Social enterprises are businesses that put people and planet first. There are over 12,000 social enterprises in Australia contributing to 206,000 jobs and $21.3 billion to our economy.

They could be a graphic design company creating jobs for ex-offenders, or a gym providing affordable wellbeing services to the community, or a retailer selling toilet paper and donating 50% of their revenue to charity.

Social enterprises must do three things:

  • Have a defined primary social, cultural or environmental purpose consistent with a public or community benefit, and
  • Derive a substantial portion of their income from trade, and
  • Invest efforts and resources into their purpose such that public/community benefit outweighs private benefit.

They operate in all industry sectors of the economy, from facilities management to catering and hospitality, to business administration to design.

There are three social enterprise impact models:

  • Employment-generating – creates employment and training opportunities for marginalised people.
  • Community need – delivers accessible products and services to meet community needs that are not met by the market.
  • Profit redistribution – donates at least 50% of profits or revenue to charity.

Whilst purpose is at the heart of why a social enterprise operates, it can be hard to quantify or explain and there are many different legal structures. Social Traders provides the only national social enterprise certification for Australia. Our certification framework is world-leading in its depth and adaptability, and we have certified more than 600 social enterprises across the country to date.

Check if you're a social enterprise

Use our quick and easy checker to see if you meet the definition of a social enterprise. If you do, you can start your application today for Social Traders certification.

Social Traders certification

Social Traders certification

Strengthen your social enterprise position with Social Traders certification. It identifies and protects the sector against the growing risk of social washing. Developed in 2017, our certification is world-leading, based on extensive international and domestic research. It's evolving to reflect the innovation of the Australian social enterprise sector, guided by an expert Advisory Group and endorsed by the Social Enterprise World Forum. Only Social Traders offers the double badge of certification and verification.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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