‘Posting’ Rural Social Enterprises
26 February 2014 at 11:26 am
A first-of-a-kind platform connecting Australian social enterprises with socially-conscious consumers is set to generate new market opportunities for enterprises in rural and regional areas.
An online marketplace for social enterprise products will be created by Not for Profit Social Traders as part of a three year partnership with Australia Post.
Mindy Leow, Project Manager, Market and Sector Development at Social Traders, said a significant benefit of the new marketplace would be the breaking down of geographical boundaries.
“For us it’s about raising awareness. A traditional bricks and mortar store is a limitation for social enterprise.”
“]The platform] is about exposing social enterprise to a larger audience…it will provide social enterprises access to a national consumer base – especially important for social enterprises in rural or regional areas,” she said.
Managing Director of Social Traders, David Brookes said strengthening the capabilities of communities around Australia was a shared priority for Australia Post and Social Traders.
“This National Community Partnership will allow us to give remote communities access to new marketplaces, promote inclusivity via the online network and boost employment opportunities through increased sales and business sustainability,” he said.
Leow said the platform, to be officially launched later in 2014.
The development of the Social Enterprise Marketplace fits with Social Traders’ strategic priorities of opening up market opportunities for social enterprises and encouraging social procurement.
“This marketplace is meant to be consumer-facing,” Leow said. “Social enterprises selling products are only a segment of social enterprise.”
“It is part of social procurement, but it is [only] an entry point.”
“I do expect and hope to see organisations coming to the marketplace to purchase corporate gifts, research and find out about social enterprises.”
Leow said consumer goods were a quick and easy way of raising people’s awareness of the sector more broadly and that the online platform would allow consumers to engage with and understand the impact that buying from social enterprise can create.
‘We see it as a starting point for conversation.”
Leow said winning the dollars of the ethical consumer would be the greatest challenge.
“I think we’re only at the beginning, we’re barely scratching the surface.”
“It is one of our main challenges – to sell the message of why people should buy for good. We know there is a buying and doing gap. It [a challenge] we will continue to work on.”
The partnership with Australia Post also includes a capability building component that will enable Social Traders to work with social enterprises to build their product development, marketing and online sales capability.
Social Traders was announced as one of mail giant’s seven National Community Partners last week.