Social Enterprise News

News from QSEC and the Social Enterprise Sector.

  • 23 June 2021 1:23 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)


    The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), co-hosted by White Box Enterprises, is coming to Brisbane, Australia in 2022!

    Impact Boom, supported by the English Family Foundation, has been leading the bid since 2017, with a committed belief in the strength of Australia’s collective social enterprise voice. If you’re interested in hearing what was involved, you can listen to the podcast on Impact Boom here. We know we have a lot to show for on the global stage, and we know our community could benefit from the incredible learnings from other countries. 

    What is SEWF 2022?

    SEWF is an opportunity for social enterprise leaders and practitioners from around the world to network and exchange ideas. The multi-day event of roundtables, panels and open forums will discuss issues relevant to running a social enterprise, measuring impact and navigating the ecosystem.

    SEWF has been to Hong Kong (2016), Christchurch (2017) and Edinburgh (2018). Addis Ababa jumped in the year before last (2019) and then it went digital in 2020 thanks to COVID-19. 2021 is virtually being held in Nova Scotia, Canada and in 2022, thanks to major partners Westpac Foundation, Torrens University Australia and SAP, and supporting partners Tourism Queensland, MinterEllisonand Griffith Yunus Centre, our humble Brisbane city has the great honour of hosting. It’s going to be a hybrid event, so expect both in-person and online events.

    What does SEWF 2022 mean for Aussie social enterprises?

    At SEWF 2022, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about social enterprise from a global perspective. What are other countries doing from a policy level to get social enterprise on the national agenda? What does Australia need in order to strengthen and grow? 

    The Social Enterprise World Forum is also a unique opportunity to accelerate the formation of state-based networks in Australia, encourage greater social procurement efforts, and to break down silos in the sector to ultimately work on a National Australian Social Enterprise Strategy. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and meet with members of state-based councils to share their perspective.

    How can I get involved?

    Come along to the Social Enterprise Unconference happening July 21! This is your opportunity to co-design the message that Australia presents to the global social enterprise community. 

    In the Unconference format, no central figure writes the agenda. Instead, the agenda is developed based on sessions attendees request to run. Essentially, participants choose what conversations they wish to create or participate in. It’s free, so register here right now! You’ll find all the information about the agenda submission process too.

    See you there!


  • 23 June 2021 10:07 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    The Queensland Government new Big Plans for Small Business Strategy 2021-23 outlines how $140 million worth of support for the sector will be delivered over two years and puts a strong focus on giving small business operators, jobseekers and workers the right skills to meet the workforce needs of the sector.

  • 16 June 2021 12:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Media release 16 June 2021 

    QSEC responds to the Queensland Budget: Small business, jobs and infrastructure

        CLICK HERE Have your say: Member Survey on the Qld Budget    

    There is a lot to be grateful for in Queensland. While many nations across the globe have reeled from the impacts of COVID -19, Queensland is tracking well, with a better-than-expected economic recovery and strong jobs bounce-back. The latest Queensland budget has responded by boosting funding for jobs, housing, small business, and infrastructure.

    However, according to Richard Warner, Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) President, we should not be complacent.

    QSEC represents more than 200 social enterprises and associates; trading businesses that exist to address social, environmental, and cultural inequities.

    “While the economic recovery is impressive, vulnerable communities fare much worse in times of crisis and need extra assistance to emerge from it. These positive economic conditions give us that opportunity” Mr Warner said.

    Social enterprises, particularly in regional areas, are continuing to see issues arising from a lack of housing security which can negatively impact on job seekers’ ability to take up work. Training and job solutions also need to provide liveable sources of income that meet increased costs of living. Initiatives such as the Government has proposed, improve their reach when they are targeted to the specific needs of disadvantaged job seekers and communities - and this is something social enterprise has a powerful track record in.

    “Social Enterprises work to fill the gaps where there is market failure. They are often ‘first responders’, acting with partners and beneficiaries in place-based approaches to unsolved issues. They work collaboratively with communities and local industry to address significant social and environmental problems.” Mr Warner asserted.

