This is a supporting document for the Sponsorship of MHV project

Sponsorship: Draft Prospectus


Make, Hack, Void (MHV) is Canberra's “makerspace”: an established workshop and community for people who are bringing DIY culture into the 21st century. For the past three years, we have mixed traditional trade and hobbyist skills and interests with large doses of leading-edge technology to create new things and explore the frontiers of what individuals and groups can produce. Think automated gadgets, new materials, embedded electronics and 3D printing combined with traditional woodwork, metalwork and craft. That's MHV in a nutshell - we provide the space, the tools and the community to allow people to learn, innovate and pursue their creative ideas.

MHV has a growing media and community awareness profile in Canberra and beyond. We are happy to identify ourselves as part of the global “maker movement” that has already achieved a reputation as an important source of creativity, ideas and business start-up ideas. Most major Australian cities now support at least one makerspace.

MHV has more than 60 paying members and a satellite community of several hundred participants in our workshops, open days and on-line activities.

We are now ready to gear-up a level and expand our reach and scope with new premises, more active community engagement and an expanded program. We are developing a three year strategic plan to take MHV from a “club with a workshop” to an institution with deep connections to the Canberra business and technology communities and a far greater reach into the lives of local people with an interest in the application of technology to their daily lives.

We need help to make that happen – in the form of partners and sponsors.

Frankly, we've reached a crunch point where our infrastructure costs (rent, equipment, consumables etc.) mean that our membership fees have to increase if we are to expand and diversify further (a membership with unlimited visits costs $30 per month). This is already limiting a large number of potential “makers” from using MHV to its full potential. We will only thrive if young people, and those without the extra cash, can engage fully with our community. We also need to operate our workshop 24/7 to provide a space for people who are already time-poor because of work or study. We need to make our space less of an industrial workshop to attract a more diverse user base. And we need to continue to invest in tools and machines to offer the broadest, safest and most exciting opportunities to tomorrow's (and today's) engineers, designers and business leaders to pursue their dreams.

We also want to breakdown some of the barriers that now exist to the participation of women, students, retirees and disadvantaged groups by making our space and community better known, more inclusive and more engaged with the world at large.

Interested? Then read on, contact us, visit our website, Google “Make, Hack, Void”, come and visit - or have us visit you for a presentation or a chat. We are ready to roll.


"The "maker" movement could change how science is taught and boost innovation. 
It may even herald a new industrial revolution. "

The Economist Technology Quarterly: Q4 2011 

The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a 
technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by 
the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, 
robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional 
activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. 
The subculture stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and 
encourages invention and prototyping. There is a strong focus on using 
and learning practical skills and applying them creatively. Source: Wikipedia

The maker movement is less that ten years old but is already making an impact.
The most cited example is MakerBot Industries which emerged from the 
New York hackerspace "NYC-Resistor".  MakerBot has lead the personal 3D printing 
revolution with its range of easy to assemble and operate desktop 3D printers 
and now holds a significant share of that emerging market

The "Hack" in MakeHackVoid

MHV is not about hacking in the sense of infiltrating protected places 
and stealing information, but hacking in the original sense of taking 
things apart, understanding them, and putting them back together in a new, better way.

We have had some notable achievements in our 3 year history.

  • In 2012 a team of MakeHackVoid members won first place in the UAV (Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle) Outback Challenge, a search and rescue event using “drone” aeroplanes to locate and save a “lost bushwalker”. The UAV Group has a strong association with Canberra's Dickson College and travels to UAV events around Australia.
  • In 2014 a team from MHV won the National Best Public Servant Team section of the annual GovHack competition - creating a web application that used open government data to showcase Canberra's public art works.
  • We have worked with community groups, such as the ANU Food Co-op when some of our members assisted in creating its Pedal Powered Cinema. The Pedal Powered Cinema system was featured at Corinbank in 2012 and the Falls Festival and YouAreHere in 2013.
  • One of our member's made a series of props for the feature film “Theatre of the Dead” made by the Canberra Feature Film Coalition. (Theatre props and stage design are areas of growing interest in MHV.)
  • We have presented our work and advocated for hackers and makers at local and interstate conferences, including BarcampCbr, the Australian Computer Society’s 2012 conference in Canberra and This is not Art 2011 in Newcastle.
  • In 2013, we hosted an Ada Initiative “Allies Workshop” which focused on what individual people can do to make their workplace or community a better, more positive place for women.

Why MHV needs sponsorship

  * MHV has been self-funded so far, with subsidised rent from the ACT Government.
  * We want new partners to help us:
    * make our new space more accessible and user-friendly;
    * expand our scope and reach into the community; while
    * keeping membership costs low
Our New Home

We are incredibly pleased to have recently moved into the former water police station on Lake Ginninderra in Belconnen.  We have established two workshops and a community meeting space in the building and equipped with the basic tools for our current membership.

