A new voice for Australia's social enterprise sector
1 June 2020 at 5:38 pm
A national alliance of social enterprises will advocate for a post-COVID Australian economy that is ecologically and economically sustainable
Social enterprise networks in each state and territory have united to form a new national voice for the social enterprise sector, hoping to drive collaboration and build a common vision for the future.
The Alliance of Social Enterprise Networks Australia (ASENA) has hit the ground running, calling for the creation of a National Social Enterprise Strategy, to mimic countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada.
ASENA has also published its submission to the Prime Minister’s Social Impact Investing Taskforce, which said a 10-year plan is needed to build a thriving social enterprise community in Australia.
The founding members of the alliance are QSEC (Queensland Social Enterprise Council), SENVIC (Social Enterprise Network Victoria), SECNA (Social Enterprise Council of NSW and ACT), Impact North (NT), SASEC (South Australian Social Enterprise Council), and WASEC (WA Social Enterprise Council).
QSEC chair Emma-Kate Rose said this collaboration came during a time of unprecedented social and economic change with the COVID-19 crisis.
“The social enterprise sector has come together at this critical juncture to form new collaborations and support resilience, jobs, and impact investment into the areas most needed in our communities now,” Rose said.
Cinnamon Evans, the chair of SENVIC, said the nation’s political leaders needed to support the social enterprise sector to create a better future post-COVID.
“The Australian government has an opportunity to take a fundamentally different market-based approach to addressing our social and economic priorities by directly investing in and supporting social enterprise as a new economic reality emerges from this COVID crisis,” Evans said.
As well as calling for a National Social Enterprise Strategy, ASENA’s Social Impact Investing Taskforce submission recommends action in three priority areas:
- A unified and streamlined impact measurement framework.
- A national census of the social enterprise sector to build transparency and recognition of its economic and social impact.
- A national economic regeneration fund to support the growth and development of social enterprises, particularly around the nation’s COVID economic recovery.
“With an enabling approach from government creating the right support, social enterprises can play a significant role in addressing Australia’s most complex wicked problems,” Dr Sharon Zivkovic from SASEC said.
Alexis Seller, from the Northern Territory’s Impact North, added that ASENA would help the sector coordinate its advocacy efforts.
“[The] launch of the Alliance of Social Enterprise Networks Australia sees a high leverage point for positive action towards creating a new economy for a fair and inclusive Australia that is ecologically and economically sustainable,” Seller said.
“This alliance brings renewed focus on national collaboration to drive this action.”