2020 has seen disruption to ‘business-as-usual’ in a way that most of us haven’t experienced in our lifetimes. But rather than sitting back and resting on laurels (as that strange saying goes!), at this time of unprecedented social and economic change, social enterprise networks in each State and Territory of Australia have united to build a common vision for a better future by forming a new national voice for the social enterprise sector – the Alliance of Social Enterprise Networks Australia (ASENA).
At Sustainability Hackers we’re huge fans of social enterprises as they have the capacity to address both social, environmental and economic change at the same time through the power of the market, essentially challenging (and covertly eroding) the capitalist status quo.
ASENA’s first action was to call for the creation of a National Social Enterprise Strategy, following the approach of enabling governments in the United Kingdom, Canada and many others.
ASENA published its submission to the Prime Minister’s Social Impact Investing Taskforce calling for a 10 year plan to create a thriving social enterprise community in Australia.
Chair of Queensland Social Enterprise Council Emma-Kate Rose said the social enterprise sector had come together at this critical juncture to form new collaborations and support resilience, jobs and impact investment into the areas most needed in our communities.
Executive Coordinator of the Social Enterprise Council of NSW and ACT Mikey Leung said Australia’s two major disasters in 2020 highlighted the importance of building an economic system that builds resilience and creates opportunities for all of our diverse regions and populations, without harming our environment or our people.
“This is what social enterprises are already doing,” he said.
In addition to calling for a National Social Enterprise Strategy, ASENA’s inaugural submission to the Australian Government’s Social Impact Investing Taskforce recommends action on three priority areas:
- A unified and streamlined impact measurement framework
- A national census of the social enterprise sector to build transparency and recognition of its impact and economic contribution.
- A national economic regeneration fund to support the growth and development of social enterprises, particularly in the context of COVID economic recovery.
The founding members of ASENA are: QSEC (Queensland Social Enterprise Council), SENVIC (Social Enterprise Network Victoria), SECNA (Social Enterprise Council of NSW & ACT), Impact North (NT), SASEC (South Australian Social Enterprise Council), and WASEC (WA Social Enterprise Council).