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Social Enterprise National Strategy Enters Activation Phase

The Social Enterprise National Strategy (SENS) project is entering its next phase of development: activation. With this comes changes to governance and an Executive Director.

SENS kicked off in 2020. SENS is a significant and exciting initiative to create a long-term national strategy for the Australian social enterprise sector that unlocks positive social, cultural and environmental impact and a purpose-led recovery to COVID-19. Our shared ambition is to make social enterprise business as usual.

To map a possible path forward, the Yunus Centre held conversations with and around the sector. Their research showed that Australia’s social enterprise sector is fragmented, underserved and not realising its potential. This inhibits its ability to self-organise and gain the benefits of greater coordination, mainstream profile and understanding, and access to resources and support relative to the public value it creates.

The sector also voiced widespread support for a strategy that would:

  • Set a shared direction for social enterprise in Australia
  • Improve collaboration and coordination within and around the sector
  • Increase the visibility and credibility of social enterprise
  • Unlock new resources for the sector and strengthen capability

With the sector’s backing, the activation phase has officially begun!

We’re excited to welcome Jess Moore to lead SENS as the Executive Director. Over the last 17 years, Jess has led impactful social enterprises and peak organisations. Jess came into social enterprise from a background working and teaching in advocacy, systems thinking and movement building, and has led collaborations that changed government policy and decisions.

Jess will be supported by the SENS Advisory Council who will provide oversight and be accountable to the sector. It includes:

  • Belinda Morrissey (Chair) – CEO at the English Family Foundation
  • Alex Hannant – (Deputy Chair) Professor of Practice and Co-Director at the Yunus Centre, Griffith University
  • Matt Pfahlert – CEO at the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise Academy Australia
  • Tara Anderson – Head of Marketing at Social Traders and Director at The Dragonfly Collective
  • Alexie Seller – Co-CEO at Enterprise Learning Projects and Convener at Impact North
  • Adrian Appo – First Nations Lead at Yajilarra Trust
  • David Brookes – Founding Member at the Social Enterprise Network of Victoria and former CEO at Social Traders

Alexie, Adrian and David are new additions to the SENS Council. SENS welcomes them to the team. It also acknowledges and thanks Nick Verginis from SENVIC, Dr Sharon Zivkovic from SASEC, Jaison Hoernel from Good Cycles and Michael Lim from YLab, who helped lead SENS through its first phase.

Building on the learnings to date, the next phase of SENS will establish organisational infrastructure to bring the sector together nationally, develop a plan to engage government, and build a national strategy and investment case. Co-design with the sector will be a critical part of activation.

We’re pleased to have support from the Snow Foundation and the English Family Foundation as the first members of the philanthropic collaboration to support the activation phase.

Social enterprise is an idea whose time has come. Imagine what our sector can achieve if we come together to unlock its power. Imagine if we had a National Social Enterprise Strategy for Australia. We’re now on our way.

Authors: Belinda Morrissey & Tara Anderson
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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