Social Enterprise News

News from QSEC and the Social Enterprise Sector.

  • 22 July 2021 1:04 PM | QSEC Admin (Administrator)

    Building the pathway to a national social enterprise strategy

    At QSEC our vision is to create a thriving social enterprise sector, but we know that’s not something we can achieve on our own.

    That’s why we’ve been collaborating as part of an Advisory Group working to develop a national social enterprise strategy for Australia. The advisory group has just released the first reports with a proposed pathway forward.

    Social enterprise is an idea whose time has come. Now more than ever we need blended models that build a fairer and more just Australia and are also commercially viable.

    There are thousands of social enterprises already operating around Australia. But the sector is fragmented and underserved. That’s why in 2020, we got together with a group of other social enterprise sector leaders to explore how to supercharge the sector’s growth through a national social enterprise strategy.

    We formed an advisory committee including The English Family Foundation (Belinda Morrissey), ACRE (Matt Pfahlert), Social Traders (Tara Anderson), SASEC (Sharon Zivkovic), SENVIC (Nick Verginis), YLab (Michael Lim) and Good Cycles (Jaison Hoernel).

    Together we imagined a strategy that would set a shared direction for the sector and improve coordination. A strategy that would increase the visibility and credibility of social enterprise. A strategy that would unlock new resources for the sector and strengthen capability.

    As a starting point, the Yunus Centre at Griffith University conducted research across the social enterprise sector, in Australia and overseas. The research is now available in two parts, with a third to be released during the next phase:

    -        Part one: a summary of themes, tensions & provocations, capturing the history and learning in the social enterprise sector in Australia and internationally.

    -        Part two: a possible pathway for building the connective tissue across the Australian social enterprise sector so that collectively we can amplify our impact. It asks us to consider – what would it look like if we were to better organise at a national level?

    The conversations we’ve had across the social enterprise sector so far suggest there is widespread support for a national strategy, shared goals and better coordination in the social enterprise sector. But that’s just the beginning. The next step is to setup governance structures to take the project forward and wide consultation and co-creation to shape the project, which is what’s happening now.

    Levelling up the sector’s impact and developing a national strategy will take all of us - everyone who wants to see the social enterprise sector grow and thrive.

    There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved. Stay tuned for forums to explore the path forward.


    Footage courtesy Impact BoomSocial Enterprise Council of NSW and ACTQueensland Social Enterprise CouncilSocial Enterprise World Forum. Production gifted by Digital Storytellers.

  • 22 July 2021 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brisbane Olympics an opportunity for government to lead social procurement

    Australia hosting the Olympics in Brisbane and South-East Queensland in 2032 is a crucial opportunity for the Queensland Government to build an inclusive economy through social procurement.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison said securing the Games was a coup for the nation. It also stands to be a significant opportunity to create lasting social impact across the state. Many social and sustainable benefits have been highlighted in the media releases and speeches from our federal, state and local leaders.

    The Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) and Social Traders have been productively working with all levels of government in Queensland to help unleash the potential of social enterprise procurement across the state.

    Social enterprises are an innovative breed of businesses that exist to create a fairer and more sustainable world. Social procurement is when a business or government chooses to buy goods and services from a social enterprise. Social procurement is crucial in creating a sustainable source of revenue for social enterprises to drive positive impact and community benefits. 

    QSEC President, Richard Warner said: “Queensland Federal Minister Richard Colbeck indicated that this kind of major event creates an opportunity to ‘lock in’ sustainable social and economic benefits. His call for local businesses and companies to seek these opportunities should signal a real call to action for social enterprise in Queensland to make the 2032 games the ‘social impact games’ through social procurement.”

    Social Traders Queensland Lead, Alex Hooke, said: “Now is the time to firm up social procurement policy and action in Queensland to support social enterprises to grow. More and stronger social enterprises will help build an inclusive Queensland economy and capitalise on this once in a generation opportunity of hosting the largest event on earth.”

    Queensland Government and South East Queensland Councils could amplify positive impact through direct procurement with social enterprises as well as leveraging larger contractors to deliver enhanced social outcomes for the local community.  

    Together QSEC and Social Traders are looking forward to continuing their strong relationships with the state and local governments in Queensland to make sure social enterprises are in a front row seat for the 2032 Olympic games.

    Media contact: Elise Parups CEO QSEC 

  • 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

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