Creativity in securing funds – Saltwater Club

As the COVID-19 pandemic sent the globe into uncharted waters, Saltwater Club saw new tourism opportunities in their corner of the world. To rise to the challenge, they needed funding beyond what the banks were offering. Thinking outside the box, White Box Finance helped them to secure what they required.

Saltwater Club is establishing iconic Indigenous maritime cultural heritage adventures and Experiences in Tropical North Queensland, Cape York and the Torres Strait. They are the only majority Indigenous-led organisation that owns and operates culturally significant vessels that connect Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Australian South Sea Islander people to the sea. Saltwater Club offers visitors exclusive, tailored experiences for small groups on culturally significant vessels, with local Indigenous crew and tour guides, visiting regional and remote communities of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

With a fleet of heritage tall ships and schooners, Saltwater Club provides employment and training for First Nations youth in ship restoration, maintenance and hospitality. Saltwater Club expects to create 75+ jobs for First Nations youth over the next 10 years.

Saltwater Club was seeking funding to establish a permanent hospitality outlet at the Cooktown waterfront and to respond to new tourism opportunities arising from the pandemic.

White Box Finance worked alongside Saltwater Club to design and arrange a loan from private impact investors of $200,000 at 3.5% interest per annum, secured by one of the heritage tall ships. The White Box Finance team raised the capital from investors, as well as managing the legal documentation and investor relations. The loan covers an 8 year term, with no repayments for the first 12 months.

During the process, Saltwater Club met with several mainstream finance providers whose terms were significantly more expensive and onerous. For example, a bank would be unlikely to accept a ship as security during a loan assessment, nor provide a no repayment period. White Box Finance was able to make arrangements that suited the nature of Saltwater Club’s business, keeping it affordable and realistic, while providing an avenue for the organisation to pursue the opportunities coming their way in extraordinary times.

When you look beyond traditional equity and bank debt, there is a whole world of creative financing options available. It just takes thinking outside the box – something that White Box Finance is always ready to do.

If you are looking to raise finance and want to explore your options, please get in touch with us to see how White Box Finance can help you as you look to grow your impact and seize the opportunities coming your way as you scale.

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We are proud to work with social enterprises all over Australia. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the land we work and live on, recognising that Sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to the First People of this country, their culture and Elders past, present and emerging.