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Mapping Sydney’s Social Enterprise Ecosystem

There is substantial activity, many actors and a potentially emerging cluster of social enterprises in the inner city of Sydney and surrounds, however there’s currently no profile of this sector, its strengths, needs and key aspirations, that is individually collectively accessible.

For the sector to be more visible and transparent there is a need to bring together information on the sector as a spatial community or how its physical presence could be built. It is also important to be able to create an evidence base to create a baseline against which growth and change in the sector can be measured. There is a need to better link the entrepreneurial cultures of many in the social enterprise sector with the local community­ based organisations and NGOs working on key social issues in the inner city.

The Social Enterprise Ecosystem Map will encourage the exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing by making the social enterprise community visible to itself and each other. By creating a shared understanding of what the community looks like – i.e. what the profile of organisations is, where they are, who the key players are and who is in need of what – the map will encourage organisations to connect to each other. The map will make visible ‘hot spots’, areas of crossover, and gaps which will mean areas where organisations can collaborate to meet each others needs. The understanding and visibility the map will provide will serve to strengthen the community by legitimising its position, illustrating its character and identity, and further establishing its role and value in the broader business, community and city contexts.

The Social Enterprise Ecosystem Map invites collaboration, networking and skills exchange. In cities where a particular business community has been identified, established and illustrated, these communities have been shown to grow and create a deeper presence.

Some examples are the UX or design thinking and sustainability communities in Sydney which started as a whisper, but through regular meetups, increased participation and recognition, have become highly specialised and professionalised communities with a highly valued role and expertise. Cities who have gone through a shift towards being a ‘tech’ or startup city or nurturing a niche of another kind have gone through a similar trajectory of identifying ‘hot spots’ where a community, economic or cultural attribute is already emerging (in this case, the social enterprise and purpose ­driven business community) and supporting and nurturing this community into an established position within the city’s economy and identity.

So what’s next? And how can you get involved?

If you’re involved in business-for-purpose and social enterprise you’re invited to have your voice heard!

City of Sydney have partnered with Today and Social Enterprise Exchange Sydney to hold a Meet and Mingle workshop and networking event, to gather Sydney’s social enterprise together to have their say on the best ways to encourage and support the development of the sector. It’s on from 6-9pm, on the 30th of August 2018, at Here Co-Working in Pyrmont. Find out more here.

If you can’t make the event, you can still contribute to the future of Sydney’s social enterprise sector. Click here to complete the survey and you’ll have the chance to win a $300 voucher to FOLONOMO, Sydney first ‘profit for purpose’ eatery.

Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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