New Executive Director to bring added value to SENVIC members across Victoria’s growing social enterprise sector
Wednesday 20 March 2024

SENVIC’s Board of Directors has the pleasure of announcing the appointment of Ishani Chattopadhyay as the organisation’s new Executive Director.
Ishani will start her role on 25th March to lead the network’s strategic priorities to connect social enterprise practitioners and the broader ecosystem, facilitate access to learning and development opportunities and influence sound policy development for the growing social enterprise sector across Victoria.
Ishani joins SENVIC with a deep, life-long passion in social enterprise. She has extensive international and local social enterprise development experience. Ishani is the Founder and Managing Director of Arctic 90, a boutique advisory that helps impact driven enterprises with strategic execution. She grew up in India and Melbourne with a 24 year career across India, Australia, USA and the UK focused on strategic advisory, entrepreneurship, market expansion, investment and innovation.
Prior to establishing Arctic 90, Ishani was Head of Business Development & Programs at TDI where she designed and ran a social enterprise incubator program, facilitated workshops and provided advice on social enterprise ecosystem development in the Pacific Islands.
Ishani also holds Board positions in several impact-led enterprises and continues to support aspiring social entrepreneurs to develop a sustainable business model.
Having completed an MBA from London Business School with a major in strategy and entrepreneurship, Ishani brings a breadth of impressive skills and experience including collaborative leadership and stakeholder management, strategic thinking and execution, integrity and value-based leadership.
Following the recent completion of a strategic review on SENVIC’s role and future direction undertaken by Libby Ward-Christie from the Melbourne Business School (MBS) and Dr Mike Moran from the University of Melbourne, the Board is confident that Ishani will drive the implementation of priority actions that will build momentum and leverage the strength of the members across metro and regional Victoria.

SENVIC Chair, Sally Quinn said, “The Board is thrilled with the appointment of Ishani as our new Executive Director. We look forward to Ishani bringing her dynamic and strategic leadership to help deepen SENVIC’s role and impact in the social enterprise ecosystem across Victoria. Her broad experience and dedicated outcomes-based approach will enable a stronger understanding of the interests, needs and motivations of SENVIC members, while further activating SENVIC’s network structure and working with the Board to generate revenue that will enable SENVIC’s ongoing effectiveness and sustainability.
Ishani commented, “I am privileged and honoured to be taking up this sector leadership position at an important time in the evolution of the social enterprise ecosystem both in Victoria and nationally. It’s not about assuming a title. This role is about spearheading a movement towards sustainable change and recognising the power of collaboration, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. I look forward to working with the Board, SENVIC members  and partners in paving the path for our shared vision of a vibrant and inclusive social enterprise ecosystem.“
Ishani’s LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.

EOIs open for new leadership position
Wednesday 13 December 2023

 Are you SENVIC’s next leader?

Clea Smith has reached the end of her interim CEO role with SENVIC and reflects on her time with us.

“I want to express my gratitude to SENVIC members and partners for welcoming me into this role, and into your local communities. I am proud to reflect on what we have collectively achieved in the past six months.”

“The passion, collaboration and commitment of the membership has been truly inspirational. I am confident that SENVIC will continue to thrive in 2024 and beyond.”

“I have met many wonderful people, and am pleased to say my next role is within the social enterprise sector. I will be stepping into the role of CEO of Tradeswomen Australia at the end of January and look forward to crossing paths and collaborating.”

SENVIC Chair, Sally Quinn, thanks Clea for her leadership and calls for Expressions of Interest.

“The SENVIC Board would like to thank Clea for the skilled and passionate leadership she has brought to the network and its members through her role as Interim CEO. Clea stepped into the role at a time of transition for SENVIC, providing direction and care through her strong relational, consultative and authentic approach. Working closely with the staff, members and partners, she has set up strong foundations for SENVIC’s next chapter. It’s with deep thanks and best wishes that we farewell Clea – and we look forward to ongoing connection in her new role.”

“We are now inviting expressions of interest for a visionary and dedicated leader to guide our network through its next phase in 2024 and beyond.”

