Social Enterprise News

News from QSEC and the Social Enterprise Sector.

  • 20 July 2021 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Queensland Government has announced $8 million over the next 2 years for the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund, as part of the Future Skills Fund.

    The Jobs Fund will continue to build on the commitments under the Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy to support the development of a sustainable and thriving social enterprise sector.

    Under the Jobs Fund, $3 million in funding will be delivered over the next 2 years through business development grants for eligible organisations, starting with the Community Social Enterprise Development Grants.

    Members should please be advised that the order of each grants and the dates have changed: 

    Click: More information on these grants

  • 20 July 2021 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Help support job focused social enterprises

    As you may be aware, the Federal Government recently released a draft of its New Employment Services Model (NESM); the model that will replace jobactive. 

    Why is this important?

    • The NESM is the Government's key program and investment to address unemployment. About $1.5 billion of public money goes towards it each year.
    • The Government needs job focused social enterprises and the outcomes they create. Jobactive is well understood to have limited and/or negative outcomes for the most disadvantaged job seekers, people job focused social enterprises serve well.
    • At the same time, jobs focussed social enterprises need a sustainable funding mechanism to support disadvantaged job seekers and to sustain, scale and maximise their impact.
    • The NESM should be a key instrument to do this. Job focused social enterprises should be able to access the NESM funds if and when they deliver the employment outcomes sought by the NESM. But to make this happen, changes to the NESM are needed.
    So QSEC has supported ASENA, the alliance of all state and territory social enterprise networks in Australia, to respond to the draft NESM making recommendations for change. (See attachment)

    What can you do?

    Sometimes quantity of submissions, not just quality, counts. If you support the response and the recommendations in it, please contact Stuart Robert, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business at, and let him know. This could be as simple as:

    To the Hon. Stuart Robert,

    My organisation supports the ASENA response to the Exposure Draft for the New Employment Services Model 2022 Purchasing Arrangements, including the three recommendations in it:

    1. That when disadvantaged job seekers are engaged by a WISE, the WISE receives the full funding available to licensed Providers and Employers if and when they deliver the support and employment outcomes sought by the NESM.
    2. That this happens via ‘wage subsidy-plus’ agreements between WISEs and Providers, to pass on not only wage subsidies but any relevant Provider payments and Employment Fund payments when associated criteria are met. These should also have the following features:
    • Have a standard form.
    • Not be at a Provider’s discretion.
    • Have the wage subsidy component linked to total hours of employment, within a three-year limit, with a requirement that the average hours of employment increase to an acceptable minimum over time.

    3. That compliance relating to the Points Based Activity System not be required for WISE employees (or automatically logged as 100 points) given WISE employees work, and are engaged in wrap- around activities.

    The NESM is a potential game-changing opportunity to fund the support job focused social enterprises provide, for the benefit of disadvantaged job seekers, government and communities.

    Sometimes quantity of submissions, not just quality, counts. If you support the response and the recommendations in it, please contact Stuart Robert, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business at, and let him know. This could be as simple as:

    More info on the NESM can be found  HERE 

    1 file

  • 20 July 2021 10:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Palaszczuk Government is calling for business owners and entrepreneurs to help deliver the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy by joining the reinvigorated Queensland Small Business Advisory Council (QSBAC).

    Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer encouraged people running businesses in Queensland to submit an expression of interest by 5pm Tuesday 27 July 2021.

    “Small businesses employ more than one million Queenslanders in our state: they’re our friends, our neighbours, and the lifeblood of our communities.

    “That’s why we put backing small business at the heart of our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, underpinned by $14.2 billion of investment.

    “And that’s why I travelled across Queensland earlier this year and spoke to thousands of businesses as part of our Small Business Roadshow.

    “We took the clear and unambiguous feedback given on that roadshow to develop our Big Plans for Small Business Strategy. Now we want small businesses to sit on the QSBAC, to be our eyes and ears on the ground to ensure that Strategy is being delivered effectively.

    “We already have regular contact with industry associations and peak bodies, but what we are looking for here is individual small businesses owners to sit on this council and speak directly to myself as the Minister about how the Strategy delivery is going. In this fast-changing environment we want to hear about the opportunities and challenges as and when they present themselves.

    “We want to create a well-informed, dynamic and energetic QSBAC that is current and responsive.”

    Minister Farmer said the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy was already delivering.

    “The Strategy includes a $100 million Business Investment Fund, $30 million in grants to increase skills and capability, and will make the Queensland Small Business Commissioner a permanent position,” Minister Farmer said.

    “We’ve also exceeded our SME government procurement of 25 per cent, hitting 28.5 per cent in the second half of 2020. That’s a $2.67 billion spend with Queensland small and medium businesses.

    “Revitalising the membership of QSBAC is an important element of how we will work closely with small businesses to ensure they’re at the heart of what we’re doing.

    “Receiving robust advice from people with varied on the ground experience will be vital, including women, young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

    “So, if you are a small businesses owner and want to be involved in making sure the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy makes the biggest possible impact on the ground, then get your EOI in before 5pm on July 27.”

    The council is expected to meet four times a year in person or online, including in regional Queensland.

    To submit an Expression of Interest to join the Queensland Small Business Advisory Council visit

    For further information visit or call 1300 654 687.

    Media contact: Kate Talbot 0439 803 211

  • 20 July 2021 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join QSEC and social enterprises across the country in a National Unconference. In the Unconference format, no central figure writes the agenda. Instead, we crowdsource the agenda and participants choose what conversations they wish to create or join.


    How will the day run? 

    On the 21st of July, you’ll log onto the Unconference, which will begin at 11am AEDT/9am AWST time. 

    11am - 12:30pm - SEWF 2022 co-design session

    12:30pm - 1:30pm - Break

    1:30pm - 4:45pm - Unconference sessions

    You will be able to jump in and out of sessions as per the agenda on the Unconference website, so don’t stress if you can’t make it for the whole day!


    Register now

  • 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!



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