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Launch of Council to Build Western Australia’s Inclusive Economy – The WA Social Enterprise Council (WASEC)

2020 has seen disruption to ‘business-as-usual’ in a way that most of us haven’t experienced in our lifetimes.  At this time of unprecedented social and economic change, WASEC has been formed by leaders in Western Australia’s social enterprise sector to build a new economy that places community, employee and environmental impact outcomes on an equal footing with sustainable financial returns.

WASEC will advocate for and work with new social enterprises and existing WA businesses that want to transform for social impact outcomes, with the vision of establishing a thriving, collaborative for social enterprise sector in Western Australia.

“We need greater business model innovation in WA. Many NFP’s need to become more financially sustainable, while ‘For-Profit’ companies need to better understand the enormous benefits of integrating social and environmental outcomes into their traditional business models. This is not token CSR. This is a new way of operating. We need a system to recognise and support these business models and the growing number of high impact social enterprises. WASEC is committed to helping build this ecosystem in WA” said Vanessa Rauland, CEO of Climate Clever and WASEC Co-Chair.

Sven Stenvers, Impact Seed Founding Director and WASEC Board Member said “We are staring down an effective 15-20% unemployment rate in WA with myriad long-term social consequences for families and communities. These are challenges which Government and traditional business are ill-equipped to address. As a new economic reality emerges from this COVID crisis, social enterprises stand ready with the capacity to address some of our most intractable social, environmental and economic challenges, through the power of impact-driven business models. Creation of a State Social Enterprise Strategy is an opportunity for the State Government to take a ‘best-practice’ policy leadership approach, and actively participate in the development of the social enterprise sector in our state”

“Fostering and cultivating a space for nimble, creative and financially sustainable social enterprises is a responsible strategy that our state needs to adopt, to solve the complexity of crises emerging from Covid-19. Right now, the gap isn’t the supply of investable social enterprises in WA, but a lack of mainstream and diverse growth opportunities, like there have been in the eastern states for over a decade” said Pat Ryan, CEO of Dismantle and WASEC Co-Chair.

Ben Cole, CEO of Wide Open Agriculture and WASEC Board member said “Social enterprises offer a new opportunity to embrace the challenges we all face through delivering a for-profit model but with a clear, defined measure of impact across social and environmental issues. WASEC was founded to demonstrate that now is the time for social enterprises to step out of the background and show leadership”.

“Social Enterprise has the power to achieve awesome social outcomes in a way that other larger enterprises are unable to” said Amanda Healy, CEO of Kirrikin and WASEC Board member.

“There can be a misconception that it is not possible to achieve social outcomes while remaining financially sustainable; but it has been proven across many industries, states and countries this is not necessarily the case.  The development of WASEC has come at a crucial time and will provide opportunities for social enterprises, government and the private sector to innovate and collaborate in a meaningful and sustainable manner” said CEO of Underground Collaborative and WASEC Board member Katie Liew.

WASEC will provide ethical, values-driven stewardship and a collective voice for the WA social enterprise sector to promote market development including:

  • Social procurement across government, business and not for profit sectors;
  • Social enterprise definition and accreditation;
  • Robust impact & outcomes measurement frameworks;
  • Fit-for-purpose legal and financial structures and support

Other jurisdictions have supported their social enterprise sectors directly, and encouraged procurement being directed to social enterprises by the private sector.  The evidence for this government policy support is compelling*.

With the launch of WASEC, today we call upon the McGowan government to recognise and support the sector to build back better.  Catalytic funding for social enterprise market development and supporting a sector certification framework are well recognised, high leverage ways in which the McGowan Government can support the private sector in building capacity within our communities and industries for regeneration and economic diversification through social enterprise.

Social Change Central
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