April 7, 2016

Media release: Agility and dynamism the key to WA’s social enterprises

The Centre for Social Impact has published its fourth report as part of the Bankwest Foundation Social Impact Series. Titled 'How do Western Australia’s Social Enterprises meet their Financial Challenges' is part of a five-year research program made possible by the partnership between the Bankwest Foundation and UWA Centre for Social Impact (UWA CSI).

This latest Bankwest Foundation Social Impact Series report includes analysis from a first wave of data collection from WA social enterprises.

Report authors Doctor Chris Mason, senior research fellow with the Centre of Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne University and Professor Jo Barraket, director of the CSI Swinburne University said that the research highlights the great agility and dynamism of social enterprises in seeking out the resources they need in order to run their business in a way that creates positive social impact.

“The research was designed to cover social enterprises at different stages of growth, so we really get to see where they face significant barriers to building their business, and where this impacts their goal in achieving social impact,” Dr Mason and Professor Barraket said.

“By monitoring the social enterprises over a period of eighteen months, we have been able to capture the diverse experiences that a social enterprise faces from start-up and beyond, and we can clearly see the implications for the development of financial products and tools to foster social enterprise growth.”

Successful social enterprises show resourcefulness, creativity, agility and dynamism in the way they run their business as they balance the need to achieve social purpose with commercial focus – a recent study has revealed.

However, in order to support this thriving industry, there is a need to develop more formal, structured financial resources that are designed specifically for social enterprises with the support from government and larger financial institutions.

Director of the CSI at The University of Western Australia, Professor Paul Flatau, said this was an important piece of research because for the first time, we can fully understand the financial and resourcing challenges facing social enterprises.

“We can see that social enterprises adopt both formal and informal strategies and are flexible in the way they access their resources; truly agile organisations on a mission to achieve social impact,” Professor Flatau said.

“We hope this research will help open the door to more appropriate financing and support to ensure our social enterprises thrive.”

The report was launched this morning as part of a workshop attended by social enterprises, not-for-profit executives, managers of policy and research units, key public policy decision makers, community organisations, community funders and business supporters.

The study will now proceed with the second round of data collection and analysis as part of wave two of the research program, with key findings presented in the next Social Impact Series snapshot report.

Contact for media enquiries

Lyndal Stuart
Communications & Marketing Manager
Phone 02 8936 0918


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