SENVIC invites Expressions of Interest from qualified and experienced individuals to lead our dynamic, influential and established state-wide network and peak body.

Further details can be found here.

Victoria announces new Premier
Wednesday 27 September 2023

SENVIC sincerely congratulates Premier Jacinta Allan and Deputy Premier Ben Carroll.

Both the Premier and Deputy Premier have demonstrated a strong commitment to a just, inclusive and sustainable Victoria by championing social enterprise.

They have both been instrumental in their previous portfolios with world leading innovations and policies like the Social Procurement Framework and Victorian Social Enterprise Strategy.

We wish them success in delivering social, cultural and environmental outcomes.

Social enterprise a key tool in new federal plan
Thursday 28 September 2023
In exciting news, via Social Enterprise Australia:

The federal government has just released ‘Working Future‘ – a White Paper on jobs and opportunities. It’s a big deal. This is only the third employment white paper since federation… And it names social enterprise.

The Paper puts full employment front and centre. It also redefines it to mean a job for everyone who wants one and can work.

It says policymakers need to recognise the reality of not only unemployment but underemployment and under-utilisation, and the impact of these things on communities.

The government says it plans to remove barriers to work and to ensure people have secure jobs that are fairly paid. It positions social enterprise as a key means to partner with communities to do this; called out under point 9 of a 10-point plan.

It says the government will build on work underway with the social enterprise sector – the Outcomes Fund and the Social Enterprise Development Initiative – to back social enterprise to provide more employment and training opportunities for Australians facing disadvantage.


Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth backed up the Paper’s release with a joint media release about social enterprise. It says:

“Labor’s vision is for a dynamic and inclusive labour market where everyone has the opportunity for secure, fairly-paid work and where communities can thrive.

“In recognition of the role social enterprises can play in lifting communities, the Government will engage with the social enterprise sector to identify ways to provide more employment and training opportunities for Australians who face disadvantage.

“Treasury and the Department of Social Services will lead this work through the Targeting Entrenched Disadvantage agenda.”

Huge congratulations and thanks to all who contributed to this change – from those in enterprises showing how to do things differently to those who advocate tirelessly.

What comes next – how this will work – needs to pair government goals with the operating reality of social enterprise. It’s an opportunity to put the big picture challenge of unemployment front and centre, and to partner to find practical ways to solve it.
The Purpose Precinct is expanding!
Mon 7 August 2023

Huge news for the Victorian social enterprise ecosystem with an announcement from Minister for Employment Ben Carroll: That the temporary Purpose Precinct will be expanding to a larger permanent site for up to 100 social enterprises!

Here’s the full press release:

Developed by leading social enterprises STREAT and Good Cycles and supported by the Social Enterprise Network of Victoria (SENVIC), the Precinct opened in November and already sells goods from more than 25 social enterprises. It is funded through the Andrews Labor Government’s nation-leading Social Enterprise Strategy 2021-25.

As well as increasing exposure and sales for social enterprises from across Victoria, the Precinct will provide on and off-site employment and training pathways for 75 disadvantaged jobseekers facing multiple barriers to finding work, such as marginalised young people, Aboriginal Victorians, and people who are long-term unemployed.

“We’re backing our social enterprises because they create positives outcomes for local workers and the community – and that’s why we’re expanding this precinct at one of our most iconic markets,” said Minister for Employment Ben Carroll.

Jade Haenga-Stretch has worked at the Precinct since March. The 19-year-old faced barriers getting a job given their inexperience in the workforce and lack of formal training, before being referred to Good Cycles last year. Jade is now working on Sundays at the Purpose Precinct while completing a full-time Certificate IV in Youth Work.

“It’s a great place to work with amazing, welcoming people and the environment is super supportive,” said Jade.

The Precinct has a strong focus on promoting the circular economy. Surplus food from QVM traders will be collected and turned it into products such as jams and preserves at an onsite kitchen. Social enterprises are businesses that trade to help tackle social problems and improve communities, while providing people with access to employment.

There are currently more than 3,500 social enterprises in the state, which employ around 60,000 people and contribute $5.2 billion annually to the economy. The expanded precinct will see it move from its present site on QVM’s String Bean Alley to the F Shed Laneway, with construction on the new site completion due later this year.

