Landmark Partnership Looks to Grow Social Enterprise Sector in Queensland
9 January 2019 at 4:50 pm
Queensland social enterprises are being encouraged to take advantage of a landmark partnership, helping social enterprises connect with government and business buyers.
Leading social enterprise development organisation Social Traders signed a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) with the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) last month, to support the growth of emerging and existing social enterprises across the state.
The agreement will see Social Traders work with QSEC to develop social procurement deals between government/business buyers and Queensland-based social enterprises.
Social Traders Managing Director David Brookes said the MOU was an important step for social enterprises to capitalise on the significant potential for social procurement in Queensland.
He said he had seen first-hand the significant difference private and public-sector buyers could make to reducing long-term unemployment challenges by incorporating social enterprise products and services into their operations.
“It’s a promising time for social enterprise in Queensland and Social Traders is excited to be supporting the further development of the ecosystem with QSEC,” Brookes said.
“We have no doubt that social procurement represents the biggest opportunity for the growth of Australian social enterprises, and thus job creation for disadvantaged communities.”
Chair of member-led peak body QSEC, Emma-Kate Rose, said this collaboration strengthened the work performed by QSEC across local and state government departments advocating for social enterprises in Queensland.
“In addition to government social procurement policies, this collaboration offers a great opportunity for the sector to develop solid relationships with the Queensland business sector who are also looking at delivering a social return on their procurement dollar,” Rose said.
Richard Warner is the coordinator of Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative (NCEC), a social enterprise that creates sustainable employment and training opportunities for people with mental illness, learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities.
Warner encouraged social enterprises in Queensland to take advantage of the landmark partnership, which he said was exciting for the sector.
“Both organisations have complementary roles in growing the sector and ultimately providing more opportunities for social enterprises to do what we do and create opportunities for disadvantaged members of the community,” Warner told Pro Bono News.
“At the same time the Queensland government is really interested in further supporting the social enterprise sector under the leadership of [Minister for Employment and Small Business] Shannon Fentiman.
“So the timing is really good for social enterprises to grow and tackle some really difficult social challenges.”