Business for Good: The Size & Economic Contribution of Social Enterprise in Australia

Business for Good

A couple of weeks ago, Social Enterprise Australia released the Business for Good: The Size & Economic Contribution of Social Enterprise in Australia report, which is full of valuable insights.

There can be some confusion on what a social enterprise is. Simply, a social enterprise is a business, for good. They trade like any other business, but exist specifically to make the world a better place. They provide:

  • Environmental care
  • People-centred services
  • Community-led innovation
  • Access to decent work, particularly for people shut out of the labour market

Some headline numbers from the report…

  • Australia has over 12,000 social enterprises
  • Social enterprises contribute $21.3 billion to the Australian economy and account for 1% of GDP
  • Over 206,000 people are employed in Australian social enterprises. That’s 1 in 60 jobs or 1.6% of the workforce. It’s about the same number of jobs as arts and recreation services or the mining industry

While these numbers are impressive, they only show part of the critical contribution we make to Australia – these are traditional business and economic metrics. In addition to these, social enterprises are focused on directly creating even more value for people, communities, and our planet… and working toward positive systemic change.

This report helps make the value of the people and organisations that make up the social enterprise sector visible. They should be recognised, celebrated, and learnt from. Together we can transform how business is done, and collectively work toward an economic system that’s inclusive, equitable, and regenerative for all.

How? We can personally choose to spend our money with social enterprises. As people working in organisations (of all types), we can include social enterprises in our supply chains.

If you’re in NSW or the ACT, check out Social Enterprise Council of NSW & ACT (SECNA), the member-led peak body for social enterprise. Join us and be part of the social enterprise community. I’m also happy to help you connect with other local social enterprise communities outside NSW and the ACT.

Finally, a huge thanks to Jess Moore (and the team) for your awesome leadership to have a shared national strategy and voice.