We’re driven towards a future where all forms of capital – human, environmental, spiritual, cultural and financial are valued and flow together to create businesses that benefit people and planet.
Where doing good while making money is everyone’s business.
Our Mental Models
Influence how we understand the world and how we take action.
We believe that experimentation can lead to new and better results for your organisation. To do this, we adopt a design-oriented disposition, we’re curious, empathic and aren’t afraid to think differently.
Blended Value is the delivery of both a social or environmental return AND a financial return. It’s a win-win that does not compromise on either side of the social or financial equation. We’re uncompromising in the pursuit of this, and to return to the roots of business – creating value for humanity.
Don’t fall in love with your idea
For us innovation and design thinking are not about making decisions, they are about creating options and possibilities. We befriend ambiguity, exploring crude ideas and interrogating possibilities to uncover better solutions.
Apprentice with the problem
We deeply respect context and getting our hands dirty! Having a passion for a particular issue is excellent, but in order to solve it you must first deeply understand the problem, the system and your place in it. It all begins by creating space to listen.
See how this works in practice
What Drives Our Behaviour
We’re pioneers who can think big, while keeping our eyes open and assessing the data to inform our decisions. We step into the unknown places with the wisdom of experience and the practitioner’s commitment to work out the practical steps to make something come to life.
Our deep convictions make us tenacious and we work hard to make things happen – despite the obstacles we may face.
We believe you do your best work when you bring your whole self to the job.
Open to failure
Perfection is the enemy of innovation. We’re curious, problem solvers – who are willing to give things a go when others are afraid to act. We learn through doing. We’re not blindly optimistic, we look for the traps, we adjust, we recalibrate and we keep moving forward.
We know from experience that we can’t change systems on our own, and that we can’t build anything lasting alone. Humility means we can recognise that we face complexities bigger than us and allows us to be open to learning new methods, trying new ideas and being shown more impactful approaches.
Bessi Graham CEO & Co-Founder
Bessi is tenacious and optimistic, a truth explorer who combines logical analysis with the courage to follow her intuition. Creating something from nothing and driving concept to delivery is her speciality. Identifying a person or organisation’s brilliance and helping draw it out brings her the greatest sense of satisfaction.
Bessi is the co-founder of Benefit Capital and The Difference Incubator (TDi).
As an investor, entrepreneur, business owner, company director, speaker and writer, Bessi’s passion for using business as an agent for change is internationally recognised.
For the past 20 years she has focused on unlocking capital to deliver positive social and environmental outcomes in Australia and the Pacific.
Recognised by the Australian Government with a ministerial appointment to the Committee for the Accelerating Commercialisation and Incubator Support Initiatives (Department of Industry, Innovation and Science); and advisory roles to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the Emerging Markets Impact Investment Fund (EMIIF) and Pacific RISE. Bessi was also the architect of the first investment readiness fund for the impact investment space in Australia – now run by Impact Investment Australia (IIA) as the Growth Grant.
Bessi has a background in management consulting and training, was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Melbourne, is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Bessi was a finalist in the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.
Where others shy away from difficult decisions, hard conversations and stepping into the unknown; Bessi is in her element when the stakes are high and her back is against the wall. When there’s a dragon to slay you want her on your team!
Paul Steele Executive Chair & Co-Founder
Paul brings strategic thinking and entrepreneurial wisdom to designing systems in ways that unlock capital in all its forms. Drawing on his unparalleled breadth of experience and networks Paul can conceptualise possibilities others can’t see. Paul is excited by problems that need solving and seizes opportunities to do so.
Paul is the co-founder of Benefit Capital and The Difference Incubator (TDi) and CEO at donkey wheel Foundation.
Paul is an internationally recognised authority on social innovation and change, entrepreneurship and impact investing.
Paul was the driving force behind the renovation work of the heritage listed donkey wheel house in Melbourne and the creation of the community of social innovation leaders that have emerged and worked out of the space. This work led to the creation of Ethical Property Australia (EPA) and Good Places Properties in Atlanta, USA.
Paul is known for catalysing new ideas where there is a gap in the market and kicking open doors to help see businesses grow. He has founded and operated businesses in technology, strategic management consultancy, agriculture, manufacturing and biotech. Paul has worked on IPOs with global companies and the listing of five of these on the ASX.
Through his work at Benefit Capital, Paul has helped SMEs access over $120m AUD in capital.
Paul is a director/chairman of boards of ASX-listed companies, private businesses and not-for-profits. He was previously the Deputy CEO, COO and Company Secretary at World Vision Australia, and Strategic Projects Consultant for World Vision International where he applied social innovation to the aid and development sector.
Paul was awarded the Australian-Davos Connection Leadership Award and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He was on the advisory committee for the Field Guide to Impact Investing and a member of the Australian Advisory Board to the Global Social Finance Taskforce. Paul was also the founding Corporate Authorised Representative for the Genesis Impact Fund.
As a seasoned parallel entrepreneur there’s not much Paul hasn’t done! Paul thrives during change and uncertainty, bringing clarity and pathways to solutions for any problem.
We are driven by one big idea. Blended Value. For too long capital has flowed along two parallel but separate channels – one with a focus on doing good and the other focused on making money.
We believe bringing these two channels back together is the challenge of our times. To harness all capital – financial, human, environmental, spiritual and cultural capital – to flow together towards a better future.
While corporate social responsibility is a good start, it is often silo-ed as a pet project, a nice to have. We’re about helping you to seek and build more powerful ways of driving change – creating social and environmental impact, while creating a sustainable, profitable business that you can be proud of.
This is an old idea: ancient societies thrived on commerce, where trade routes and marketplaces spread innovation, social connection and wealth across the inhabited world. The purpose of capital is not the acquisition of it, but what it makes possible and the value creation it enables.
As a society we lose our way when we doggedly prioritise one capital over another, making decisions disconnected from the world we live in. Whether it is behaviour driven by greed or scarcity, a zero-sum game leads to unintended consequences that harm the sustainability of all forms of capital.
We believe this has to change. And we believe that more and more people can see this and want to be part of this change. Whether they are employees, customers, investors or members of the wider community, we are part of a growing movement that wants to fulfil our material needs AND contribute to positive impact in the world, to live with purpose and integrity while contributing to the creation of multiple forms of value.
At Benefit Capital we are known for our pioneering work in social innovation and impact investment. We come from different walks of life, have lived in different parts of the world, have owned, run and worked in a wide variety of businesses and organisations. We are full of paradoxical characteristics and the complexities of “both and”. We’re big hearted, bold and decisive. We’re dreamers and doers, we’re optimistic but risk aware. We want our work to be a meaningful expression of who we are and what we care about. But it’s not always easy.
We understand the dance between the ‘boundary pushing’ of entrepreneurial boldness and the need for firm governance, strong accountability and effective systems of measurement required to increase the chance of delivering blended value outcomes.
Over the years, we’ve committed our lives to working in a way that satisfies our deep longing to create something meaningful that leaves the world in a better place. We work with people brave enough to lead transformational change and inspire new systems that value all forms of capital.