July 19, 2018
We spent 5 minutes with Alberto Furlan, one of the speakers at this year’s Social Enterprise Conference, to learn a little bit more about his background and insight into social enterprise and social procurement.
Who is Alberto Furlan, Senior Program Manager – The Ian Potter Foundation
Alberto moved to Australia in 2001 after completing a degree in Philosophy at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy – to undertake doctoral studies in Anthropology at the University of Sydney.
After spending over five years in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, as an academic fieldwork researcher and as a regional anthropologist working on the management and protection of sacred sites, Alberto eventually moved to The Ian Potter Foundation.
In his current role as Senior Program Manager, Alberto administers the grant making of several areas of funding and provides strategic advice to the Board around impactful partnerships with the not for profit sector. Alberto also volunteers on the Board of The Social Studio, a Melbourne-based social enterprise comprising a fashion school, clothing label and a café which operates to create meaningful and long term social change for young people of migrant and refugee background facing barriers to employment and education.
ST: Alberto, what are the greatest challenges facing the growth of social procurement in Australia?
AF: The discrepancy between volume of buyers’ procurement and ‘products’ available from social enterprises. There are signs that the number of social enterprises starting up are increasing, however there is a big gap between starting up and providing quality services to large business and government buyers.
ST: What are the greatest opportunities for social procurement in Australia?
AF: The size of the market. According to Social Traders there is an estimated $600 billion in procurement in Australia. If a small percentage of this was directed toward social enterprise as part of ‘business as usual’; the positive social impact in this country could be incredible.
ST: What inspires you the most about social procurement?
AF: Opportunities to open up new markets for social enterprises. As awareness of social enterprise increases and translates into demand from business and government buyers, there becomes a tangible opportunity for social enterprise to become mainstream and highly sustainable.
ST: Why are you participating in the Social Enterprise Conference 2018?
AF: The Ian Potter Foundation has a keen interest in social enterprises and social procurement and provided the necessary financial support to Social Traders in 2015 to exploring how best to bring buyers and social enterprises together.