Check out all the details you need to know to apply for Launchpad Work. Click on the links below to learn more.

About Launchpad Work

What is Launchpad Work?

Launchpad Work is New Zealand’s first business accelerator programme for ambitious social enterprises whose purpose is to provide jobs for individuals facing the greatest barriers to work.

It’s a 6-month intensive programme dedicated to accelerating the growth of up to 10 enterprises. Based in Auckland in 2017, Launchpad Work is powered by the Ākina Foundation with support from corporate, philanthropic, iwi and public sector partners.
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Who is delivering Launchpad Work?

The Ākina Foundation is delivering Launchpad Work. Ākina grows the emerging New Zealand social enterprise sector by:

  • Activating talent, raising awareness and building capability for social enterprise
  • Supporting social enterprises to grow and increase their impact, and
  • Developing new market and investment opportunities for social enterprise.

This is the second social enterprise accelerator that Ākina has operated; the first Launchpad accelerator was delivered in partnership with Contact Energy and ran in 2014-2015 to support 11 enterprises.
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Can I still apply?

Applications for Launchpad Work 2017 have now closed. To hear about future programs, please register here.
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Who is eligible for Launchpad Work

Who is eligible to apply for Launchpad Work?

You may be an early-stage social enterprise or an established enterprise; with or without a legal structure.

Your purpose must be to create employment opportunities for people that face barriers to finding and keeping a job. You may be working with youth, former refugees, lone parents, people with disabilities, or individuals with experience of homelessness, the criminal justice system, or mental health difficulties.

You must also have operations in Greater Auckland or intend to have operations in greater Auckland before the programme starts in May 2017.

You need to be able to commit to spending at least two days a week on your idea for the duration of the programme from May to the end of October 2017.

The programme is open to enterprises with any legal form (e.g. limited liability company, charitable trust, incorporated society etc.) however the primary purpose of your organisation must to provide employment to people who face barriers to employment rather than returning profit to shareholders. We will discuss this with you at selection stage.
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What do you mean by social enterprise?

By social enterprise we mean a business with a primary goal of creating social and/or environmental impact. That means that it generates income through trade and contracts, strives to be profitable and financially sustainable and reinvests profits back to the core mission.

Social enterprises have a range of legal forms (e.g. limited liability company, charitable trust, a company owned by charitable trust). Launchpad Work is open to organisations with any legal form.

You can read more here.
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Are you looking for a specific industry or sector?

No. We are open to any industry as long as the company provides employment to people who face significant barriers to employment.

We will consider the potential for the enterprise to compete in the industry and the growth potential of the industry as part of selection.

We welcome applications from organisations that work in industries that are growing and / or have recruitment needs in Auckland such as Elderly Care, Hospitality, Logistics and Warehousing, Call Centre operations and Trades and Construction.
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Can I apply if my social enterprise exists already?

Yes. As long as you create employment opportunities for people that face barriers in finding and keeping a job and you’re looking to expand your impact, then you are welcome to apply.
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Can I apply if my social enterprise idea is part of an existing organisation?

Yes. If you apply as part of an existing organisation then you will need to make sure you have the support of your manager, CEO and board. We will also look for evidence that providing employment is part of the organisation’s core strategy.
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Applying and Selection

How do I apply?

Review all of the the information on the FAQ page and read the application carefully to ensure you answer all of the questions in your submission. Submit your form and materials by 12pm on 13 February 2017.

Apply here. 
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What is Ākina looking for in applicants to Launchpad Work?

Ākina will assess applicants on four main criteria:

Leadership team:

Does the team that is leading this new development have relevant sector knowledge and the ability to execute? Does the team have business experience and a track record of action?


Does the company provide employment opportunities to those that face the greatest barriers in finding and keeping a job? Does the team has demonstrated examples of impact? Is the company operating in the Greater Auckland area?

Growth potential:

Is this a company that can become financially viable? Is there indication that customers are interested in this product/service? What is the scale that the team would like to reach?


To what extent is this organisation, or new initiative, a social enterprise (does it operate primarily to achieve a social purpose)? Is the leadership team committed to fully participating in Launchpad Work? Is the team open to feedback and learning?

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What should I include in our submission?

We need a clear and concise description of your enterprise and the impact you intend to have. Show us what you’re made of, and answer the questions we ask.

You have 10 minutes to tell us about your idea / company. It can take the format you want – a video, slide deck or a written document – it just needs it to be a digital file and you need to upload it along with your online .

Check out the application form – there are four questions we want you to answer.
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How does the selection process work?