    “Through the opportunities presented in the 2021 -2025 Queensland State budget, and the $8 million Social Enterprise Jobs Fund, and the recent Skilling Queenslanders for Work announcement, QSEC intends to unlock the potential for social enterprises in Queensland.”

    QSEC looks forward to working with Government on the roll-out the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund (SEJF) so that it aligns with these important budget initiatives to help them achieve the greatest possible impact.

    Over the budget period QSEC will:

    •       Advocate for social procurement targets of 1% across government, so that a portion of increased infrastructure spend creates jobs where they are most needed.
    •       Work with Government to update the Social Enterprise Strategy (SES) so it aligns with budget initiatives.
    •        Work with Government on the roll out of the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund (SEJF) to build a well-resourced sector that fills a critical gap in the economy.   
    •       Invite consideration of how highly disadvantaged cohorts can be better served, within the already successful Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program and how this program can better synergise with Social Enterprise initiatives.   
    •       Listen to our members and feed these responses back to the Minister for Small Business Employment and Training.

    Queensland Budget highlights

    $3.34 billion Queensland Jobs Fund to attract investment and industry development, and over $110 billion in infrastructure works.

    $350 million Industry Partnership Program providing small and medium enterprises and research institutions in Queensland.

    $460 million Skilling Queenslanders for Work and a revitalised Back to Work program over 4 years.

    Capital programs worth $52.2 billion to help generate an estimated target of 46,500 direct jobs in 2021–22.

    A $100 million Business Investment Fund (BIF) is being managed by Queensland Investment Corporation Limited (QIC) and targets government investments in small- and medium-sized businesses. Investments are expected to be in the range of $2.5 million and $10 million. The first of which are due in mid-2021.

    Over 4 years from 2021–22, more than $50 million to boost Domestic and Family Violence victim support services across the state, activities, campaigns and front-line services.

    $1 billion Housing Investment Fund to drive new supply to support current and future housing need and $1.9 billion over 4 years to boost housing supply and increase housing and homelessness support across Queensland.

    $7.3 million over 4 years and $1.8 million annually to provide support for the former Disability Services clients who are ineligible for services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

    Cost of living concessions will provide more than $6.1 billion for a range of energy rebates, targeted discounts, subsidies, and concessions including ones dedicated to eligible seniors, pensioners, veterans, and low-income families, to lower the costs of water, transport, education and housing


    Media Contact: Elise Parups CEO 

  • 10 June 2021 10:38 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Central Queensland businesses wanting to divert waste from landfill can look forward to innovative alternatives, as CQUniversity's Office of Social Innovation partners with Rockhampton Regional Council to plan an 'Upcycle Village' for the region.

    The potential ‘Upcycle Village’ would divert waste from the landfill, and CQUniversity is supporting consultation with businesses to drive the design.

    Read full article

  • 29 May 2021 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Minister Di Farmer MP (front), Saba Abraham (Mu'ooz founder and founding member of QSEC, front right), (back left to right) QSEC members Aastha Malhotra (supporter at Mu'ooz), Emma-Kate Rose (The Next Economy), Denise O'Sullivan (Mu'ooz), CEO Elise Parups, President Richard Warner, and Robert Pekin (Food Connect, not pictured) were present at Mu'ooz in West End to celebrate the announcement of the $3 million social enterprise grants.

    The new grants are part of an $8 million pool for the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund announced in 2020, to be rolled out over the next two years.

    The social enterprise grants will be designed to support a diverse range of social enterprises the first of which opens Thursday 3 June 2021. This is in addition to the $25 million small business grants, which QSEC successfully advocated to include social enterprise business needs. 

    QSEC President Richard Warner said, "Running a social impact business can be challenging, regardless of the scale or scope of activity, and this has been particularly the case in the current environment. The fund is a significant milestone for Queensland, one which will create catalytic change for the sector and its beneficiaries, including many highly disadvantaged job seekers. We thank Minister Farmer and the Department of Employment and Small Business for their continued support for our growing sector."

    QSEC will be working with sector partners to ensure the funds maximise positive outcomes for social enterprises at all stages of growth, who are all working dynamically to create deep impact for social, environmental and cultural outcomes in local communities.



