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The Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy was released in September 2019 and is the Queensland Government's commitment to supporting the growth of the social enterprise sector in Queensland.
Social enterprises exist to benefit the public, community and environment rather than just shareholders and owners. The sector is gaining momentum in Queensland and plays an important role in delivering jobs and training opportunities for disadvantaged Queenslanders.
The strategy outlines three key focus areas of targeted support to address the challenges social enterprises face:
- building capability and capacity in the sector including access to financial support
- making connections across the sector to increase collaboration and promotional opportunities
- improving market access by linking social enterprises to procurement opportunities.
Research that informed the development of the strategy was facilitated by Jobs Queensland.
Social Enterprise Jobs Fund
The Queensland Government has committed $8 million for the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund to support social enterprises to scale-up activities and create training and employment opportunities. This funding was announced in the 2020–21 State Budget.
The Social Enterprise Jobs Fund will support the sector through three key tiers of activity:
- Social enterprise capacity and capability development – support for the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) as a sector peak body and provide grants to social enterprises and the sector to develop and grow.
- Social enterprise market development – promote procurement opportunities for social enterprises.
- Social enterprise finance – support access to finance and the creation of training and employment opportunities within social enterprises.
Initiatives under the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund are being progressively rolled out. We continue to work closely with QSEC and sector stakeholders to ensure that initiatives respond to the unique opportunities and challenges for social enterprise in Queensland.
Capacity and capability development
Under the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund, development and growth grants are being made available to new and established social enterprises and to community and sector-wide development projects.
Funding has been allocated to continue to support QSEC as the sector's peak body for a further 12 months until 30 June 2024, so they can continue the valuable work they are doing to support the maturity of the social enterprise sector, particularly in regional Queensland. This builds on $385,000 provided to support QSEC's regional hub development activities and to raise the profile of social enterprises as suppliers to the private sector.
A $450,000 commitment has also been made towards research and evaluation projects to further progress the growth of the sector.
The Fund also provided $100,000 in sponsorship for the two-day 2022 Social Enterprise World Forum that was held in Brisbane on 28–29 September 2022. A further $48,000 funded bursaries to support Queensland social enterprises to attend the event in person. The Forum provided an important opportunity to showcase and build on the achievements of Queensland's sector. For more information about the forum, visit Social Enterprise World Forum.
The Queensland Government has committed to using its procurement to support social, economic and environmental objectives by engaging with genuine, quality social enterprises.
To assist more social enterprises supply goods and services to government, $660,000 has been allocated to market development initiatives over two years.
Through a partnership with Social Traders, investment is being made in building the social procurement capability of government buyers and extending access to the Social Traders' Portal. Government buyers are encouraged to use the Portal to find and assess supplier capability from its list of certified social enterprises.
Through the Fund, the Queensland Government will also meet the Social Traders certification cost for up to 20 eligible Queensland-based social enterprises that become certified for the first time in 2022–23. This will be through a free Connections membership, which provides certification, certification logo and marketing kit, social enterprise finder listing with full social procurement profile and access to networking and support.
For more information, including details on eligibility and how to connect with the program, visit Social Traders.
The Social Deck, will develop and deliver tailored training and support, including an online tool, to help social enterprises build their capability to identify opportunities, navigate procurement processes, compete for contracts, respond to tenders and grow their business and social impact.
For more information on the Social Procurement Capability Program, and to complete an expression of interest form which will connect you to the Program and all the upcoming learning activities, visit The Social Deck.
Social enterprise finance
The Social Enterprise Jobs Fund includes funding for a new finance capability program for social enterprises providing one-to-one mentoring and coaching support to support social enterprises. The program will support individual social enterprises to build their financial literacy and increase their capacity to access available funding sources to grow their enterprise.