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The best countries for social entrepreneurs revealed

6 November 2019 at 8:11 am
Maggie Coggan
Experts believe Australia is the world’s most improved nation for social entrepreneurs

Maggie Coggan | 6 November 2019 at 8:11 am


The best countries for social entrepreneurs revealed
6 November 2019 at 8:11 am

Experts believe Australia is the world’s most improved nation for social entrepreneurs

Australia is the second best country in the world to be a social entrepreneur, a new report finds.

Thomson Reuters Foundation’s second global survey on the best countries for social entrepreneurs polled 900 experts to establish the trends, opportunities and challenges in the for-purpose business sector.

The poll ranked Canada as the top ranked country for social entrepreneurs, with Australia and France rounding out the top three.

Australia was the most improved country compared to the original 2016 survey, jumping up 24 places to rank second.

This improved ranking was put down to strong government policies to support social entrepreneurs and a friendly environment for businesses doing good.

The nation also showed strong improvement in making the public aware of what social entrepreneurs do, jumping up 36 places in this metric to fifth place.

Sally McCutchan, the CEO of Impact Investing Australia, suggested that technology-savvy millennials were driving the charge for social entrepreneurship.  

“Technology is a big part of social enterprise development in Australia and this tends to be championed by millennials,” McCutchan said.

Anne Lennon, the co-founder of Social Change Central, told Pro Bono News the Australian social enterprise sector was growing at an extraordinary pace.

“We are seeing a more enabling policy environment developing. Governments are investing in social enterprise strategies and supporting social procurement,” Lennon said.

“We are also seeing a sharp growth in interest from funding bodies that also see the huge potential of the social enterprise movement and want to get behind it. It’s a very exciting time to be a social entrepreneur in Australia.” 

While Australia thrived, the US plummeted from top spot in 2016 to 31st place this year (out of 45 countries).

The US also ranked last when it came to women playing a leading role as social entrepreneurs.

Experts cited drops in government support, access to investment and selling to business as key reasons for the US’s poor ranking.

Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said the survey revealed some surprising changes in how the sector was viewed in different countries.

“Perception of social enterprise is crucial. It affects everything from access to finance, to the quality of employees,” Zappulla said.

“We hope that greater understanding of social enterprise will provide the sector with vital information to generate future growth.”

The poll also revealed that while 67 per cent of experts believed women were well represented in leadership roles, only 44 per cent thought female leaders were paid the same as men.

The countries that ranked highest for gender equality in this space were Canada, Australia, Belgium, Sweden and Malaysia.

More info about the poll can be found here.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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