Abbotsford Convent

Opinion Pieces

Thought provoking opinion pieces on various topics related to social enterprise written by leaders from academia, policy and practice across the sector - internally and nationally.
Please note the opinions expressed in the articles below are that of the authors and not necessarily the opinion of Social Traders

Social Impact Bonds: the potential for social enterprise

There is currently a lot of interest in an innovative social investment mechanism – the Social Impact Bond (SIB). A SIB brings together two issues which are of increasing relevance to social enterprises, especially those that are involved in or are seeking to be involved in delivering public services and the intermediate labour market.

Les Hems, Director of Research, Centre for Social Impact

Read full aricle here

Plan Your Work..then..Work Your Plan

Social enterprises operate under the same business principles as traditional commercial businesses. Social impact is achieved through the creation of a viable and sustainable business. Therefore, like any successful business, successful social enterprises are underpinned by the ability to understand, articulate and act upon a business opportunity...

Libby Ward-Christie, Investment and Growth, Social Traders

Read the full article here

Community benefit clause in Dandenong signals new opportunities for social enterprises 

In 2009 the Victorian Government’s land development agency, VicUrban, had the foresight to insert a community benefit clause into their bid document to develop a new eight-storey Government Services Office in central Dandenong...

This is an example of the growing number of government, corporate, and other purchasers who have realised the enormous potential they have to add social and environmental value to their purchasing processes.

Read the full article here

Grocon’s Request for Expressions of Interest - Dandenong Government Services Office

John Montague is the CEO of The TREES Group (Training, Regeneration, Education, Employment, Sustainability Services), which has traded successfully and sustainably since it started in 1994. In October 2010 John was interviewed by Mark Daniels, Learning and Development Manager at Social Traders.

Excerpts from the interview can be found by clicking here


Social Procurement: Opportunities and Challenges for Social Enterprise.

Two weeks ago the Victorian Government released the report ‘Social Procurement: A Guide for Victorian Local Government’. While the focus of the Victorian guide is very much on what local government could do to encourage and engage with social procurement, there are also lessons for social enterprises...
... these need to be addressed if they are to become suppliers to government and corporations or, for that matter, large not-for-profit organisations.

Ingrid Burkett, Social Innovations Manager, Foresters Community Finance

Read the full piece here

Corporate Australia is driving community investment because they want outcomes.

Corporate Australia is on a journey to deliver more to the community but they’re not giving anything away, they’re investing...

The key-differentiating factor for these large organisations is that they are often able to leverage or refine traditional systems to enable them to successfully support the start up and survival of younger social enterprises...

Phil Hayes-St Clair is the Executive Chairman, HSC & Company - a specialist consulting firm that designs and implements community investment strategies for corporate organisations.

Read the full piece here

Can franchising be applied to the not-for-profit sector?

Franchising as a method of doing business has proven incredibly popular in the private sector but can this method of business be extended even further into the not-for-profit sector? Franchising in the not-for-profit sector requires a fundamentally different approach to the principles of franchising adopted by the high-profile brands that appear to dominate the sector...
Jason Gehrke Director of the Franchise Advisory Centre and has been involved in franchising for nearly 20 years at franchisee, franchisor and advisor level.

The DNA of Social Business

2012 is the United Nations declared International Year of Co-operatives. It offers a unique opportunity for all co-operative-type businesses to redefine their difference. These diverse and economically sustainable businesses engage people in democratic ownership and management of commercial businesses that have social purposes at their core. This Opinion Piece outlines the challenges for co-operatives as it gears up to take the spotlight in 2012.
Trent Bartlett, Founding Chair of Social Business Australia and CEO of Capricorn Society Ltd.

In an election year what should all parties be pressed to bring to the table? 

I believe that this has had a significant impact on improving the environment for social enterprise in the UK. A few of the things I think have made a difference are:
  • A policy-driven official government definition of social enterprise.
  • Championing by the PM and other senior politicians.
  • Inclusion in public sector commissioning and procurement frameworks, opening opportunities for social enterprises in public sector markets...

