Finding Australia's Social Enterprise Sector (FASES)
Social enterprises use trade to create social, cultural or environmental value. The majority of social enterprises are non profit or limited profit distributing businesses, although some take on a for profit social business form.
There has been growing interest by governments, business, the not for profit sector and philanthropy in social enterprise in Australia over the past decade. This reflects a growing need for creative responses to complex social and environmental problems, as well as new pressures on not for profit organisations to diversify their income sources. Australia has a strong history of social enterprise in the form of cooperatives, friendly societies and nonprofit business ventures such as opportunity shops. It is also home to a wide variety of new forms of social enterprise that operate within a range of different industries and fulfil their social objectives through many different creatively conceived forms.
Despite growing interest in social enterprise, we know relatively little about the dimensions or impacts of Australia's social enterprise sector. The purpose of the FASES project is to map the range and scope of social enterprises in Australia. The research will be used to determine the number of Australian social enterprises, the geographic and industry areas in which they operate, and their social and economic contributions.
This information will be used to advocate for the needs of Australia's social enterprise sector. It will also be used to produce an online social enterprise directory, to promote the benefits, goods and services of the sector to the public, governments, business, and each other.
FASES is being conducted by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Queensland University of Technology in conjunction with Social Traders. Social Traders has been set up to encourage and support social enterprise development in Australia. Incorporated as a company limited by guarantee, Social Traders has an independent Board of Directors responsible for governance and strategic direction of the organisation. The project will only succeed with the involvement of a wide range of social enterprises. We hope that you will consider contributing to this exciting project by providing us with the benefit of your knowledge of specific social enterprises across the country.