Whilst the concept of a national strategy has been much discussed over the past two decades it was at the Social Enterprise Virtual Unconference in April 2020 that discussions became serious about how we might strengthen the sector over the long term. Through feedback from the sector ACRE and SENVIC took the concept forward and brought together the Social Enterprise National Strategy (SENS) Advisory Committee.
This Phase 1 SENS Advisory Committee included ACRE, Social Traders, SENVIC, SASEC, YLab and Good Cycles with funding, backbone coordination and the Chair role from the English Family Foundation. With additional funding support from a further 3 foundations the Yunus Centre within Griffith University was engaged as the critical project partner.
Phase 1 gathered the rich experience and perspectives from within the social enterprise sector, here and internationally. Over the past year, the Yunus Centre held conversations within and around the sector to capture the breadth of experience and ideas, and draw out possible pathways forward. These conversations have been synthesised, along with desktop research, into two reports:
- Part One: a summary of themes, tensions & provocations, capturing the history and learning in the social enterprise sector in Australia and internationally
- Part Two: a possible pathway for building the connective tissue across the Australian social enterprise sector so that collectively we can amplify our impact. It asks us to consider – what would it look like if we were to better organise at a national level?
We have now progressed into Phase 2: Activation. The objective of Phase 2 is to pilot the development and implementation of the social enterprise national strategy agenda within Australia, including the creation of an independent vehicle, the SENS Hub, to drive this forward. This work will build on the frameworks outlined in Part Two of the Yunus Centre’s research report. Critically this will develop the pathway to the longer-term goal of the national strategy.