Rapid Growth of Social Enterprises in Australia

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Entrepreneurship, Oceania

Social entrepreneurship has emerged as one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Australia over the last five years. With a growth of 37 percent in five years, social entrepreneurship is making a significant contribution to economy. These figures have been revealed in a research study conducted by Opportunity International Australia (OIA) that was undertaken to commemorate World Entrepreneurship Day.

The study reveals that governmental and university initiatives have led to an increasing acceptance of the social enterprise sector in the country. OIA philanthropy director Stephen Robertson says: “The growth in social entrepreneurship as a field of study is in response to student demand.”

There is a major thrust on promoting education and training in social entrepreneurship in Australia. Six Australian universities currently offer study modules or courses in social enterprise. Robertson says: “For many years prominent universities in America, such as Yale, have offered courses in the field, and we are seeing burgeoning interest in Australia.”

Initiatives of the Australian government, such as the Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund (SEDIF), are helping promote social businesses by financing social enterprise. SEDIF has provided funding to more than a hundred social enterprise projects already, with a total expenditure of over $73.6 million.

Social entrepreneurship is also attracting the attention of top entrepreneurial talent in the country. “We are seeing a trend for entrepreneurs who have built successful empires to apply their skills to social businesses. If you were to look across the BRW Rich List, you would see many faces now successfully turning their hands to social enterprise or supporting entrepreneurs in some capacity,” says Robertson.

OIA believes that business organizations consider a number of factors before extending their support to the social enterprise sector. They evaluate a logical fit between the new venture and their existing business, and the level of understanding between the potential partners.

Robertson says, “Entrepreneurs aren’t prepared to throw money at any social business. They are extremely considered, and the opportunity must tick all the boxes, both commercially and personally.”

Source: Dynamic Business
Photo Credit: svilen001

Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of “The Power of Money” (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer for an international social project for developing nations “Decisions for Life” run in collaboration between the ILO, the University of Amsterdam and the Indian Institute of Management.


Justmeans is the world’s leading source of information and connections for the sustainable business industry. Founded in 2008, the company rapidly grew its online community of practitioners, investors, journalists, activists, and students to 250,000 registered users. A wide variety of companies rely on Justmeans news distribution services to create, distribute, and analyze performance on media releases related to social and environmental performance. Justmeans is also the publisher of the Social Innovation Awards and a number of leading conferences in the sustainable business industry.

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