This site is much more visible than our previous converted garage space in Downer and the location has already inspired some of members to build autonomous, camera equipped aircraft to produce fly-over movies of the site and its lakeside setting (see,,,,)

We are also attracting a lot of passing attention (who can resist a squadron of miniature quad-copters?).

We also plan to build some spectacular "light painting" of the building and undertake lake-side activities that will attract even more attention.

The site, the building itself and our capacity to use it to capture public and media attention will help us give our sponsors a unique opportunity for promotion.

Sponsorship provides one avenue for MHV to continue and expand its role in the Canberra community, but what does MHV offer its sponsors?

For businesses and organisations in the technology and services sectors, MHV is a great fit. It represents the human and community side of the knowledge industries and, importantly, engages directly with a diverse and smart demographic that includes future leaders and technologists. Being part of that community as a sponsor positions your organisation as a progressive, socially-engaged and responsible part of the community and promotes brand recognition amongst an important group of future decision-makers – and maybe even future employees.

MHV's engagement with technology is active – we just don't use off-the-shelf tools to make everyday items – we innovate and design, we seek to understand, extend and re-purpose and we encourage others to do the same.

We are passionate about what we do. We are not lobbyists and don't see all new technologies through rose coloured glasses, but we do believe that the contribution of science and technology to society is overwhelmingly positive and we promote community understanding of the far-reaching implications of innovation. We do speak out on issues such as science and engineering education and the engagement of young people where we believe we can help further that understanding.

We use the media, and they increasingly use us, to talk about current issues. We offer a different perspective than those of the academic and business communities or official government spokespeople and can often give a more grounded and easily digestible commentary on matters as diverse as drone aircraft, 3D printing, laser technology, wearable electronics and “bio-hacking”. One of our aims is to become the “Go-To Geeks” for local media questions about the personal application or implications of emerging or controversial technologies.

If those sentiments strike a chord with your organisation's mission and philosophy, MHV wants you as a partner.

As important as financial sponsorship is to us right now, we also want a good “fit” with our partners. We'd like to think that in supporting MHV, our partners will take a broader view and maybe even consider:

  • promoting MHV to their clients and helping us to get our (joint) message to a wider group;
  • letting their employees know about MHV – maybe to the extent of “doing a Google” and letting employees spend a bit of time at MHV or on a MHV project or as trainers at a community workshop (we could bundle employee memberships with a sponsorship agreement if that suits)
  • incorporating MHV into “transition to retirement” or “staff retention” plans within your organisation.
  • mentioning MHV in corporate promotion material.

Talk to us about what you want from MHV. Our sponsorship packages are “serving suggestions” and a bit of innovation would, of course, always be welcome.

(one page, landscape)

  • details in the appendix
  • display 4 levels as blocks of colour with the key points of each level
Partner Major Sponsor Sponsor Supporter
Full signage, branding and media package Major HQ signage, branding at all events HQ and multiple event/equipment signage Indoor HQ and single event signage
$20,000 per year on a three year agreement $10,000 per year on a three year agreement $5,000 renewable annual agreement $2,000 renewable annual agreement

Leader paragraph to stress:

  • requested for 3 years for major/minor sponsorship
  • exclusivity
  • event sponsorship
  • in-kind and other forms of support are welcome too

Key contacts:


(possibly as a comparison table?)

  • MHV media wall (backdrop for video interviews) at the space will have Partner and Major sponsor logos (in proportion to level of sponsorship)
  • media wall will also be used for intro to any videos produced by MHV (eg. Youtube, website videos of training sessions, demos, promos)
  • Partners will be mentioned by name in any media and on MHV publications.
  • Sponsors will be mentioned by name in connection with any event specifically agreed between MHV and the sponsor – eg. A booth at a maker faire, community event, conference. (Limited by number according to sponsorship level)
  • MHV presenters (eg at workshops and conferences) will wear clothing (T-shirts, lab coats) featuring MHV, Partner and major sponsor logos and will mention partners and sponsors by name.
  • Sponsor logos will appear on equipment/facilities funded by their contribution (eg a CNC machine, 3D printer, tools etc) – branding to be agreed case-by-case by sponsor.
  • Entry to the MHV workshop (external if permitted) will have Partner and Major sponsor logos.
  • Internal common space (meeting room) will have all partner and sponsor logos plus details of their contribution.
  • MHV Web site will feature Partner and sponsor banners.
  • MHV mailing list will have partner and sponsor footers on official mailouts.
  • MHV will advise partners and sponsors of any unscheduled opportunities for promotion/exposure (eg. Celebrity visits to space)

What is MHV all about (details)

What is a makerspace

Why a makerspace

<first contact>


You may have heard of MakeHackVoid (MHV), described by Us Folk magazine as “one of Canberra’s best new creative organisations”. We are a not-for-profit community group operating a “makerspace” that provides ACT residents with a multi use workshop and meeting space in Belconnen. There is nothing else around like MHV.

