Social Enterprise News

News from QSEC and the Social Enterprise Sector.

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  • 23 September 2021 10:13 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Applications for the Social Enterprise Growth Grants are now open. 

    The Social Enterprise Growth Grants program will provide grants to eligible established Queensland social enterprises for capability and capacity building that supports the business to scale up or adapt.

    The social enterprise must have potential within the next 2 years to grow the business including its social impact and increase employees.

    Available funding

    In 2021–22, $800,000 will be made available for the Social Enterprise Growth Grants.

    Your social enterprise may be eligible for financial assistance of between $5,000 and $25,000 (excluding GST).

    Eligibility criteria

    Your business must be a Queensland social enterprise that can demonstrate it meets the program definition of a social enterprise (including the commercial trading and reinvesting benchmarks outlined in the funding guidelines), and has operated and traded in Queensland for at least 12 months.

    Your social enterprise must have a mission or purpose aligned to Queensland Government priorities including, but not limited to:

    • supporting jobs
    • investing in skills
    • growing regions
    • protecting the environment
    • safeguarding health.

    Eligible activities

    Grants will provide funding for activities, services or expenditure that build the skills, capability and capacity of the social enterprise. Funding requested must have a direct link to increasing business sustainability and/or employment.

    Funding is available for the purchase of:

    • production equipment
    • digital equipment and systems
    • consumables, resources or materials (specific to an identified growth opportunity)
    • skills development and coaching programs
    • business and strategic planning advice
    • website development and upgrades
    • marketing strategies.
    Apply now – view and access the online application form here.

    Applications close 7 October! 

  • 14 September 2021 12:49 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    A Brisbane social enterprise and not-for-profit is tapping into the talent inside prisons to reskill inmates in graphic design and 3D animation, preparing them for employment opportunities on the outside.

    Key points:

    • The not-for-profit organisation facilitates training inside a local prison in graphic design and 3D animation
    • The program is aimed at improving employment opportunities for inmates when they are released
    • It is an Australian first and it is hoped it will be rolled out in more facilities

    Graphic designers Kelly Willmott and Amanda Shepherd teamed up and launched Green Fox Studio in 2018, which operates a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates training inside a local prison in graphic design and 3D animation. 

    "This company began with Amanda and myself, coming up with this grand plan to change the way we worked and to give people a second chance," Ms Willmott said.

    Ms Shepherd said she wanted the way she lived and worked to set an example to her children.

    "After 20 years of being a graphic designer, I had this kind of burning desire … to give back to the community and also to be able to show my children that you could actually do something you love that contributed back to society," Ms Shepherd said.

    Ms Willmott and Ms Shepherd were not sure what to expect when they passed through the prison gates at the high security facility near Ipswich but what they discovered inside surprised them.

  • 09 September 2021 4:35 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
    The Honourable Di Farmer

    Established Queensland social enterprises can now start preparing applications for grants of up to $25,000, thanks to the Palaszczuk Government’s Social Enterprise Jobs Fund.

    Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said enterprises could use the grants to purchase new equipment, increase their productivity, and help create more jobs.

    “The Palaszczuk Government is committed to supporting our diverse social enterprise sector to grow in size and scale, which is why they’re part of our $14.2 billion COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Minister Farmer said.

    “Social enterprises deliver a diverse range of products and services, along with a community benefit that is substantially funded through their commercial operations.

    “The Social Enterprise Growth Grants seek to grow businesses that trade intentionally to tackle social problems, improve communities, provide employment or help the environment.

    “The grants will help scale up, extend or adapt current operations in Queensland, through new equipment, training or business coaching programs, strategic planning support, marketing support or website upgrades.

    “Applications will open on 23 September and stay open until 5pm on October 7, but the eligibility criteria and guidelines are available now so social enterprises can start preparing.

    “I have seen firsthand the differences social enterprises can make. Places like Substation 33 in Kingston, which recycles and upcycles a range of equipment for new purposes while providing employment and training opportunities for local people, or Australian Spatial Analytics, which employs people who are on the autism spectrum to develop geographic information systems.

    “These grants will help social enterprises grow, so they can continue to play a vital role in our communities and in our small business sector.”

    The Palaszczuk Government has been working closely with the Queensland Social Enterprise Council to ensure the support delivers the best outcomes for the sector and the wider economy.

    Queensland Social Enterprise Council CEO Elise Parups said the Social Enterprise Growth Grants would be valuable to social enterprises looking to bounce back and scale their operations in response to COVID-19.

    “We know that social enterprises provide social, cultural, economic and environmental returns well above a “business as usual” model. Queensland’s social enterprises deliver services and products to customers, create new jobs and return on average a 1:3 dollar return to the community they serve,” Ms Parups said.

    This is the second social enterprise grant as part of the $8 million Social Enterprise Jobs Fund, after the Community Social Enterprise Development Grants closed on 15 July. Applications for those grants, aimed at non-profit social enterprises, are being assessed now and will be announced soon.

    Guidelines available at:

    For more information on available support for social enterprises visit:

    Media Release


    Media contact: Kate Talbot, 0439 803 211

  • 08 September 2021 1:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Let's put social enterprises on the agenda!

    The Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games will create a 20-year pipeline of opportunities for Queensland businesses to:

    • take part in exciting projects
    • create valuable new partnerships and supply chains
    • develop their business capability.

    Register for the Buy Queensland supplier newsletter to receive updates about how your business can be involved in the Games.

