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A time for social enterprise

4 May 2021 at 5:17 pm
Richard Warner
Queensland Social Enterprise Council president Richard Warner looks at what the state’s social enterprises can expect from the newly announced Queensland Social Enterprise Jobs Fund.

Richard Warner | 4 May 2021 at 5:17 pm


A time for social enterprise
4 May 2021 at 5:17 pm

Queensland Social Enterprise Council president Richard Warner looks at what the state’s social enterprises can expect from the newly announced Queensland Social Enterprise Jobs Fund.

Queensland is on the crest of a wave of positive change, and it could not be more timely. What began 25 years ago, as a community of practitioners bringing enterprise to their change work has grown to a movement, with hundreds of members – all the way from Cape York to Coolangatta.  

The Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) was developed to ensure support of the sector is appropriate to the needs of enterprises and the communities they serve, and that resources flow more directly to the problems being addressed at the grassroots. 

Importantly, advocacy efforts led by Australia’s first peak for social enterprise have caught the ear of the government, seeing a nation leading commitment of $8 million over two years to a Social Enterprise Jobs Fund. 

This is exciting for those of us who’ve been involved in the sector for some time but for those who may want to get on board – what can we expect from the historic Queensland state government announcement? 

The Queensland Social Enterprise Jobs Fund

Based on conversations with the sector we have drafted a proposal for the fund, recently announced by the Hon Dianne Farmer, minister for small business, employment and training. 

We believe the vision and strategy described in this document will allow us to scale to deliver much needed impact. 

There are three pillars to the strategy: 

  • Sector development – capacity building to develop, improve upon and better understand social enterprise initiatives and their impacts as well as to build connectivity between social enterprises to enable peer mentoring, the exchange of trade and resources, and innovation.
  • Social procurement – grow the profile of social enterprise to strengthen demand for goods and services, opening up market opportunities for organisations with proven job creation records and related social-impact.
  • Social finance – develop innovative loan and finance options for a sector whose taking on of costs not borne by other businesses (eg support to disadvantaged workers) necessitates specialised finance.

The vision is grounded within a set of principles, or agreed way of working together to build an economy of nurturance that does not leave anyone behind. This is a working document which will evolve in consultation with the government and the sector.

What you can do?

If you are a social enterprise or interested in starting one, join QSEC or participate in another of our regional networks (there is one in your region) to add your voice to hundreds of enterprise members. This is the time for us to work together to show what we know our sector can achieve for people and places in desperate need of change.

If you work in government or business and have influence over purchasing – consider the power of your spend and incorporate social impact within your tender processes. 

As an individual, your dollar makes a difference. Visit the Queensland Social Enterprise Marketplace to find out about the enterprises in your area and how you can make a positive action with every transaction.       

A vision to get behind

We have a vision for an economy where no one is left behind, where each decision we make in business, and each dollar we spend, helps people, builds communities and protects the planet. 

We are an inclusive movement and would love you to join us.

Richard Warner  |  @ProBonoNews

Richard Warner is president of the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) and coordinator of QSEC member Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative (NCEC), winner of Best Large Social Enterprise 2020 at the Australian Social Enterprise Awards.

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