“This is like a massive front door for social enterprises that will create visibility for the sector, which is really exciting and also great for customers who want to shop ethically,” said Rebecca Scott, CEO of STREAT and Founding Partner (with Good Cycles) of the Purpose Precinct.

Expressions of interest are open to have your social enterprise’s products displayed in the shop. Read more about it on our Purpose Precinct page

(You must be a SENVIC member to be considered, so if you haven’t already, then join us – it’s free!)

Our time is now: Social enterprise round-table at Parliament House, Canberra
27 March 2023

Victoria’s social enterprise community were out in strength at the first social enterprise round-table hosted at Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra by Social Traders and Social Enterprise Australia.

Cross-party representatives welcomed our call for a national social enterprise strategy designed with the sector. Now’s the time for the Federal Governmnet to expand Victoria’s model for a thriving social enterprise ecosystem from coast-to-coast.

Read more>

A place for Social Enterprises in Victoria - The Purpose Precinct at the Queen Victoria Market
8 November 2022

This week The Purpose Precinct landed at the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) – bringing a curated selection of Victoria’s social enterprises’ best to the third-most-visited attraction in Victoria.

Backed by SENVIC, and in partnership with the ever amazing Good Cycles and STREAT, the Purpose Precinct is a massively exciting, new way of showcasing our social enterprise movement to the world.

Read more>

SENVIC’s statewide network of Local Leads is complete
15 September 2022

SENVIC is excited to announce the appointment of Local Leads across Greater Melbourne, completing the network’s state-wide coverage of all 11 Regional Victoria and Suburban Development regions.

The SENVIC Local Leads will each lead the way in their own region, connecting, enabling and providing leadership for the social enterprise sector.

Read more >

Regenerative tourism is growing in Gippsland
8 September 2022

SENVIC’s Gippsland Social Enterprise Collective held a Gippsland Community Hub event as part of this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum at Fisherman’s Landing on Thursday, 8 September

In collaboration with GELLEN, FLOAT and Up the Creek, including the Venture Out team and Skipper Pete’s Water Taxi service, they explored social enterprise approaches for regenerative tourism, in action.

Regenerative Tourism is the idea that tourism should leave a place better than it was before. Showcasing social enterprise, creativity and nature-based tourism, they explore the power of regenerative tourism to support regional communities on the frontline of the climate emergency.

Read more >

2022 Federal Election
2 May 2022

Election time is a prime opportunity to get social enterprise on the federal agenda. That is why SENVIC along with our partners in the Alliance of Social Enterprise Networks Australia (ASENA) have collaborated to make it easy for you to talk to your local candidate. Using this tool it only takes five minutes to find your candidate and send our suggested content. Find out more, share our pitch-deck or Write to your local candidates now

Read more >

Regional Leaders Manifesto for Renewal
18 March 2022

The SENVIC Regional Mini-Conference in March 2022 brought together social enterprise leaders from across Victoria.

SENVIC partnered with the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE) to establish the regional network across regional Victoria. After two-years of pandemic disruptions, the SENVIC Regional Mini-Conference was held in March 2022. It gave delegates an insight into community-led rejuvination with our hosts. ACRE’s community-buy-back journey is an inspiration and the Conference was a fitting culmination of our partnership.

On the final day, delegates devised a SENVIC Regional Leads Manifesto for accelerating social enterprise in rural and regional Victoria. The manifesto is an invitation for Government and philanthropy to recognise the fundamental differences in the way that rural and regional communities connect with social enterprise.

Read more >

Launch of the Frankston Social Enterprise Hub
18 February 2022
We are thrilled to announce Victoria’s first social enterprise hub in Frankston
Frankston Social Enterprise Hub launched in February 2022, as a cross-sector collaboration to tackle disadvantage and strengthen innovation and entrpreneurship in local young people. The Hub is an initiative of Peninsula Health, Chisholm Institute and the Frankston Foundry and supported by the Victorian Government.
This is a place for people and organisations committed to creating social value through enterprise.
Read the launch speech here >
Jobsbank and SENVIC call on Victorian government to seize social benefits of CDS
12 October 2021

Without social procurement and inclusivity mandates, advocates say the new container deposit scheme misses an opportunity to be part of the COVID-19 recovery for thousands of Victorians.

