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Social Enterprise Tools

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In this section, we provide a range of useful tools to assist both start-up and established social enterprises.   Here you can access various guides, worksheets, tool kits and other publications developed here in Australia and around the world. 

Please let us know of other useful social enterprise tools and resources currently available or under development.

Resource tools in this section are available free of charge, unless otherwise advised.

Table of Contents


Healthcheck for Community Enterprise Organisations
The Development Trusts Association Community Enterprise Healthcheck is a diagnostic tool to help a new or developing community enterprise in assessing its strengths and areas for improvement against key criteria. The Development Trusts Association Healthcheck comprises a booklet which is available for free download below.

Invest Victoria 
Invest Victoria has developed interactive maps to help business start-ups find out about industry strengths in different regions of Victoria. The maps include information about educational centres and logistics such as air, rail and road routes. This new initiative is of great assistance for the feasibility phase of social enterprise planning:  

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Start-Up Introduction to Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise Builder (The Builder) 
Specifically written for the Australian context, the Social Enterprise Builder is an business planning resource that guides you through each step of starting up a social enterprise. The Builder is also written for any individual or organisation wishing to understand more about social enterprise and how to start one. 

Toronto Enterprise Fund’s Doing Well While Doing Good: How to Launch a Successful Social Purpose Enterprise
This primer provides not-for-profit organisations interested in launching a business venture with lessons learned and practical tips to assess organisational readiness and to prepare for a successful launch.

Canadian Centre for Community Renewal’s Introduction to Social Enterprise Resource Package
This provides a useful overview of a broader definition of social enterprise. It provides helpful checklists for organisations as they plan for and begin operations of their enterprise.

PILCH Legal Information for Community Organisations
A guide to navigating legal issues relavent to Victorian not-for-profit community organisations.  

Financing Social Enterprise

Inviting Investment in Social Enterprise: A Prospectus Framework for the Social Sector
Developed by the R.E.Ross Trust, this Prospectus Framework has been developed to assist enterprises in the nonprofit sector to reach an expanded range of potential investors in their important work. The Framework has been designed as a step by step guide to communicate to experienced business investors the social needs the enterprises are meeting, the work they are doing to meet those needs, their uniqueness, their capacity, their systems and their results.
R.E.Ross SE Prospectus Framework

Canadian Guide to Financing for Social Enterprise
Locating and obtaining funds for social enterprise can be complicated. This guide is an attempt to demystify the financing options open to both new, and practicing, social enterprise practitioners.

Unlocking the Potential - A Guide to Finance for Social Enterprises
This guide, from the Social Enterprise Coalition, focuses on the different forms of non-grant finance available for social enterprises. It explains which are the most suitable for your organisation and how they can be used most effectively; it leads you through the application process and suggests where to go for further information.  £10 full price, £6 for Coalition members (plus postage).

Social Investment Made Simple
A guide to understanding the various types of social investment

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Business Planning

Social Enterprise Builder (The Builder)
Developed and published in 2010 by Social Traders, the Social Enterprise Builder is an online business planning resource that guides you through each step of starting up a social enterprise. Specifically written for the Australian context, the Builder is for any individual or organisation wishing to understand more about social enterprise and how to start one. 

Community Enterprise Workbook
Developed and published in 2007 by the Brotherhod of St Laurence (Australia). This comprehensive workbook provides step-by-step directions on how to engage community and undertake a business planning process to develp a community enterprise.

Click here to download the introduction, or
Click here to download the full PDF version of this book

Below is list of DVD case studies that were produced with the book:

Social Enterprise toolkit - Business Link London
In 2010, Business Link in London developed over 50 free, practical guides detailing the essential steps in setting up and running a social enterprise in the UK. These comprehensive guides are a great source of information about a variety of topics ranging from finance and funding to legal structures.  

Feasibility Study and Business Plan Worksheet
By Enterprising Nonprofits (Canada). This worksheet outlines the components that a social enterprise feasibility study and business plan should contain.

The worksheet was created as a companion to the "Planning for Social Enterprise" podcast located at
The Social Enterprise Guide
Enterprising Nonprofits (Canada) has published The Social Enterprise Guide designed to help nonprofits start-up business ventures. To purchase, visit
Forth Sector’s A Business Planning Guide to Developing a Social Enterprise
This handy guide assists nonprofit organisations and entrepreneurs aiming to start a small business with a social purpose. It is a great resource for getting started in thinking through the steps necessary to launch a social enterprise.

A Toolkit for Developing a Social Purpose Business Plan
Designed for nonprofits interested in launching business ventures, A Toolkit for Developing a Social Purpose Business Plan grows out of Seedco's recognition that many nonprofits lack targeted resources to help them through the planning process. Based on their experience and expertise, they designed this step-by-step business planning guide especially for nonprofit organisations.

Social Enterprise in Australia:  An Introductory Handboook
Social Enterprise in Australia: An Introductory Handbook is a "how to" handbook published by Adelaide City Mission in 2002.  The key author of this was Peter Tregilgas.  The handbooks onbusiness planning for social enterprises are available in two parts - Introductory Handbook Part One and Two and the Handbook Part Three.

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Measuring Social Impact

Demonstrating Value
This website offers a range of resources to assist social enterprises to identify what to measure and how. These include specific tools to maximise what you learn from financial accounting, as well as tools that relate to assessing how you are progressing in meeting your mission-related goals, and understanding whether you are building the capacities needed to sustain the enterprise in the long term.

Making the Case: Social Added Value Guide
Communities Scotland published this resource guide providing information to help enterprises select the right tool to measure and communicate the social impact of their work. 

Recent Approaches to measuring social impact in the Third sector: An overview
A Centre for Social Impact (CSI) background paper written by Gianni Zappala and Mark Lyons - provides a brief outline of the key features and characteristics of three approaches that are gaining traction in Australian discussion and practice around social impact measurement.
Recent Approaches to measuring social impact in the Third sector

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Social Procurement

Social Enterprise Purchasing Toolkit
Produced by enterprising non-profits, this online toolkit helps businesses, organizations and governments encorporate social enterprise purchasing into their procurment practices to assist them in meeting their CSR objectives.



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