|Foresters Community Finance was successful in its tender to the Australian Government's Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund (SEDIF) in mid 2011. As a direct result, Foresters will use the allocated funding to create financial products for social enterprises nationwide through Foresters' Social Enterprise Solutions program.
Social Enterprise Solutions became operational in September 2011 and has had over 125 enquiries for finance since, with many organisations proceeding through its due diligence process.
Social Enterprise Solutions workshops are conducted across Australia. Workshops raise awareness of and promote asset building both as a concept and a distinct strategy for social enterprises, specifically in terms of property ownership.
Social Enterprise Solutions assists social enterprises to strengthen their financial and social sustainability, which in turn facilitates many diverse positive social and community outcomes.
What is a social enterprise?
Social Enterprise Solutions defines social enterprises as 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.^
Social Enterprise Solutions will work with community businesses, social businesses, intermediate labour market organisations and the trading arms of charities who conduct a social enterprise.
What are some examples of a social enterprise?
- An independent social enterprise seeking finance for business growth that would not meet the criteria of a mainstream financier
- A social enterprise that is part of a parent organisation that has the capacity to access finance on behalf of the social enterprise to support its growth
- An enterprising non-profit seeking to increase its scale and social impact through a business proposal
The focus of these social enterprises will be wide and varied and may include (but not limited to) a focus on employment inclusion, affordable housing, cultural production, the environment and other objectives. Social Enterprise Solutions will require a social enterprise to demonstrate a market mechanism to fulfil their mission in any one sector.
^ Finding Australia's Social Enterprise Sector, Social Traders and the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, June 2010