what we do

Evidence and influence

Evidence is what differentiates social enterprise as a sexy concept from social enterprise as a robust vehicle for building stronger communities.

Social Traders is committed to building the evidence base for social enterprises. We do this by:

  • Capturing lessons from our work with social enterprises that inform our practice.
  • Engaging in collaborative research initiatives to better understand issues that impact on social enterprises.
  • Creating resources for those looking to operate, support or buy from social enterprises.

We package and share the evidence we develop with key stakeholders in order to influence practice and policy in Australia. 

What does evidence and influence look like in practice?

Below are two examples of the way that Social Traders has used evidence to influence:

  1. The Finding Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector (FASES) 2010 research was undertaken in partnership with Queensland University of Technology (QUT). An influential piece of research, FASES helped to define social enterprise in Australia as well as assisting policy makers, academics and other stakeholders to better understand social enterprise in Australia and consequently inform the development of the sector in Australia. The report has been viewed more than 25,000 (13,000) times from Social Traders' website. FASES also developed Australia’s first comprehensive list of social enterprises, which formed the basis of our Social Enterprise Finder. The Social Enterprise Finder receives an average of 20,000 visits per year and has resulted in thousands of connections being made between buyers and social enterprise suppliers. Download summary report or full report
  2. Our involvement as a partner in the research undertaken by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) into Social Procurement in Australia (2010) led to the development of Social Procurement Guidelines For Local Government in Victoria (2010) which in-turn resulted in the development of the Social Procurement Toolkit (2011). Since the completion of the initial research, we are aware of a dramatic increase in social procurement in local government in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. New South Wales developed their own social procurement guidelines in 2012.

Click on social procurement if you would like to know more about what is occurring in this field.

Past research activity and areas of policy interest include:

  • Research that enhances understanding of the social enterprise sector
  • Research that enhances support for social enterprises
  • Research on work-focused social enterprises
  • Research on social procurement