February 2, 2016
To mark the start of the new year, the Social Traders’ team share their aspirations for 2016 and their vision for the future growth and development of social enterprise in Australia.
Everything we do here at Social Traders is focussed on helping social enterprise in Australia reach its full potential by generating jobs and strengthening Australian communities.
There are approx. 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, employing an estimated 300,000 people comprising 2-3% of GDP. Our vision for the future is that by 2025 social enterprise will contribute significantly more to the Australian economy and comprise 5% of GDP and employ over 500,000 Australians.
With this in mind – in 2016 we intend to both expand and better integrate our business skills and capacity building support for social enterprise. We will continue to take the lead in advocating for a stronger social enterprise policy framework by government and raise the visibility and voice of the social enterprise sector through our industry activities and events. In 2016 we will also continue to drive social procurement by opening up new government and corporate markets for social enterprises.
This year we will also release national research on social enterprise being undertaken with CSI Swinburne. This will provide a second snapshot on social enterprise in Australia which will allow us to chart the growth and development of the sector since the last national report in 2010.
There is a growing interest in social enterprise from all parts of the community; from government, the philanthropic and social investment sectors, the community service sector and also the private sector. I think with this continued increase in interest, we will start to see more investment coming into social enterprise for entrepreneurs and community organisations looking to set up social enterprises.
In 2016, I hope to see our Portfolio grow by at least two new social enterprises and also welcome some new funding partners keen to join us in bridging the finance gap for early stage social enterprises.
We are also keen to grow our client base and share our social enterprise expertise more broadly through our fee-for-service consulting arm, Social Traders’ Advisory.
I think it will also be an interesting year for the sector, tightening economic conditions will open up more opportunity for social enterprise to demonstrate its ability to provide employment and deliver services to communities where the regular market economy can’t.
I am very pleased that in 2016 more enterprises will be able to access our ‘Crunch’ accelerator as we streamline the program through the use of new technology.
Whilst we maintain our focus on start-ups, we are increasing our work with growth enterprises, and I am particularly excited by our ability to integrate Crunch with Social Traders’ Connect program to better match the supply of developing social enterprises with demand from customers.
As always, we will continue to sharpen our focus on investment outcomes for our enterprises through close collaboration with philanthropy, government and impact investors.
With over sixty enterprises in our Crunch alumni, and a pool of over a hundred business mentors and experts, we have a fantastic resource for developing enterprises. In 2016, I plan to focus on how we most effectively harness this resource to provide even greater value for Crunch enterprises.
The movement for social enterprise procurement is really starting to gather momentum. It has taken time but it now seems that there is a more developed organisational consciousness of the benefits of buying from social enterprise.
Awareness and take-up of social procurement has taken off in the last 12 months. Currently two state governments are keen to develop more formalised positions in support of social enterprise procurement and a lot of commercial organisations are showing both a desire and interest to purchase socially.
With the launch of Social Traders’ Connect in November 2015, we’re confident that corporate and government buyers will increasingly see the opportunity of using procurement to achieve significant social impact.
With 8 buyer members and 100 certified social enterprises we see the potential for social procurement to be a big disruptor in the social enterprise economy in 2016.