There are currently 20,000+ social enterprises across Australia, with over 30% having commenced trading in the past 5 years. In 2017, Western Australia lags far behind, with an estimated 100-200, a reflection of the lack of meaningful investment in growing this sector. Importantly, policy conditions aren’t yet in place to support the demand side for impact investing and social procurement in WA.
On 15th November, Impact Seed took part in the WA Government’s Innovation Consortium hosted by the Hon. David Kelly, Minister for Innovation and ICT, in a round table discussion on the role of government in supporting innovation and job creation. Representing the social innovation agenda, we advocated for social procurement and its vital but untapped potential for job creation and social uplift within our communities; Also the significant flow-on effects of government policy support for social innovation more broadly; including creating the conditions for private and social sector co-investment in innovative new social impact ventures, and its capacity to drive innovation across WA’s not-for-profit sector, which employs 120,000 Western Australians and represents a $13.7Billion contribution to the WA economy.
In 2018, ImpactSeed will focus its attention on leveraging the demand side through advocating for social procurement, matching social enterprises with both impact investors and potential NFP co-investment, and supporting the growth of the innovative social impact ventures in WA through our social innovation program. We are hopeful that the growing momentum elsewhere will motivate our State Government to align its policy approaches to capitalise on this great untapped opportunity.