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

    Queensland’s growing social enterprise sector has been given an extra $8 million to help create jobs over the next two years.

    Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the new Social Enterprise Jobs Fund will help the sector to grow, scale-up activities and create more training and employment opportunities, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged Queenslanders.

    “This is all about creating jobs and opportunities as we continue to implement Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” Ms Farmer said.

    “The fund builds on the Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy (QSES), which was released in September 2019, and aims to develop the sector’s capability and capacity, foster connections and raise awareness, and improve market access.

    "Social enterprises will share in $3 million in development and growth grants targeting new and established businesses and community and sector-wide development.

    “The Community Social Enterprise Development grants guidelines are available now (from today) and grants applications will open this Thursday (3 June 2021), with further grants to be rolled out in the coming months.

     “A further $5 million will build the strength and resilience of the sector and maximise opportunities to supply to government.

    “These new programs will build on the $1 million in support provided to social enterprises since the release of the strategy.”

    The Minister said 26 social enterprises previously shared in $450,000 of grants to access professional advice and support to establish and grow their businesses.

    “Brisbane social enterprise, the Mu’ooz Eritrean Restaurant and Catering business, which trains refugee and migrant women, received one of the first social enterprise grants,” Ms Farmer said.

    Mu’ooz Director Saba Abraham said the funding enabled the business to implement a marketing and engagement strategy, employ extra staff and significantly boost confidence in promoting its services.

    “The grant helped us create a new product, a traditional sauce that is packaged, and due to the success of this product we are looking to employ another full-time chef, “Ms Abraham said.

    WorkRestart Social Enterprises also received funding for a project that aims to create up to 200 jobs for former prison inmates.

    “The project has secured 20 positions with local businesses and placed eight former inmates in jobs in construction and light manufacturing in the last two months.

    “WorkRestart is employing additional staff to manage the project, which includes work on social housing.

    "The jobs fund will harness the momentum built through the support to date and continue to promote a vibrant, diverse and sustainable social enterprise sector in Queensland.

    “It will help the sector to continue to develop and grow through providing grants, promoting potential procurement opportunities and supporting social enterprises to train and employ more Queenslanders.

    “It will also continue to support the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) as the sector’s peak body with a renewed funding agreement until 30 June 2023 to enable the council to continue to provide a key consultative role.

    “We will work with the council and sector stakeholders to ensure that these initiatives respond to the unique opportunities and challenges for social enterprise in Queensland.

     ‘It’s fitting to make this announcement during Small Business Month given the important role that social enterprises play in Queensland’s small business landscape”.

    For more information on support available for social enterprises visit:

    DESBT Media contact: Richard O'Leary 0447155332

    QSEC Media contact: Elise Parups 0411048248

  • 20 May 2021 10:22 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    We are pleased to announce that QSEC members World's Biggest Garage Sale and Ten Little Pieces have been nominated in the Community, Education and Resarch category for The Circle Awards AUS & NZ 2021

    The Circle Awards are all about demonstrating that choosing more conscious alternatives doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality, cost or experience.

    Voting is now open!



  • 13 May 2021 3:15 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Thanks for the invitation Di Farmer MP and great to be at the launch of  Small Business Month!

    Many of our QSEC members use a hybrid of small business know-how and community sector ❤️ to deliver impact for the most disadvantaged. Strengthening local economies in the process. A win-win! #QSBW2021

    To find out more or get involved with Small Business Month initiatives go to Small Business Month 

  • 13 May 2021 3:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It was lovely to meet new friends and familiar faces at the FLOW /// Sunshine Coast Purpose-Led Drinks & Networking with Tom Allen and Alex Hooke on Wednesday 12 May 2021. 

    There are nine organisations participating in the Flow Forward program. 

    Check out the latest on the Impact Boom website 

  • 13 May 2021 2:42 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Media Release 13 May 2021

    Tuesday night’s Federal Budget addressed some of the concerns about the continuation of economic stimulus packages for business, as Australia strives to recover from the impacts of COVID 19. However very little was mentioned to further social housing initiatives, environmental commitments or measures to address some of the more problematic gender, cultural, all-ability and older-age employment disparities in the current “Build Back Better” environment. 

