Social Ventures Australia awarded Best CSR Innovation in AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies for 2023

Social Ventures Australia (SVA) has been awarded Best CSR Innovation and recognised as one of the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative not-for-profit organisations.

The 2023 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies list celebrates innovation in Australia and New Zealand. The list recognises organisations with strong innovation practices as well as identifies specific innovative initiatives.

SVA’s Synergis Fund was called out as the Best CSR Innovation from the 700 entries in 2023, in addition to SVA being named second in the list of most innovative organisations in the government, education and not-for-profit category.

SVA CEO Suzie Riddell said it was wonderful that SVA had been recognised for its efforts to harness innovation to improve outcomes for all people and communities in Australia.

‘SVA was created 20+ years ago by visionary leaders who wanted to speed-up innovation in the social sector. They saw the need to fast-track solutions to entrenched social problems, and I’m incredibly proud that we’re continuing to deliver on their vision over two decades later’, Ms Riddell said.

‘We look at social issues that seem too hard to solve and say “what if we did things differently?” Synergis Fund is an example of this. We knew there’s a lack of quality homes for people with disability, and a lack of capital to build these homes. We asked, what if there’s a different way to access capital?’

‘In partnership with Federation Asset Management, we created Synergis Fund to unlock new sources of capital that weren’t being accessed before to create disability housing. The Synergis Fund model puts the person with disability at the centre of initiative, giving them choice and control over their lives.’

A key feature of the Synergis Fund is its advisory committee which includes tenants, social sector experts, housing design specialists and people with lived experience. This is part of the Fund’s commitment to positive outcomes for people with disability and properly understanding the social impact of investments.

‘One of our values at SVA is putting people at the centre of everything we do,’ said Ms Riddell. ‘That’s exactly how we built the Synergis model, by ensuring the voice of people with disability drives what we do.’

Part of SVA’s pioneering mission with Synergis Fund was to prove the viability of specialist disability accommodation as a scaleable asset class for investment. Synergis Fund successfully attracted institutional investment and currently has the capacity to invest over $350 million.

This not only increases the number of quality homes Synergis Fund can build for people with disability, but also demonstrates to other largescale investors that both social and financial returns are possible with specialist disability accommodation. Synergis hopes this will encourage the scale of capital necessary to address the shortfall in specialist disability accommodation in Australia, and allow everyone with disability to have a safe and stable place to call home.

Media contact: Emma Glyde