Social Enterprise Award Recognises Impact on Women
27 July 2016 at 9:10 am
Australia’s annual Social Enterprise Awards will recognise an initiative that has had a positive impact on women for the first time this year.
With an estimated 20,000 social enterprises operating across Australia, the awards, run by Social Traders, are said to provide an insight into the diversity and breadth of the sector.
Social Traders managing director David Brookes said the Women’s Impact Award was created to “shine a light” on an area where social enterprise is making a significant impact.
“The purpose of the awards is really to celebrate and recognise excellence in Australian social enterprise and… we’re looking from year to year at ways to shine a light [on new areas],” Brookes told Pro Bono Australia News.
“Last year we had seven categories, we’ve kept all of those same award categories and added the Women’s Impact Award in 2016.
“What we’re looking for is a social enterprise that’s demonstrated a substantial impact that has contributed to the benefit of disadvantaged women in Australian society.
“So it’s not an award specifically for a woman working in a social enterprise or having founded or be leading a social enterprise as such, the focus is about a social enterprise that has had that positive impact on women.
“We have had a lot of interest in this area from government, from philanthropy, from investors. Social enterprise is an area that is very diverse but a lot of social enterprises are being set up to address disadvantage for marginalised people, and in many cases women are part of that society that experiences disadvantage and so this is why we’re introducing the award this year.”
The seven other award categories are Social Enterprise of the Year (Small), Social Enterprise of the Year (Large), One to Watch Award, Social Enterprise Innovation Award, Capital for Impact, Buy Social Award and Social Enterprise Champion.
An expert advisory panel has also been established to assist with this year’s awards, involving representatives from the School of Social Entrepreneurs, Social Ventures Australia, The Difference Incubator, Thankyou Group, Community Business Bureau Inc, Generosity Magazine, Queensland Council for Social Enterprise and Social Enterprise Finance Australia.
Now in its fourth year, Brookes said the awards, and the social enterprise sector as a whole, was growing in significance.
“Social enterprise is already quite a significant part of our economy and society, but I think there is growing interest across the community, there is growing interest in government, [from] investors and philanthropy… about how we try to address disadvantage in different ways,” he said.
“From Social Traders’ perspective… there’s still a lack of awareness about social enterprise and the role it plays in our communities, and so the awards are an opportunity to recognise good social enterprise practice around Australia.
“It’s an important event on the social enterprise calendar, it’s building every year… we’re keen to have the social enterprise awards as an annual, national event that draws a bit of a spotlight on social enterprise, it’s diversity and success in our Australian society.”
Award applications are open from now until 2 September. The ceremony will be held in Melbourne in November, and this year’s winners will have the opportunity to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand.