The contribution of Australian social enterprises to the national economy has been found to be worth over $21 billion and the sector employs as many people as the mining industry, new Social Enterprise Australia research reveals.
The research, Business for good: The size and economic contribution of social enterprise in Australia, found more than 12,000 social enterprises, provided more than 206,000 jobs. The employment figures equate to 1.6% of the national workforce.
“It shows that — despite limited Federal Government recognition and support — the social enterprise sector makes a significant economic contribution to Australia,” Social Enterprise Australia CEO Jess Moore said about the report.
In each state and territory the estimated number of social enterprises are:
- 3,148 in Victoria
- 2,174 in Queensland
- 399 in Tasmania
- 851 in South Australia
- 995 in Western Australia
- 4,042 in New South Wales
- 244 in the Northern Territory
- 180 in the Australian Capital Territory
In total, social enterprise makes an estimated contribution of $21.27 billion per year to the Australian economy, the research revealed.
“For comparison, arts and recreation services contribute $14.98 billion to the Australian economy and agriculture, forestry and fishing contribute $50.86 billion to the Australian economy,” the research states.
Moore said the economic contribution and size of social enterprises strengthened the case for greater government partnerships and support and a cohesive national strategy to grow the sector.
“Off the back of this research, we call on the federal government to work with our sector on a national strategy to unlock the full potential of social enterprise. This can help move Australia to an economy that puts wellbeing first,” Moore told Pro Bono Australia.
“Without a federal government strategy, Australia risks falling behind other countries where social enterprise drives positive social and environmental change. There are an average 466 social enterprises in Australia per 1 million people, compared to 1,102 per million people in Scotland, 571 per million in Hong Kong and 528 per million in New Zealand.”