    QSEC President Richard Warner said, "There are some wide and broad announcements for women's economic, health and wellbeing, training in STEM, addressing superannuation, child care, housing and an attempt to address workplace bullying through program support. However, the built infrastructure focus of the economic stimulus may find those who are most in need still struggling to contribute meaningfully to a sustained and thriving economic solution.”

    There were a range of tax incentives and initiatives in the government spending package which aims to accelerate the economic growth of businesses through support for job creation and training. 

    Key business takeaways included; 

    • $134.6 M (over four years) to help reduce the regulatory burden on business and their interaction with government. QSEC will help identify initiatives which may impact our members. 

    • Extended Job Trainer Fund ($506.3 M over two years) which may assist members who are looking to utilise the training and skills short course pathways for their beneficiaries, or to locate skilled employees.

    • Extended JobMaker Plan for temporary carry-back for tax losses (2022 - 23) against previously taxed profits for eligible businesses (back to 2018-19 tax year) and some allowances for depreciable assets, although there are eligibility restrictions. 

    • Digital economy strategy including training and development for AI tech.

    • Agri business incentives which may interest some of our eligible food business members and their partners. 

    Social Enterprises and regional interests included: 

    • $13.9 M (over four years) for an Early Stage Social Enterprise Foundation which will provide support and finance to an estimated 30 indigenous women entrepreneurs (per year).

    • Prime Minister and Cabinet commitment for social impact initiatives ($12.1 M over 4 years).

    • Rescue packages for tourism and aviation to increase regional traffic may benefit members who are reliant on tourism.

    • Multi-million dollar regional infrastructure commitment, when paired with social procurement incentives may result in an increase in tender opportunities for social enterprises in the relevant fields. 

    • Removal of the taxing point on cessation of employment for employee ownership share schemes. 

    • A commitment to provide funding to state government to trial social impact investments which aim to assist vulnerable youth at risk of homelessness. 

    • A range of incentives to encourage recycling behaviours and environmental protection and biodiversity.

    • $59.8 M over four years to deliver grants through state government to boost existing organic waste and processing infrastructure and  $7.2M for education programs. 

    • A raft of extended and renewed commitments to secure youth employment through Transition To Work, and Career Information schemes.

    • Streamlining New Employment Service Model with the New Enterprise Initiative Scheme (NEIS) to assist self employment through business ownership. 

    • Insurance subsidies for North Queensland.

    • Disaster mitigation projects for impact areas. 

    While this range of broad packages and incentivised programs address some of the focus areas of most concern to social enterprises, QSEC believes there is still much work to be done to ensure Australia’s most disadvantaged citizens are considered in a fair and regenerative economic environment. QSEC also anticipates that the Queensland Government’s own $8M Social Enterprise Jobs Fund (SEJF), announced in December 2020 will contribute to bridging some of these disparities for social enterprises operating in Queensland.

    ”We will continue to work alongside our national partners to further promote social enterprise as a viable and essential part of the broader economic solution. In partnership with our sector leaders and the Queensland State Government, QSEC will seek to leverage these federal budget opportunities for social enterprises through the SEJF programs, which we anticipate will be released shortly." Mr Warner continued, "There has never been a better time to go beyond business as usual to address the more persistent environmental, societal and cultural inequities”.

    Contact: Elise Parups, CEO
  • 13 May 2021 11:12 AM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    (From Department of Employment, Small Business and Training)

    It’s time to show your love for Queensland small business!
    It’s Queensland Small Business Month and across Queensland there are activities and events planned, delivering a range of opportunities for small business owners to network, connect and learn new skills that will help them succeed. Access the current list of events on the Business Queensland website.

    This year, the focus is on supporting small businesses to bounce back better than ever after a challenging 18 months as we all join together to look ahead to a brighter future. There’s a full suite of promotional materials available to help you show your support:

    During the month, we also have an important day of celebration on 15 May to show small business how much they mean to us – Love Your Small Business Day. Access ideas and a range of promotional materials to show your support for local small businesses:

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