Map for Impact Victorian social enterprise mapping project

Victoria’s Social Enterprises are thriving and contribute significant jobs and economic growth; 3,500 enterprises, 60,000 jobs and $5.2 billion poured into the Victorian economy.

The Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment has announced the key findings from the Map for Impact Victorian Social Enterprise Mapping Project as part of Victoria’s Social Enterprise Strategy. The report finds that Victoria’s social enterprises are thriving, vibrant, and important contributors to the Victorian economy.

The report shows that Victoria’s social enterprises contribute at least $5.2 billion to the Victorian economy, and generate around 60,000 jobs which is nearly 2% of the Victorian workforce. They also are actively contributing to an inclusive economy, with 12,000 of those jobs specifically created for people with a disability.

The project, led by the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology (CSI Swinburne), and commissioned by Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, has for the first time revealed the size and scope of Victoria’s social enterprise sector and demonstrates the importance of its contribution to the economy, and to society.

“This report echoes exactly what we have felt all along, that Victoria’s social enterprises are not only incredibly important to the Victorian economy, but they’re having a huge impact on society,” said the Minister. “Whether it’s cafes and catering, finance, or even mining, there are social enterprises that exist across all industries. Their contribution is creating jobs, creating a positive economic impact, and creating a positive social impact. This is a Victorian success story.”

Project lead and CSI Swinburne director, Professor Jo Barraket said that social enterprises are diverse and often complex, with variances in legal structure, size, industry sector, social mission, and sources of income. “Social enterprises are notoriously challenging to identify and locate. With the Map for Impact project, our aims were twofold: first to identify and locate Victoria’s social enterprises, then understand their characteristics and impacts. We already know what a vital role they play in the social impact landscape, but revealing their economic and employment impacts has been really exciting.”

The majority of Victoria’s social enterprises are less than ten years old, which indicates that it is a burgeoning way of doing business. It also highlights the opportunity to focus sector-building efforts on supporting early stage enterprises to ensure their ongoing success. Dr Erin Castellas, lead researcher, said that there are a myriad of interventions that could be implemented:

“We know that social enterprises struggle with a lack of resources to support marketing, communication, and business development. Imagine a coordinated approach that includes policy support, government funding, early stage financing, capacity building, and so on. The research really shows the ways we can develop social enterprises and further enhance the inclusive economy that they foster."