MHV is modeled on an international community of like minded spaces that started in Germany in 1995. It supports and encourages arts, science and technology culture in the ACT by providing a physical space for Canberra residents, as well as national and international visitors to meet, interact and create.

We have reached a cross-roads in terms of what can achieve as a primarily member-funded organisation and are now looking forward to a new phase of existence that offers a wider and deeper level of engagement with the Canberra community.

That is why we are now seeking partners and sponsors to help better equip our new premises and expand the scope of what we offer.

This is not a “broadcast” sponsorship proposal. We see a lot of synergy between <company name> and what MHV is all about and would like you to be amongst the first to consider backing us for an exciting new phase in our development.

Please look over the attached prospectus and let us know what you think.

If you would like to talk, please call me on <> or email me.

Your sincerely


(within one week of initial email/letter/contact)

Hi, I'm <name> from the Make, Hack, Void group that sent you a sponsorship proposal recently.

Have you had a chance to read it?

<if yes> What do you think? We'd be very keen to have <company name> as a partner/sponsor. Would <company name> be interested in taking this further?

  • <if yes> Would you like a meeting with us? Can I ask what level of sponsorship is most attractive to you? Would you like any further information from us before we meet? {arrange meeting/follow-up}.
  • <if no> Could you tell me why? – we'd appreciate any feedback on our proposal. If it is a timing issue, would it be possible for us to resubmit our proposal at a later time? Thanks for your response – we have only been contacting one company in the <industry> industry at any one time and your response helps us to move through our priority list.
  • <if indecisive> Do you think it would it help if one of supporters contacted someone in senior management? There are a number of community leaders who are encouraging us to get sponsorship and they have offered to speak on our behalf if if it would help.

<if no> Do you have it handy? Can I send a copy? Should I send it to someone else in <company name>? Would a face-to-face meeting or presentation be better for you? We are only been contacting one company in the <industry> industry at any one time and your response either way would help us to move through our priority list or refine our proposal to better suit <company name>. Obviously <company name> is one of our top priority targets for support and we don't want to double up sponsorships from within the same sector.

counters for potential objections

Glorified "Mens' Shed"?:
  • very different focus, demographic and culture
  • women! Younger people, more techie
  • Engagement beyond the member community is fundamental
Other forms of Income

– yes, MHV has other sources of income (member fees) and we are working on other ways to support the organisation, including through workshops, training sessions and market days. We don't see, or want, sponsorship to be our only source of income – but it is essential if we are to keep our membership costs reasonable and do the outreach we want to do.

Controversial issues

“hacking” - refers to the perfectly legal process of investigating and building on existing technologies – not “breaking into computers” - we don't do, or encourage that.

DRM/copyright – we promote “open source” and “open standards” and don't promote breaking the laws surrounding copyright. We do show people how to get by without proprietary and locked technologies.

Competitors – we are still in the early stage of seeking sponsorship but will not be approaching multiple companies in the same industry simultaneously. If potential issues arise, we would check back with an existing sponsor to establish whether there was a conflict.

Other – we would expect any sponsor to be able to disassociate themselves from anything controversial that MHV might do (not that we believe anything is likely to warrant that) – if there was any doubt about a particular activity, we'd consult with sponsors before mentioning them.

Contractual Issues

Performance – MHV is happy to setup performance measures and submit to annual reviews as part of a multi-year agreement. Each year's sponsorship could be made conditional on satisfactory performance against agreed and measurable goals.

Accountability – MHV produces annual reports where all expenditure and income is accounted for. Our accounts are audited and if a sponsor needs a detailed breakdown of expenditure against their contribution, we will do that happily.

Liability – MHV carries its own insurance and sponsors would not be liable.

Practical Issues

Timing – we really need to tie up at least one partner or a few major sponsors in the next few months so that we can establish our 3 year plan on a firm financial footing.

Nerds – I admit that some of our members wouldn't be out of place in the cast of “Big Bang Theory”, but that comes with the territory. We certainly have a bunch of mature and experienced people too and they are the ones with their hands on the tiller as far as finances and sponsorship are concerned.

  • projects/sponsorship/draft_prospectus.txt
  • Last modified: 2014/08/15 15:45
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