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Social Procurement Poised To Drive Social Enterprise Growth In Australia

June 6, 2016

Last updated on March 29, 2018

Purchasing from social enterprise has been identified as the biggest opportunity for social enterprise growth in Australia, according to national research released earlier today.

Linked to the rise of ethical consciousness and the desire to create greater social value through supply chains, purchasing from social enterprises was the highest priority arising from the Finding Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector 2016 research – conducted by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne University in partnership with Social Traders.

Professor Jo Barraket, Director of CSI Swinburne said, “Without question, social procurement was identified by research participants as the greatest opportunity for Australian social enterprises to grow their impacts.”

The research also revealed a lack of cohesive government policy as a major constraint to growth, with more than 80% of respondents believing that supportive state and federal government policy would encourage new growth opportunities for social enterprise.

Other priority areas included the need for more accessible forms of appropriate finance, with 39% of respondents indicating they had been unable to access the necessary finance to help them achieve their goals.  Access to learning and development opportunities was also cited as a concern for practicing social enterprises, as was developing more accurate and comparable impact measurement tools to satisfy the expectations of a diversity of stakeholders.

Based on data from 370 social enterprise practitioners, social enterprise intermediaries and policy makers, Finding Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector 2016 will be officially launched at the Social Traders Masters Conference today in Melbourne.  It is the only national social enterprise conference in Australia.

Managing Director, Social Traders, David Brookes said, “Social enterprise in Australia is on the rise and already contributes between 2 and 3% of GDP and employs over 300,000 Australians. We are well on the way to seeing social enterprise as part of the mainstream, recognised for its contribution to providing innovative solutions for employment and access to services for disadvantaged Australians.”

The Social Traders Masters Conference 2016 will also feature international speaker Carla Javits, CEO of REDF, a social enterprise development organisation in the USA with an impressive ten year track record of building capability and securing investment for employment generating social enterprises across the US.

To view more read Social Traders report analysis here.

For further details contact: Mark Hemetsberger, Head of Marketing, or 0438 947 523

About Social Traders
Social Traders is Australia’s leading social enterprise development organisation.  Social Traders believes in the power of the marketplace to create social impact and change and that social enterprise is a viable and innovative business model to achieve this. 
Based in Melbourne since 2008, Social Traders has worked to break the cycle of disadvantage and build resilience in Australian communities through social enterprise.
Consistent with other international social enterprise definitions, Social Traders defines social enterprise as:
Businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.
Social enterprises are:
  • Led by an economic, social, cultural or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit
  • Trade to fulfil their mission
  • Reinvest the majority of their profit/surplus in the fulfilment of their mission
Social Traders works to:
  1. Grow the visibility, voice and value of social enterprise through advocacy, community recognition and research
  2. Build the pipeline of innovative and viable social enterprises through business skills and networking with hands-on development programs
  3. Invest appropriate capital and support in social enterprise and grow the investor community
  4. Open new markets by connecting government, corporate and consumer buyers with certified social enterprises
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