Louise Aitken, CEO of the Ākina Foundation

Business is Boring: The social enterprise helping create more social enterprises

In this week’s episode, Simon Pound talks to Louise Aitken, CEO of the Ākina Foundation, about how they’re helping social enterprises grow.

Social enterprises are some of my favourite things in business. The idea that a business could be about more than just shareholder value, that it is part of a community and that the impact it has can be positive in many ways if it just decides to, are hugely powerful ideas. 

As social enterprises have emerged, some people have asked why they aren’t just charities if they want to do good. But the real question I think is why isn’t every non-social enterprise trying to make the world better too?

There are supporters helping the concept grow. For the last three years the Ākina Foundation has been delivering a programme in partnership with the government, called The Impact Initiative, focussed on the future of New Zealand’s social enterprises. Ākina runs a range of programmes to help more businesses make money and positive change, help grow companies’ capability, support them in things like finance and other nuts and bolts of doing business well, and create and demonstrate impact in what they do.

Part of this includes working with impact companies to help them become investment ready, and they offer grants and support to great social enterprises like Chia Sisters and Big Street Bikers – cool companies we’ve spoken to on the podcast.

The Ākina Foundation is an impact consultancy and impact investor, and to talk about what that means, CEO Louise Aitken joined us this week for a chat.

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