It’s an exciting time for social enterprise in Australia with more than 20,000 social enterprises now operating (Barraket et al, 2010).
Despite the recent growth and interest in the sector there are several factors holding it back from reaching its full potential as a catalyst for widespread change. One critical issue is that the social enterprise ecosystem in Australia is currently fragmented and disorganised.
This is reflected in the fact that finding the increasing number of funding and capacity building opportunities as a social entrepreneur is still difficult and time consuming. The latest opportunities are still typically found via closed Facebook groups, Google searches or organisation-specific newsletters. As a result, many of our most eager and promising entrepreneurs don’t find the support they need to get their ideas off the ground. Potentially life changing ideas stay just that – great ideas.
Social enterprises can be a powerful driver of positive change, but to truly realise their potential the current fragmented social enterprise ecosystem in Australia must evolve to better support them, particularly at the early stages. Encouraging increased support for social enterprises and connecting them with available opportunities is a critical step in this process.