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Our response to Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy launched 12th September 2019

Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy will enhance sector growth

Social Traders welcomes the launch of the Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy announced recently by the Hon Shannon Fentiman MP, Minister for Employment & Small Business and Minister for Training & skills Development.

In less than last two years in Australia, we have two new social enterprise strategies, with Victoria having launched its state-wide social enterprise strategy in 2017.

Governments play a key role in catalysing business, not least of all social enterprises.  These strategies recognise the valuable contribution social enterprises make in local, regional and state economies, particularly in providing opportunities for inclusion of those facing marginalisation in our communities.

The Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy will build off the back of a strong and vibrant grassroots practitioner network that has been building across Queensland.  It represents a significant step and positive commitment by the Queensland Government to accelerate the growth and development of social enterprise in the Sunshine State.

Funding of $1 million was announced with $450,000 allocated to a Social Enterprise Grants program, and $240,000 for the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC).  Social Traders acknowledges the industry leadership role being played by QSEC and the opportunity this funding will provide for the Council to further enable its sector development role.

One of the most effective ways to support social enterprise, like any other business, is to buy from them.  Social Traders is pleased that improving market access, by linking social enterprises to procurement opportunities, is one of three key focus areas in the Queensland Government’s Strategy.

Procurement is recognised as a critical aspect to supporting the growth of the sector. The Queensland Government itself is committed to help increase government procurement spend with genuine, quality social enterprises.

Social Traders has been a leading advocate of social procurement with the public and private sectors since 2010.  Over the last three years, Social Traders organisational focus has shifted solely to facilitating a social enterprise procurement marketplace in Australia, which enables sustainable impact and employment opportunities for those facing disadvantage.

Certifying genuine social enterprises and providing targeted facilitation of opportunities with government and business buyers are two important mechanisms in this emerging marketplace. Social Traders has developed extensive expertise in these functions through close involvement in the implementation of the Victorian Social Enterprise Strategy and Victorian Social Procurement Framework.

ST Certified enterprises in Queensland, like yourtown and Substation 33, have been successful in winning state government and local council social procurement contracts. Tony Sharp from Substation 33 and yourtown were winners at this year’s Social Traders Awards in August – all clear signs of the capability that exists in Queensland that we expect the Strategy will build on.

Social Traders looks forward to continuing its close and cooperative relationships with the Queensland Government, QSEC and others to support implementation of the new Strategy, specifically in relation to improving market access to social procurement opportunities for Queensland social enterprises.

Read Minister Shannon Fentiman’s media release here.