“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. ”