One of the main reasons we wanted to get the community together for our inaugural event on 26 September 2019 was so that we could ask our members what they would like to see from the network. With Sibling by Kinfolk in Carlton North as our backdrop, we gathered around for enthusiastic discussion and asked what activities, priorities and foci would help social enterprise practitioners connect to their peers, to funders and to government, and what would assist them to develop their skills, knowledge and reach. SENVIC Chair Cinnamon Evans lead the session, which generated dozens of hugely valuable responses, and a fantastic resource for the sector.
When asked what they would like to see from a social enterprise network, many SENVIC members said they believed mentoring and support for new start-ups was integral to a more connected network. They said that hearing stories and seeing case studies from other enterprises would be valuable to assist new founders get off to a great start, providing inspiration and key learnings. Also highlighted was an emphasis on regional-metropolitan exchange, an opportunity for everyone across the state to feel supported and visible. Other key phrases such as collaboration and coaching also featured regularly.
In order to develop successfully, many members called for awareness of and access to funding and grant opportunities. They also suggested that assistance with awareness raising, marketing and business plans would help individual enterprises grow and reach further. A central point of information providing access to training, professional development, events and seminars was also emphasised, not just for those beginning their social enterprise journey, but those looking to build on their current skills and network.
In order to influence the sector, members commented that advocacy played a huge role, and suggested that this be a significant focus for SENVIC. Members also mentioned that partnerships and relationships with government would assist the sector to grow and for members to access greater opportunities across the state and Australia. Connection with government, members said, would ensure strategies and investment would continue to support social enterprises in their work towards a just, inclusive and more sustainable world.
To view the full list of responses, click here.