 The first step is to submit an application. We will review all applications and invite a select group to participate in Warm-up workshops in February. These Warm-up workshops are step two of the application process, and they provide an opportunity for teams to further develop their idea/company and for us to learn more about what the teams are working on.

After the warm-up workshops, a sub-set of teams will be invited to the final step of the process, a due diligence of the organisation in March. We will have one-on-one meetings with the team and key supporters in your company to learn more about the details of how you operate.

The final team selection will be announced at the end of March.
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What are warm-up workshops?

 The warm-ups are one-day workshops that will be held as part of the Launchpad Work selection process. Teams will be invited to attend after an initial filtering process based on their online application. At the warm-ups, Ākina will deliver a combination of group and one-on-one activities.

This will include and introduction to social enterprise and some social enterprise start-up tools.  For participating teams, it will be an opportunity to communicate and refine their idea/company and receive coaching.

For Ākina and the people that are there to support, it is a chance to assess the ideas, the teams, and their chances of success by seeing them in action.
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What if I have trouble with my application?

If you have trouble completing or submitting your application, email us at
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Costs and Funding

Is there a cost to participate in Launchpad Work?

No. It is free to apply and free to participate. In fact, all charitable companies that are selected can opt-in to receive funding from the SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust. To learn more about who is eligible for funding from SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust, click here.
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Who is eligible for funding from SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust?

Selected participant organisations that are registered as a Charitable Trust, Incorporated Society or have registered charitable status have the option to receive funding from SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust.

Companies without charitable status will have to meet additional criteria to access funding. We’re happy to discuss this with any potential applicants.

Startup enterprises that do not yet have a legal status will need to become registered to receive funding.

Participating teams may opt-in if they wish to receive this funding.
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Am I guaranteed funding or investment to start-up my social enterprise after completing Launchpad Work?

No. The goal of Launchpad Work is to accelerate the growth of social enterprises that create employment for people who face barriers to finding and keeping a job.

Through the programme, you and your team will have the opportunity to identify your investment needs, explore the right type of finance for your growth (e.g. grants, loans, equity, crowdfunding, impact investment) and build your case for funding or investment. You will also have multiple opportunities to engage with external investors and funders. This is how the programme accelerates your ability to fund your growth.
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What support will successful applicants receive once they are in Launchpad Work?

The Launchpad Work participants will receive support in four key areas:


Participants will follow a structured pathway for growth with clear milestones. Each venture will have a dedicated business growth coach and be able to tap into the Ākina Foundation’s network of pro-bono professionals and experienced social enterprises to assist with targeted questions.


Each participant will become part of the broader Launchpad Work community, which will have 8-10 high-performance ventures that share similar passion, ambition, and challenges around creating jobs for those who face the greatest barriers in finding and keeping employment.


Through events that showcase the companies and marketing, participants will have access to potential customers, partners, investors, and funders—to corporates, investors, and funders looking to engage in this space.


All charitable companies participating may opt-in to receive $10,000 from the SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust to support their participation. There will also be many opportunities to engage with external investors and funders throughout the programme.

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Do I have any obligations if I am successfully accepted into Launchpad Work?

Participants that are accepted into Launchpad Work will be required to enter into a separate legal agreement with Akina.

Social enterprises are expected to participate fully while the accelerator is operating, from May and October 2017. This includes up to two days a month of in-person group sessions as well as regular sessions with a coach. We also look for a commitment to reaching targets during and after the programme.

In summary, your commitment:

  • This idea/company is our own; we have the rights to use it
  • One of our primary impact goals is to provide employment to individuals from groups that have trouble finding and keeping employment
  • We have read the programme details and understand how the selection process and programme will work
  • If selected, our team is able to attend a Warm-up at our own expense
  • We are willing and able to commit to spending an average of at least two days per week on our social enterprise within the Launchpad Work programme from May to November 2017

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If I am accepted into Launchpad Work, what is the time commitment?

The primary time investment will be the time that you spend developing your enterprise. You need to be able to commit to spending at least two days a week on your idea for the duration of the programme from May to the end of October 2017.

In addition, there will be two group sessions per month with all the participating teams, and each team will have regular, one-on-one meetings with their business growth coach.
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I want to learn more. When are the info sessions?

There are three info sessions coming up soon:

Jan 18, 10:00 – 11:00am on a webinar; Register here

Jan 24, 4:00 – 5:00pm at GridAKL, Register here

Jan 26, 08:30 – 09:30am at GridAKL, Register here

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