaches can deliver development outcomes, and increasing the support that is available to them.
What types of ventures are you looking for?
We are looking for a diverse group of business delivering impact in the Asia-Pacific. You could be an established business, a growing startup with an innovative product or service, or a social enterprise with a transformative business model. If your business delivers impact in one or more eligible countries, generates revenue from your activities, and wants to grow, then apply now.
Why are you personally excited about in this program?
There are businesses doing great work, benefiting people, and transforming the world. Their impact can be hard to see, measure and communicate, but their efforts are worth supporting – they have the potential to redefine how we do business. We are excited that this program will be able to uncover some of these incredible businesses, support them to grow, increase their impact, and showcase the many ways that impact can be delivered.