Read more >

Renewing Support For Victoria’s Social Enterprise Sector
8 October 2021

Victorian social enterprises and the people they support will benefit from a renewed focus on sustainably growing the sector, with the Victorian Government launching the new Social Enterprise Strategy 2021-25.

Find out more about Victoria’s ambitious, multi-year strategy to create a thriving social enterprise sector.

Read more > how it was received

Victoria launches new social enterprise strategy
5 October 2021

The Victorian government has laid out a four-year road map for how it plans to strengthen and support the state’s thriving social enterprise sector.

Read more > the Victorian Government media release

Social enterprise steps up to join Metropolitan Boards
30 August 2021

At this critical time for community recovery, SENVIC congratulates the sector leaders appointed to five government-community partnership boards across Metropolitan Melbourne.

Read more >

2021 marks new phase of development for SENVIC
20 July 2021

Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC) is proud to herald a new phase in the growth of Victoria’s social enterprise community.

Read more >

The future is bright for social enterprise in Victoria
25 June 2021

Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC) is delighted to confirm it will receive continued financial support from the Victorian Government to enhance the important work of connecting and growing the social enterprise sector.

Read more >

A bold new national voice for social enterprise in Australia
22 July 2020

A brand new  national social enterprise body for Australia,  ASENA, launched in May, representing the 20,000 social enterprises across the country. The alliance’s advocacy lead, also CEO at Social Enterprise Network Victoria, sets out the big vision – and some very concrete next steps.

Read more >

'Moving Feast' collective deliver meals to those in tower lockdown
07 July 2020

An army of volunteers have been mobilised to bring emergency relief to those trapped in Melbourne’s towers.  Moving Feast has been delivering culturally appropriate meals and produce boxes to the towers.

Read more >

A new voice for Australia's social enterprise sector
01 June 2020

A national alliance of social enterprises will advocate for a post-COVID Australian economy that is ecologically and economically sustainable.

Read more >

COVID-19 not all doom and gloom for social enterprise sector
27 March 2020

Social enterprise advocates are optimistic the industry can survive the coronavirus pandemic, and will use the crisis to strengthen collaboration across the sector.

Read more >

Media release: Social Enterprises are pivoting but need support now

As impacts of coronavirus (C-19) deepen, social enterprises across the nation are currently preparing to pivot their activities to address the emerging needs of the community and comply with the rolling shut down of businesses.

Read more >

Media release: Social Enterprises to miss out on COVID-19 support

The impacts of the coronavirus (C-19) are being felt across the globe by individuals, organisations and businesses. Social enterprises are not only preparing their businesses for the anticipated additional pressures on staffing and operations due to the virus, but preparing the communities in which they operate.

Read more >

Media release: SENVIC Local Leads appointed across regional Victoria

SENVIC is excited to announce the appointment of Local Leads in the Barwon Southwest, Gippsland, Grampians, Hume and Loddon/Mallee regions of Victoria.

Read more >

Media release: SENVIC announces new CEO and launches survey

SENVIC (Social Enterprise Network Victoria) is excited to announce the appointment of Nicholas Verginis as the new CEO.

Read more >

Pro Bono Australia: Victorian social enterprises get connected

Social enterprises across Victoria are getting connected with the launch of a statewide peer-to-peer network.

Read more >

Victorian Government media release: Supporting Victoria’s Growing Social Enterprise Sector

The Andrews Labor Government is connecting social enterprises across the state through the launch of a new knowledge-sharing and development network.

Read more >

The Conversation Hour with Jon Faine: SENVIC, ACRE and David Le Page

SENVIC Chair Cinnamon Evans, ACRE CEO Matt Pfahlert, and Buy Social Canada‘s David Le Page chat with Jon Faine on the Conversation Hour on the rising impact of social enterprise in Australia.

Listen now >