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K&L Gates Assists Biripi Capital With Investment In Aboriginal Business

02 December 2021

Sydney – K&L Gates is advising, on a pro bono basis, Aboriginal private equity firm Biripi Capital, and its founders, David Liddiard OAM and Michael Manikas, on the establishment and creation of a for-purpose company The Dreaming Food Group and charitable vehicle The Dreaming Foundation, including the securing of an AU$20 million impact investment. 

Biripi Capital has been established to focus on opportunities in the Aboriginal business sector with a specific mandate to create or invest in companies that have a "for purpose" capability, that is, to create funding opportunities independent of government to Close the Gap. Biripi Capital’s first investment was to fund the start-up of The Dreaming Food Group, which will operate as a food distribution and manufacturing business.

In parallel, K&L Gates assisted Biripi Capital to establish The Dreaming Foundation as the charitable vehicle to fund Closing the Gap initiatives. The funding will be provided initially from a percentage of profits derived from The Dreaming Food Group. As a public benevolent institution, a registered charity and a deductible gift recipient, the Foundation has a formalised structure to provide private funding to Closing the Gap projects and will be able to receive donations from the public which can be deducted by the donors for tax purposes. 

Biripi Capital Chairman, Michael Manikas, stated: “Working closely with K&L Gates on the establishment of our operating model, first investment company, and creation of our charitable Foundation has been nothing short of amazing. K&L Gates has been supportive of our vision from day one, and key practice groups across the firm mobilised to support our ambitious establishment goals and timeframes." 

The K&L Gates team was led by tax partner Betsy-Ann Howe with senior associate Julia Khomenko and lawyer Jennifer Cui

Howe said: “We have been delighted to work with David and Michael to support their vision of a for-purpose Aboriginal business to deliver significant outcomes for the Closing the Gap initiatives. K&L Gates is strongly committed to its pro bono program and our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan. The partnership between K&L Gates and Biripi Capital to deliver the structure for the Dreaming Foundation and The Dreaming Food Group is a perfect fit with these important programs and utilises the strong tax and corporate skills that K&L Gates is able to provide."

In addition to the establishment of Biripi Capital and structuring of its associated entities, K&L Gates acted as lead advisor on an AU$20 million impact investment into The Dreaming Food Group, with the support of corporate partner Clive Cachia and his team.

Cachia stated: “To play a role in a significant impact investment into an Aboriginal, for-purpose business is not lost on our team. The Aboriginal business has huge opportunity in Australia, and we believe that through this transaction, The Dreaming Food Group will go on to achieve its objectives, and provide sustainable funding via The Dreaming Foundation to Closing the Gap initiatives." 

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

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