My idea is for government to lead the development of a social enterprise policy assisting social enterprise in Australia reach its full potential.

There is an estimated 20,000 social enterprises in Australia currently employing approx. 300,000 Australians and contributing between 2-3% GDP. However, in Australia there is no government policy or leadership for the growth of social enterprise, making access to business skills and training, investment capital and new markets an ongoing challenge.
As an international comparison, through successive government leadership, the UK has approx. 80,000 social enterprises, contributing to approx. 5-6% of GDP employing over 1 million people. In the US, government has legislated all federal departments to determine if their contract needs can be met by social enterprise. This has resulted in social enterprises securing $2 billion per annum from government contracts creating jobs for 50,000 people with disability. As a viable business model, social enterprises are businesses that exist with the intention and commitment to create positive social impact while using the marketplace to trade and generate revenue. Social enterprise has the ability to strengthen Australian communities by generating employment, income and increasing access to services. Because the sector is already in existence, social enterprise could potentially employ over 500,000 Australians and generate up to 5% of GDP in a very short period of time with the right policy and leadership from the Australian Federal government in creating the necessary ecosystem for this business model to flourish.

user picture David Brookes · 3 years ago · 75 votes · 9 comments
user_image
I've been establishing and running social enterprises since the 90s, it's not a new idea, after being involved in one Australia's first demonstration social enterprise models for people with disability in electronics manufacturing, I moved to South Australia and successfully converted a small sheltered workshop of 30 people into a group of social enterprises employing over 150. I know from experience the social enterprise model works on many levels. Sadly many executives of ADEs and charities have little understand of what a social enterprise model is and find it difficult to separate this from their traditional charity fund raising and government funding focus. Consequently their focus is getting bums on seats for funding and the pursuing any low skill, low margin, low status business at any price, where sales & marketing is more aligned with their charity fund raising department than selling a real valued business services. I am quite convinced many of these organisation will close their doors in 3 to 5 years as people with disability will leave these old services in droves, looking for more socially valued enterprises and services. Sadly this will also see many people with disability who cannot access open employment, left with little in the way of meaningful work options unless social enterprises flourish.
Robert Hart · 3 years ago
user_image
Yes, Yes!
Lee Wallace · 3 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
Should be a no brainer, David. Hope you get a hearing. Best, Lindsey.
Lindsey Moffatt · 3 years ago
user_image
Great idea. It boggles my mind how they don't see the value. There is so much support for small business. Social enterprises should receive equal support and more
Tatjana Co · 3 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
I work for a social enterprise
Louise Noble · 3 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
which is great.This has definitely helped many of us who now have part-time employment, despite our disabilities. I hope that you can get the message out there regarding social enterprise, however I am not holding my breath RE: Wyatt Roy and the Policy Hack process. http://www.startupsmart.com.au/leadership/wyatt-roy-and-bluechillis-policy-hack-is-a-great-concept-poorly-executed/2015101315698.html
Louise Noble · 3 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
All the best David, really hope to see this happen!
Red Hunter · 3 years ago
user_image
Social Enterprises provide an excellent transition and training opportunity for young people with disability leaving school. The existing Australian Disability Enterprises (Sheltered Workshops) don't have as their goal the successful transition to mainstream employment that Social Enterprises have. We need more structure and support to build these.
Jenny Crosbie · 3 years ago
user_image
Many ADEs could be converted into social enterprises and a few are. But sadly most are trapped in their current model due to their governance structure and dependence on people numbers for funding and fund raising, rather than business revenue to keep them operating. This is not intentional nor deliberate mismanagement, it is a fact of history and a reflection of inadequate government funding policy. Yes many people who work in larger ADEs could transition to open employment but for the lack of available jobs in the broader market or the unwillingness of some to make the step into open employment having become accustomed to a safe sheltered environment with peers. However there are many people with high support needs who want to work but open employment will not be a practical option and this is where supported employment in a social enterprise will see significant demand after the introduction of the NDIS.
Robert Hart · 3 years ago
People who voted for this idea
Sally McMahon Adele Tams Michelle Fitzgerald Ande Roestenburg Fran Blake Lexi L'Estrange Kelly Hutchinson Jason Quin Theresa Brown Mark Hemetsberger Janice Roche Paul Fraser Red Hunter Sandy Blackburn-Wright Chris  Mason Kent Martin Lindsey Moffatt Theo Campbell Tim bayl Lisa Geoghegan Lee Wallace Louise Noble Kerrina Tamiano Steve Williams Jo Barraket