Jonathan Bland, founder of Social Business International 
Full Opinion Piece

Government is recognising the potential for social enterprise in Australia

Jonathon Bland’s insights on government engagement in relation to social enterprise in the UK over the last ten years is a timely contribution towards considering the role government here in Australia can play towards building a robust and growing sector.
Response to Opinion Piece - David Brookes, Managing Director Social Traders
Click here for full piece

Are the hard yards for Fair Trade finally paying off? 

Most fair trading companies were built on great social ingenuity - they actually set standards before there was an international certification. Their unique selling point was trading fairly and they spent a designated proportion of their profits educating consumers on their ethical buying power. They demanded that shops offer Fair Trade certified choice to consumers - and now ironically, because they’ve been successful and influenced the behaviour of multi-nationals, they may actually go out of business...
Collaborative opinion piece by Nick Savaidis (Managing Director of Etiko Fair Trade) and Nina Howard (Social Enterprise Navigator - Social Traders)
Full Opinion Piece attached below

Getting the model right : Social Enterprises motivated by employment

This piece initiates a dialogue for those running or interested in running employment creating social enterprises in Australia. The piece looks at the elements, the challenges, the models and the lessons learnt on how to make them work most effectively, specifically revolving around support models and workforce composition - a characteristic that lies at the heart of employment creating social enterprises.
Mark Daniels, Learning and Development, Social Traders
 Full Opinion Piece attached below  

Are not-for-profit organisations as productive as they could be?
Certainly not, concludes the Productivity Commission in its final report.  

There are understandable but not good reasons for this lack of productivity and social innovation. The Commission has found that constraints faced by not-for-profits include difficulty in accessing funding to invest in technology and training, lack of support for evaluation and planning, prescriptive service contracting by government, and in some cases resistance to change by volunteers, members and clients.

May Lam, Policy and Strategy, Social Traders

Full Opinion Pieces attached below 

Sustainable Social Enterprise: What does this Really Mean?  

"When we ask what is meant by ‘sustainable’ ..., the most common answer is: “It means that the enterprise is no longer dependent on grant funding”. It’s interesting to me that the discussions almost inevitably centre on assumptions that social enterprises can or should be independent of grant funding and that sustainability is focused only on financial
measures. I’m not sure this is either helpful or appropriate."

Ingrid Burkett, Social Innovations Manager, Foresters Community Finance

What's In a Name?

"While both Community Enterprise and Social Enterprise share common attributes – such as a desire to create employment and an underlying commitment to environmental issues, there are also major differences – in approach, in ownership and in outcome…”

Neil Smith, Community Development Officer, East Gippsland Shire

What Have ESOPs Got to Do With Social Enterprise?

“A social enterprise – like most businesses – is little other than its human capital. The application of human skill is the main ingredient in the growth of any enterprise. What is the best way of involving human talent in your enterprise? Employee ownership is the answer.”

Alan Greig, Public Officer AEOA

The Role of Government in Social Enterprise

"The UK Labour Government sees social entrepreneurship as "the latest form in a continuing evolution, a new experiment in the journey from philanthropy to state action to a partnership between state, market and individual."

Cheryl Kernot, Director of Social Enterprise, the Centre for Social Impact 

Can we count everything that counts? Measuring the social value created by social enterprise

"While attracting investment and stimulating markets may be the driving motivations for some social enterprises to seek to measure their social impact, these popularly cited reasons are not reflective of the diversity of drivers for social enterprises measuring the social value created through their work."

Jo Barraket, Associate Professor of Social Enterprise at the Australian centre for philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, QUT 

Old Wine New Bottles

"The organisations we have set up have been called "community co-operatives", "community development trusts", "community businesses".   And in all of these communities there are the people who initiate, who take the lead, who make things happen - community leaders, community activists."

John Pearce

Attached Documents

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