How we work

Alterno is committed to supporting people and organisations who are working towards making our community, and that means New Zealand, a better place to live, work and play.  We almost never do projects ourselves. We will fund, advise and work alongside the people who are making it happen. Typically we support “doers”, not “talkers”. We know from our commercial experience that there are plenty who can “talk the talk”, but not so many who can “walk the talk”. It is the latter group we align ourselves with.

Our primary interests are health and fitness, nutrition, and education. Get these right and we are well on the way to improving the lives and productivity of many.

We like to think that we are able to think differently. That means there are times we will consider projects in other fields, but they would need to particularly provoke our imagination. We particularly like ideas which attack problems from different angles. If all the solutions from the past had worked, then there wouldn’t be a need for us to fund new solutions.

Our charter only allows us to support projects within New Zealand. But that does not mean ideas will not have wider international impact.

We come from a commercial background.  That means that we treasure organisational and management rigour. We will want to know how your project will be run, the leverage it can provide and what value for money it will deliver. But don’t let that scare you off. We also treasure great ideas and innovation.

What won’t we support?

We won’t support projects which are taking over areas the government (either local or national) is involved in. We pay our taxes – but don’t expect to pay them twice.

Social Enterprise v. Commercial Enterprise

Not all the good in the world is done by non-profits. And not all the bad in the world is done by business. There are times when a commercial model can be more effective than a traditional non-profit model. We will support either model providing all profits and benefits are devoted to a charitable purpose. What we are looking for is the positive impact on society, and benefit to the community.
That impact may be by way of a volunteer model, a non-profit with paid employees or a commercial model. Our contribution can include seed and/or loan capital – and also advice and guidance.
For Alterno to support a commercial operation, it must be owned by a charity or community group, and all profits must be devoted to a charitable purpose. However, for commercial models which provide a social benefit, and are owned by individuals or a company structure  (often called a social enterprise) refer to

I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out. (Jeff Bezos)