Umbo social impact investment to improve access to health services

Ed Johnson. Co-Founder of Umbo

Umbo, a social enterprise to reduce inequalities in access to health care by connecting families in rural communities with speech and occupational therapists, received a $200,000 investment from social enterprise investor Fortis River Pty Ltd, with Pilgrim Advisors advising the process.

This investment represents a significant win for rural and regional families, who often wait up to 18 months to access services such as speech and occupational therapy.

The investment will enable Umbo to scale its ability to onboard more clients and clinicians, therefore increasing its reach in rural Australia and cutting wait times down for more families.

It will also support Umbo to develop regionally based partnerships with other service providers working to assist families in need of support.

Investment into social impact

The investment comes after Umbo released their Social Impact Framework including impact measures like time saved from waitlists, travel time to therapy appointments and cost savings.

Overall Umbo has seen travel cost savings of $225,000, which enable families to double the amount of therapy they can receive from NDIS funding.

Umbo has, on average, saved 14 hours of travel time per family. This decrease in travel time has saved the carbon equivalent of 60 return flights from Sydney to Melbourne.

“This is a big win for families all over Australia struggling to access timely, person-centred support from speech pathologists and occupational therapists,” said Umbo’s Ed Johnson.

“It breaks my heart when families spend 2 years on a waiting list, or they’ve been doing 6-hour round trips weekly to see a clinician, or an outreach clinic came through their remote towns to screen and diagnose their child, then left without any options for therapy.”

“We have the evidence that online therapy works, and now we’ve got the means to help as many families as possible,” Fortis River director Nigel Strong added.

“We are delighted to complete this investment and I thank the Umbo founders and employees and Pilgrim Advisors for such a constructive and positive process.”

“Umbo is providing an important service and we are excited to support them in this phase.”

Investment into social enterprise

The $200,000 investment comes off the back of a successful Scaling Impact program in 2020, run by Social Impact Hub, which has helped Umbo improve its investment readiness and facilitated the introduction between Umbo and their investor.

“We’re pleased to have played a key role in supporting Umbo along their investment readiness journey and to have introduced them to Fortis River.”

“This is exactly the type of outcome we are aiming for with the Scaling Impact accelerator program,” said Jessica Roth, Founder and Director at Social Impact Hub.

Its funded through Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme and the Sidney Myer Fund, together with support from Ernst & Young and the English Family Foundation.

The Scaling Impact accelerator focuses on the needs of social start-ups in their development at the inflexion point between building on a proven track record and impact investment.