Building a national strategy – Social enterprise round-table at Parliament House Canberra

27 March 2023

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


“What you do has support from across the parliament. For those on the business side, you’re celebrating businesses. And for those who go into politics to help the most disadvantaged, you’re doing just that. The work of social enterprise spans the economy.”

Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury [more here]


“It was so inspiring hearing how companies are turning around the lives of people by removing barriers to employment or tackling waste through innovative recycling methods among many other goals.” 

Daniel Mulino MP (Fraser in Melbourne’s West), Chair of Standing Committee on Economics, member of Public Accounts Committee  


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.

“Victoria’s social enterprise community has grown significantly in recent years, with marked increases in businesses identifying as social enterprise and getting certified with Social Traders.” said Nick Verginis, CEO of Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC).

“A strong practitioner-led network and culture of certification is strengthening the movement that calls for ‘business for good’ to be business as usual.” said Sally Quinn, Chair of SENVIC and Co-founder and CEO of Green Collect.

SENVIC and Social Traders see the Victorian experience as the model for what is needed across Australia:  well-resourced practitioner-led networks together with Government-backed social enterprise certification.

SENVIC has grown from nine pioneering leaders to over 900 members in the last five years.

“Our community engagement and awareness raising has widened the funnel and built a safe, diverse and inclusive community, and a powerful pipeline to Social Traders certification” Verginis added.

A uniform approach to certification ensures public confidence and protects the integrity of the social enterprise sector.

Social Enterprise Australia (SEA) is calling on the Federal Government to support a Social Enterprise National Strategy that follows the Victorian example, and is strengthened by national certification by Social Traders.

Social Traders certification will be a core pillar that underpins a national strategy, co-designed and powered by a partnership between the sector and the Australian Government.

“Australia faces social, environmental and economic challenges that demand new responses. The social enterprise sector can help.” Jess Moore, CEO of SEA.


What is SEA calling for?

  • Social enterprise sits between traditional business and charity, so many fall through the gaps in the supports that exist. It does the job of both without the enablers of either. As a result, it is not realising its potential.
  • We seek a social enterprise national strategy to change this; one co-designed and powered by a partnership between the sector and Government.
  • We see this as being challenge-led, focusing on national priorities where social enterprise can make a big contribution.
  • We see the strategy being underpinned by data and certification. Dependent on these things, we also see it incorporating social procurement, access to finance, outcome payments, and capability building.

Click here for the 2023-24 Pre-Budget Submission: A budget to unlock the impact of social enterprise

What Next?

We need you help so Parliament take notice of our submission.

Please like, share and respond to social media posts by MPs that attended:

If you are already connected to your local MP at the State or Federal level, email and tell us your connection so we can amplify your impact.