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Australian social enterprises over 20 years: A timeline

17 June 2020 at 8:44 pm
Maggie Coggan
The Australian social enterprise sector has come a long way in the last 20 years. We take a look back through the Pro Bono News archives to re-examine some of the major moments that have defined the sector.

Maggie Coggan | 17 June 2020 at 8:44 pm


Australian social enterprises over 20 years: A timeline
17 June 2020 at 8:44 pm

The Australian social enterprise sector has come a long way in the last 20 years. We take a look back through the Pro Bono News archives to re-examine some of the major moments that have defined the sector.

From 2000 to now: The key event's of Australia's social enterprise sector


Australia’s first national social entrepreneurs alliance launches.

Made up of social, community and business leaders, the alliance forms to create, develop and fund new programs to assist disadvantaged Australians.


Social Ventures Australia launches its $250,000 “Big Boost Initiative”.

The recently launched Social Ventures Australia offers up a quarter of a million dollars to social entrepreneurs with solutions to entrenched social problems.


The Foundation for Young Australians’ launches a social enterprise guide for young Australians.

The organisation hopes young people will lead the way in the new business model.


The social enterprise world forum opens in Melbourne.

The forum is told by sector leaders and advocates that a “mission driven cause doesn’t have to be at odds with profit motivation.”


The first research mapping the social enterprise sector is published.

The joint Social Traders and the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies research finds the Australian social enterprise sector is mature, sustainable and internally diverse.


The Gillard government announces two initiatives to provide support for social enterprise.

The first initiative provides funding assistance to create and grow social enterprises, while the second connects employment social enterprises with advice and expertise from key professional service firms.


Victoria takes the lead on social procurement.

A social procurement guide for local government is published to promote the concept.


Queensland launches Australia’s first council for social enterprises.

As the appetite for social enterprise development in the state grows, the Queensland Social Enterprise Council opens its doors to support the sector’s growth.


A new $100 million impact investment fund set to benefit social enterprises.

The fund is believed to be one of the country’s biggest.


Social enterprise census finds a surge in the number of young social enterprises.

The findings, released by Social Traders and the Swinburne University’s Centre for Social Impact, map Australia’s social enterprise sector for the second time.


Victorian social enterprises receive $6.5 million boost from state government.

The funding drop is part of a vision to make the state the number one destination for startups and entrepreneurs in Australia.


The School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia shuts up shop.

After seven years of supporting early-stage social enterprise development, the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia (SSE) announces it is ending operations.


The Victorian government releases Australia’s first-ever strategy for social enterprises.

It’s hoped the strategy will strengthen the sector and create more employment opportunities for disadvantaged Victorians.


The Queensland government releases its social enterprise strategy.

The half a million dollar initiative is part of a wide-ranging strategy aimed at creating more jobs for disadvantaged Queenslanders.


The sector fears it will fall through the gap amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As coronavirus wreaks economic and social havoc throughout the social sector, social enterprise networks launch a new impact measurement initiative capturing the impacts of the virus on the sector to present to government.


A national alliance looks to the future and beyond.

The sector unites, forging a plan to build the economy back better post-coronavirus.

For a deeper look at these key changes, you can check out our article examining how far the social enterprise sector has come since 2000 here.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

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

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