    More details 

  • 07 September 2021 10:06 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    The Unconference findings are here, and we reckon you'll find them interesting.

    Reading reports probably isn't up there on the list of Most Exciting Activities Of All Time. Admittedly, this was the first report I've read cover to cover that didn't have a graded assessment attached (I'm a Millenial, is it obvious?). Despite this, it was deeply challenging and insightful and has already informed many SEWF2022 discussions. 

    Access the report here

    If you find it valuable in your own work, you can download some social tiles referencing the key recommendations here. These are great assets to utilise on LinkedIn as conversation starters. If you're working on impact measurement, offering masterclasses, working within the social procurement space, intentionally decolonising social enterprise, or have strong opinions about any of the above, check it out!

    If you have any feedback on the report, please don't hesitate to reply to this email (you'll be directed to Dom's email). 

    Yours in and out of lockdown, (again),

    The SEWF 2022 Australian Committee

    Four Recommendations from the Australian Social Enterprise Unconference

    1. Decolonise social enterprise
    There is no shortage of exhortations to learn from First Nations perspectives, but what, as a sector, are we giving back? What does it look like to have a social enterprise sector that truly foregrounds social justice for First Nations people? What does this mean for the ways we organise our events, our peak bodies, and our enterprises?

    2. Impact measurement and data – who, what, why?
    Are individual social enterprises hoping to reduce the administrative and financial burden of measuring impact by using a common approach? Are intermediaries and other sector-builders hoping to use data to make the case for social enterprise support and investment? The lead-up to SEWF2022 is an opportunity to engage the sector in a conversation about these kinds of questions, with a view to convening targeted discussions and (perhaps) working groups around the topic at the conference.

    3. Plan for systems innovation content and conversations
    The need for masterclass-level content is clear! Subjects like complexity, systems innovation, adopting place-based impact models, and navigating the technicalities and market-shaping of impact investment were mentioned at the Unconference.

    4. Social procurement... and beyond?
    We need to determine what a small-medium enterprise-focused approach to social
    procurement could look like. Social procurement remains skewed towards the interests of larger enterprises.

    Access the full report here.

    What's next?

    The SEWF 2021 Handover Ceremony will be taking place on the 30th of September. This year's host, Common Good Solutions (Halifax, Nova Scotia), will be handing over the baton in a cross-continental live stream during the SEWF 2021 digital conference.  For those of you who have bought online tickets, make sure you come along!

    For those who can't make it, Enterprising Stories will replay key moments from the handover ceremony in an online 'Community Pub' on Thursday afternoon (30th). You can register here! Make sure to bring a glass with you.

    Here's Mikey in his Community Pub element to sign off another Road to SEWF 2022 newsletter.


  • 02 September 2021 10:00 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Peter Maddock from the Qld Small Business Commission addressed QSEC members at a recent event to take a look at the new QSBC handbook to help navigate avenues for support to help small businesses. 

    Link to Zoom meeting

    QSBC Slide Deck

    QSBC Handbook: Small Business Help and Support     

    Small Business Disaster Hub 


  • 31 August 2021 1:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This free booklet is for entrepreneurs from Multicultural Backgrounds and those assisting them. It was written in conjunction with Nundah Co-ooperative, the Yunus Social Business Centre of Griffith University, and migrant entrepreneurs like the Mountain Mowing Men and with support from Brisbane City Council.

    You can down load the booklet from the Nundah publications page

    Please share 

  • 31 August 2021 12:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ATT: Social enterprises interested in raising cash and telling your impact story!

    The Funding Network Australia are accepting applications to pitch at TFN Virtual Live on Thursday 18 November. The live crowdfunding event will spotlight the impact of finalist social enterprises supporting Australians in need.

    Three finalists will receive professional coaching and the opportunity to pitch at a virtual live crowdfunding event to raise an estimated $20,000 each.

    Applications close Monday 13 September

  • 31 August 2021 12:40 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Calling grassroots social enterprises delivering innovative social change programs! Are you ready to share your story and raise vital funds?

    We are now accepting applications to pitch at TFN Virtual Live on Thursday 18 November, a special virtual live crowdfunding event that will spotlight the life-changing work of grassroots social enterprises that are supporting Australians in need. A big thank you to our event supporter the English Family Foundation for generously providing matched funding to ensure every donation received will go even further!

    Three finalists will receive professional coaching and the chance to connect with an audience of 100+ guests at an exciting virtual live crowdfunding event to raise an estimated $20,000 each.

    Apply online by Monday 13 September.

    If you have any questions about the suitability of your program, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  • 27 August 2021 12:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The federal government has expanded its SME Recovery Loan Scheme, removing requirements for businesses to have received JobKeeper this year or to have been affected by flooding.

    The relaxation of eligibility requirements is in response to the ongoing effects of COVID‑19, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.

    Under the new guidelines, the loan scheme will continue to provide access to loans of up to $5 million over a 10-year period to SMEs with a turnover of less than $250 million that are experiencing financial hardship due to the effects of the coronavirus. T

    he federal government will guarantee 80% of the loan amount, which participating lenders can offer as unsecured or secured loans.

    Sefa is the only participating approved lender in the federal SME Schemes with a social purpose.

    The loan scheme also allows lenders to offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to two years.

    Businesses can use the loans to cover a range of business expenses, such as to support investment and refinance pre-existing debt, including debt from the SME Guarantee Scheme.


    Case Study

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