When Michael Traill, investment banker turned social entrepreneur, went touting for funds to make a bid for the collapsed childcare group ABC Learning ten years ago, more than one person told him it was a flight of fancy.
Why would hard-headed investors put their money into a venture based on the assumption, as Traill recounts it, that “a bunch of do-gooder non-profits could run a very large-scale business and do social good.” Traill surprised the doubters: the money from charities, private investors, banks and government that he helped bring together into a winning bid created a highly successful social enterprise called Goodstart.
The new company paid $95 million for a stripped-down version of ABC Learning, which at its peak had more than 1000 centres, and raised another $70 million to fund its ongoing operations. A non-profit outbidding private rivals was one surprise. Another has been the success of combining an unsentimental business approach with a soft heart.
SOURCE: Mike Steketee. “Is Goodstart just the beginning?.” Inside Story, 22 Oct. 2019.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia