What is a Social Enterprise?

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.

There are currently more than 3,500 social enterprises trading across metropolitan and regional Victoria employing an estimated 60,000 people and contributing $5.2 billion to the Victorian economy.

In the Australian context, there is no legal structure called social enterprise but the Victorian Government defines social enterprise as organisations that:

  • are driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic
  • derive most of their income from trade, not donations or grants
  • use the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission.

Source: Finding Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector Report 2016

Victoria’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2021-25

Victoria’s second Social Enterprise Strategy builds on the strong foundations of the first strategy. The Social Enterprise Strategy 2021-2025 has identified actions under key themes, including:

  • building business skills and capability and capturing impact
  • enhancing recognition and access to innovative financing to scale impact
  • fostering a connected and innovative social enterprise ecosystem across Victoria
  • opening doors for social enterprises across government.

Social Procurement Framework

Launched in April 2018 the Victorian Government’s Social Procurement Framework sets out a whole of government approach for engaging in social procurement.

Victoria's Social Procurement Framework aims to ensure that government procurement guarantees value-for-money considerations are not solely focused on price, but include opportunities to deliver social and sustainability outcomes that benefit the Victorian community.

Social Traders Certification

Social Traders is an established intermediary and social enterprise procurement specialist, providing certification and supporting the growth and impact of certified social enterprises through connecting them with business and government buyers.

Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC)

The Victorian Social Enterprise Network (SENVIC) is a state-wide network that connects social enterprises across Victoria, provides access to learning and development opportunities, and facilitates engagement with government and intermediaries.

Social Startup Studio

The Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne Social Startup Studio supports early-stage social enterprises to achieve sustainable and impactful operations.  Support and resources are available for individuals and organisations right along the startup journey.