Innovation Seed Fund leads to scaling

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Innovation is messy

Innovation is essential for the not-for-profit sector to remain agile and responsive to the ever-changing needs of the communities it serves.

EPIT's Innovation Seed Fund (ISF) was created to support organisations to pilot or prototype their ideas. Often, they simply needed a small amount of money to get off the ground with the view that they would create significant impact for the communities they served. It freed them to experiment with fresh ideas, to take risks they wouldn’t otherwise, and to be agile in their approach.

More than funding

Our vision was to engage in transformative partnerships and this meant going beyond just the funding. Through the ISF, successful applicants were given a platform to showcase their initiative via EPIT's Collaboration Platform. This supported them to share their ideas, learnings, impacts and stories with the wider EPIT community. It connected our partners and created opportunities for current and future collaborations.  

They are also provided support to co-design an evaluation framework, alongside Dr. Louise Taylor, to ensure they focused their efforts on capturing the most meaningful stories to demonstrably show the impacts of their work.

How are things tracking?

To date, EPIT has funded 7 ISF initiatives.  While 4 of these are still underway, we are proud to say that 2 of them are now ready to scale and a third has used the ISF as a platform to expand on their existing work.

Sew Your Story

Sew Your Story provides an alternative method of communication to the traditional approaches of reading and writing. This involves using creative media and ‘hands’ to share stories about the self. This organisation was setup by Mary Kelleher with the aim of teaching and developing fabric design and creation to support identity, culture, language and literacy in the primary sector. A van set up with sewing machines and materials provides a mobile space for students to work.

The Story Store

There is inequity in the books available to school libraries across New Zealand with some schools not having enough books, while others have more than they need. The Story Store is an organisation that aims to collect unused children’s books that are in excellent condition (new and 2nd-hand) and make these available for free to school libraries that are under-resourced.  It is a voluntary startup organisation set up by a retired school librarian of 35 years. All contributors to the initiative are volunteers.

Where to next?

We continue to work closely with our partners to support them and develop their ideas, to build in scaling and sustainability, to think about impact, and about how to share their stories. The more prototypes and pilots we can try, the clearer it becomes about what does and doesn't work, and these learnings help to inform the greater community through our Collaboration Platform.

If you wish to find out more about our Innovation Seed Fund, please get in touch!

Nischal Chakravarthy
31 October 2023
min read

EPIT Newsletter

We'll be sharing news about events, our latest projects, and partnerships.