Australia a ‘Perfect Storm’ for Social Enterprise
23 May 2013 at 11:25 am
Australia is facing the “the perfect storm” for a new model of business capital to emerge, according to visiting Social Enterprise UK Chief Executive, Peter Holbrook.
Holbrook is currently in Australia for a series of social enterprise breakfast talks being held by Social Traders – a national advocacy organisation for social enterprise.
Social Traders says Holbrook is one of the world’s leading figures on social enterprise.
In 2011 he moved from CEO of Sunlight Development Trust, one of the premier social enterprises in England to lead one of the most influential social enterprise peak bodies in the world, Social Enterprise UK.
Holbrook told today’s Sydney breakfast that it is easy to incorporate social enterprise into everyday lives, revealing he was wearing a belt which was made from old fire hoses from the London Fire Brigade that would have once ended up in landfill.
Holbrook said there was a number of reasons why the time was right for social enterprise to take off, including the reform of public services and charities experiencing a decline in philanthropy.
He said a number of young entrepreneurs were also emerging having grown up in a period of uncertainty.
“Every crisis creates opportunity,” he said. “The world is ready for social enterprise. The time has never been so right.
“People are aware we have some big, big things on the horizon.”
Holbrook said one of the challenges in social enterprise was overcoming the myth that doing the right thing will mean a reduction in profit.
“Spreading the word about the social enterprise model, particularly through social media, was also crucial,” he said.
“I think this is the future of business and needs to be the future of business,” he said.
Holbrook said he envisages a time when the term, social enterprise will become redundant.
“Governments also need to play a part in the sector,” he said. “Governments need to buy socially on behalf of the taxpayer. Governments invest money in helping these businesses to grow.”
During his visit to Australia, Holbrook will also work with the shortlisted Social Enterprise Awards candidates, sharing his tips for emerging businesses in the sector.The breakfast workshops will be looking at the evolution of social enterprise in the UK over the past decade and what has worked, what hasn’t and how the Australian sector can learn from it all.
He will talk about accounting for the good that enterprises do, looking at common pains to growth, the importance of keeping it real and not becoming a “superhero”.
The breakfast sessions will continue in Brisbane on May 24 and in Melbourne on May 30.
The Social Enterprise Awards will be held in Melbourne on Tuesday, May, 28.