A café that supports refugees, a solar energy storage business and an award-winning photographer have been named the winners of this year’s NAB Microenterprise Loan Awards.
The national awards program recognises microenterprise business loan (http://cr.nab.com.au/what-we-do/nab-microenterprise-loans?own_cid=shortURL:microenterprise) recipients who have experienced success in key areas, rewarding them with a $2000 grant to further grow their enterprise.
NAB has been providing unsecured microenterprise loans of between $500 and $20,000 for people on low incomes since 2007. The loans give budding entrepreneurs access to much-needed credit to fund a start-up business, an opportunity unavailable to many asset-poor Australians.
“A great idea sometimes needs a little help to get started but accessing affordable credit can be a challenge for some people who lack the assets to apply for a typical business loan,” said David Bannatyne, GM, Business Development.
“We’ve loaned more than $27.4 million to help over 1800 aspiring entrepreneurs become job makers, not just job seekers.”
Three winners were selected in recognition of their business achievements since receiving a NAB Microenterprise Loan last night;
The Greatest Impact Award: Jane Marx – Long Street Coffee
Jane Marx and her husband Francois first realised the power of business to make a positive difference in society three years ago while they were volunteering within refugee communities, teaching English and coffee-making skills to young people.
This experience led them to establish a successful pop-up café where they provided two young refugees with their first day of work in Australia. Following the success of their pop-up café, Jane and Francois raised much-needed funding through a crowd-funding campaign to help them establish a social enterprise café at a permanent location.
A NAB Microenterprise loan in June this year assisted them to establish their much needed kitchen. It also enabled them to offer a full breakfast and lunch menu, helping them to become financially viable.
Innovation Award – Benjamin Peak – The Green Collar Man
Originally operating a business focussed on energy efficiency that was heavily reliant on short-term government schemes, Benjamin identified an opportunity to move away from the competition and into an exciting new area.
Today, The Green Collar Man is a highly-successful solar installation business with a number of employees. One of the only companies specialising in the self-consumption power sector installing hybrid solar systems, the company installed one of the first grid connected battery storage solar systems in the country.
The Green Collar Man received a NAB Microenterprise loan in July 2009 which assisted them to set up the business.
Impact Award – Dane Beesley – Dane Beesley Photography
There are limited employment opportunities for music photographers when they graduate from college – most end up working for free for street press magazines. Dane Beesley tackled the problem head on, turning 10 years as a freelance photographer into a book that became his breakthrough moment.
Splitting the Seconds: A Photographer’s Journal chronicles Dane’s 10 years behind the scenes of Australian rock: photographing everyone from Nick Cave to the Dandy Warhols. The book was such a success Rolling Stone Magazine approached Dane for employment and he works there today.
The NAB Microenterprise Loan allowed Dane to publish his book; giving him recognition in the music industry and enabling him to become the respected and well-known photographer that he is today.