GRIST Program

Ready to launch your Social Enterprise but need some help getting started? GRIST can help!

Question Answer

Frequently Asked Questions

10 fun filled days of advice, mentoring and education on how to test your business idea to make sure it works and delivers the impact you're aiming to achieve.

We come together as a cohort for an entrepreneurial education and peer networking opportunities. The mandatory workshops are intensive, dedicated, whole-day learning opportunities to come to terms with all the factors that influence trading for impact.

The purpose of this is to encourage you to fully immerse yourself in the progress of social venture building and in connecting with your peers who are very likely to be your future collaborators and (we hope!) friends.

At the end of each content block you'll design a market test for you to go out and talk to your customers and beneficiaries to get feedback on your ideas to further develop your enterprise.

GRIST culminates in a Graduation Ceremony and community celebration. You will pitch your ventures and reflect on your adventures in GRIST with our social innovation community. We will also help you to prepare an ASK, to let our community know how they can continue to support your Social Enterprise.

No. Participants for our programs are selected through an extensive review process to ensure that we have the right expertise to support you over the entire Accelerator program.

We have learned through trial and error that the best approach is to strictly limit participation for those who are most ready and have clear impact narratives to address pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges right here in our region.

We seek start-up social ventures that intend to grow quickly through the acquisition of new customers in new or existing markets. We want to build entrepreneurial capacity rather than teach you how to get an increase in donations or Government funding.

The Mill House Ventures team, facilitators and mentors are people who know how to help entrepreneurs succeed, and many of these are already successful entrepreneurs. They understand what you’re going through in starting an innovative new business. They are each committed to social entrepreneurship and are willing to draw on personal and professional networks to benefit your ventures.

We will provide the learning resources and program support so you can complete each stage and apply insights and new knowledge to your venture.

The Mill House will host a Graduation event designed to expose your venture to a range of social impact investors in our region.

We will support you to be able to do the best pitch possible and we will activate the network to get the right people in the room. Your pitch will help you access the next stage of development based on where you land at the end of the program—you might be looking for potential investors, partners, team members, or customers.

After Graduation, you will become an Alumni of Mill House. Mill House graduates is a growing ecosystem of Change Makers and Social Enterprise ventures adding to the status and reputation of Social Enterprise in the Canberra region, and across the world. We also invite you to consider Social Enterprise Council of NSW & ACT (SECNA) membership to maintain connections to a community of practice and like-minded ventures trading for impact.

We understand that developing any small business, especially for-purpose ventures, takes time.

The GRIST program is designed to learn quickly, challenge your idea and, just like going to the gym, it might feel uncomfortable and sweaty, but we want you to come out stronger. It’s not for everyone though!

We encourage people who are not sure to have a consult with our Team first. Consultations are always free at The Mill House Ventures.

  • You are an entrepreneur who is looking to pivot your business for purpose
  • You are persistent, determined, and flexible – you want to learn and adapt your concept through this process
  • You have the time to commit fully to the program, show up on time and participate in every session and do the work between content blocks (you get out what you put in!)
  • You have a great team and the support of your co-founders, extended team, organisation and/or Board of Directors to participate fully
  • The GRIST is valued at over $10,000 AUD – Thanks to our Sponsor Members, program participants are only asked to contribute $1,500 AUD for the entire program per venture for up to 2 participants
  • Need financial support? We have the discretion to support our Change Makers who are experiencing financial difficulties. We also offer flexible payment terms. There is a place to indicate in your application that you will need Fee Help
  • Also, consider the value of your time. In addition to the learning time and workshops, you will also have tasks to complete between sessions. We recommend that the Principal Founder will need at least 2-3 days a week during the program to be available to put the time in to develop your business and financial model and test your assumptions in the market. We encourage the participation of teams who can share the load so that your wellbeing and health are prioritised.

What is GRIST?

GRIST is a fast paced, intensive accelerator specifically tailored for Social Enterprises in Canberra and region. Designed exclusively to meet the needs of today’s small-to-medium social enterprises, GRIST is a proven learning and capability development program for early stage, start-up social enterprises. It’s also a great space for aspiring social entrepreneurs who have a strong idea and want to test it in the market and start working towards operating.

Over three months you’ll participate in 5 sets of two day workshops that will help you lay the groundwork and do the testing to ensure your social enterprise business model stands up on its own. Through workshops, presentations, consultations, interactive discussions and brainstorming sessions, you will get the opportunity to freely discuss and develop your enterprise with like-minded, impact focused, people.

Delivered by The Mill House Ventures team and a dedicated network of industry professionals you’ll learn what you need to know, who you need to talk to, and how to become a sustainable impact driven business. With unlimited access to The Mill House Ventures Team out of session, and a mentor too, you’ll be given the support and tools to start your enterprise on the path to success.

GRIST Methodology

Designed from principles found where impact measurement and philanthropy meet the Lean startup methodology, coupled with a learning loop we use feedback to improve the program year after year. Through these elements we have refined a well balanced (yet fast paced) accelerator to get you and your enterprise on its way.

Tom, the programs manager, has an extensive background in Social Entrepreneurship and management consulting and has mixed those two industries together to bring a fresh and forward thinking approach to building sustainable and profitable impact focused ventures.

Plus we have a network of industry professionals to teach the things we aren’t equipped to teach! Rest assured that the information you are receiving is from people who live what they teach.

What’s next?

If you have any questions or would like to enquire if you’re suitable for the GRIST program please book a consult to chat to one of the team. Otherwise, if you’re ready top pull the trigger keep an eye on our social media channels for applications opening!

GRIST roadmap

GRIST takes place over approximately 3 months, broken down into five blocks of two-day workshops, presentations, co-working and more, starting with a two day retreat to ideate in a new and fresh space! The below roadmap broadly outlines some of the key topics covered throughout the days.