A new initiative called the Social Enterprise Strategy has been launched this week – Australia’s first-ever strategy for social enterprises, designed to strengthen the sector and create more employment opportunities.

Victoria is now home to Australia’s largest collection of social enterprises, with more than 5,000 operating state-wide, employing more than 75,000 Victorians. Social enterprises (social enterprise is defined as ‘an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders’) address the biggest social and economic challenges in our community by offering products, skills and training, and creating new jobs for Victorians.

The new Social Enterprise Strategy identifies key areas for action including increasing the impact and innovation of social enterprise, building business capacity and skills, and improving market access.

There is $5 million of funding earmarked to implement eight key initiatives, including:

  • establishing a new Social Enterprise Network across Victoria to better connect the sector
  • building an online market to connect buyers with social enterprises
  • training opportunities and support for more than 100 social enterprises to expand their business

A new social procurement framework will also be developed to allow government contracts to purchase goods and services from social enterprises.

The Government has consulted with more than 160 social enterprises and stakeholders to ensure the strategy reflects the needs of the sector.

You can access the Social Enterprise Strategy here.