Victorian social enterprise strategy gets a refresh
6 October 2020 at 6:36 pm
The updated strategy will identify key priorities and focus areas for growing and supporting the sector
Victorian social enterprises are being urged to have their say in developing the state’s next social enterprise strategy, set to be released by the government in 2021.
The new strategy will draw on evidence, experience and feedback from the social enterprise sector to identify ways to grow and strengthen the $5.2 billion sector, which currently creates 60,000 jobs for Victorians – including 12,000 jobs for people with disability, 4,000 jobs for long-term unemployed people and 985 jobs for Aboriginal Australians.
A government discussion paper has also been released to kickstart discussion, identifying five broad themes and a series of questions for the social enterprise community to consider when submitting feedback.
What are the five themes?
- Skills and capability development
- Access to affordable and appropriate capital
- Growing the market for products and services
- A more cohesive and connected ecosystem
- Effective social impact and performance measurement.
A step into government
Nick Verginis, the CEO of Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC), told Pro Bono News that the Victorian social enterprise sector had come a long way since the first strategy was released in 2017, and that the refresh was an opportunity to propel the movement forward.
“We all want to see some big steps forward that will help the entire social enterprise ecosystem take a lead role with inclusive and sustainable economic recovery and enable social innovation where it’s needed most right now,” Verginis said.
He said this included increased support for SENVIC to grow its role as “the hyper connector in the social enterprise ecosystem”.
“This means connecting practitioners with each other and enabling peer learning and support, but also connecting and coordinating ecosystem enablers – the intermediaries, impact investors, philanthropy, government and the policy makers – to realise the value of collaboration as we approach the challenges of growing consumer-market demand, climate change and the social and economic after-shocks of the pandemic,” he said.
He said the pandemic-induced economic challenges meant that 2020 was a year of “survival and adaptation” for social enterprises, and that it was critical the strategy needed to support that in 2021 and beyond.
“I think it’s a really challenging time to do a bit of a reset on the strategy just because so much has changed this year…and there is still so much unknown about what the coming months and 2021 will bring,” he said.
“So in addition to market-growth strategies, building the adaptive capacity of the community is actually one of the key things that the strategy needs to support.”
The consultation period will end on 31 October, with an outcomes report to be released early next year.
The final strategy is set to be released in mid-2021.