In Australia

The forms social enterprises can take and the industries they operate in are so many and various that it has always been a challenge to define, find and count social enterprises. In 2009 Social Traders partnered with the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology to define social enterprise and, for the first time in Australia, to identify and map the social enterprise sector: its scope, its variety of forms, its reasons for trading, its financial dimensions, and the individuals and communities social enterprises aim to benefit. This Finding Australias Social Enterprise Sector project produced its final report in June 2010. The project was led by Associate Professor Jo Barraket, Australias leading social enterprise academic. One of the key features of this Australian research is its intention to define social enterprise in a way that was informed by and made sense to those working in or with social enterprises. The research design therefore included workshops to explore and test what social enterprise managers, researchers, and relevant policy makers meant by the term social enterprise. This was the resulting definition: Social enterprises are organisations that: Are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit; Trade to fulfil their mission; Derive a substantial portion of their income from trade; and Reinvest the majority of their profit/surplus in the fulfilment of their mission. Finding Australias Social Enterprise Sector (FASES) The forms social enterprises can take and the industries they operate in are so many and various that it has always been a challenge to define, find and count social enterprises. In 2009 Social Traders partnered with the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology to define social enterprise and, for the first time in Australia, to identify and map the social enterprise sector: its scope, its variety of forms its reasons for trading, its financial dimensions, and the individuals and communities social enterprises aim to benefit. This FASES project (Finding Australias Social Enterprise Sector) produced its final report in June 2010. The project was led by Associate Professor Jo Barraket, Australias leading social enterprise academic. A research-based definition of social enterprise Definitions of social enterprises and estimates of their numbers in countries overseas have tended to be determined somewhat arbitrarily for example, using available information based on legal structures. One of the key features of this Australian research is its intention to define social enterprise in a way that was informed by and made sense to those working in or with social enterprises. The research design therefore included workshops to explore and test what social enterprise managers, researchers, and relevant policy makers meant by the term social enterprise. This was the resulting definition: Social enterprises are organisations that: a. Are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit; b. Trade to fulfil their mission1; c. Derive a substantial portion of their income from trade2; and d. Reinvest the majority of their profit/surplus in the fulfilment of their mission. 1. Where trade is defined as the organised exchange of goods and services, including: monetary, non-monetary and alternative currency transactions, where these are sustained activities of an enterprise; contractual sales to governments, where there has been an open tender process ; and trade within member-based organisations, where membership is open and voluntary or where membership serves a traditionally marginalised social group. 2. Operationalised as 50% or more for ventures that are more than five years from start-up, 25% or more for ventures that are three to five years from start-up, and demonstrable intention to trade for ventures that are less than two years from start-up.

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