Research report

Finding Australia's social enterprise sector 2015 - interim report

2 Jun 2015

Finding Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector (FASES) 2015 is a research initiative conducted by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne in partnership with Social Traders.

As part of the first stage, a series of 13 workshops were conducted across six states during September 2014-April 2015, to discuss the challenges, opportunities and needs of Australian social enterprises. Professor Jo Barraket, Director, CSI Swinburne and project leader, said the themes from the workshops reflected the diversity and innovation of the field, with a growing array of social causes being responded to and business models being created.

The big five issues and opportunities for people running social enterprises in Australia are:

Social Procurement
There are vast untapped marketplace opportunities for social enterprise to deliver goods and services and social impact. The concept is gaining traction but the challenges to procurement-as-usual and SE capacity are significant.

Governance and staff
Social enterprise struggle to find the staff and boards that can straddle the social and economic goals of the business. This carries over to adapting staff profiles and governance arrangements as social enterprises move through the lifecycle.Have your say in Australia’s only national research into social enterprise by registering and completing an online survey. All registrations will receive the intermediate report and the full report of this important research upon release. This survey provides valuable information critical in educating and informing policy and creating a stronger identity for the social enterprise community in Australia.

Partnering and SE to SE purchasing
There are untapped opportunities for supply chain development and partnership between social enterprises and between social enterprises and other business types.

Social Finance
There are significant challenges associated with accessing suitable social finance, particularly at consolidation and expansion stages of development.

Coordinated Advocacy
There needs to be more and clearer messages to both governments and the public in relation to the benefits and needs of social enterprise.

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