The intent of the WA Social Enterprise Mapping Project is to develop a baseline picture of the state of social enterprise in Western Australia, understanding the capacity of and challenges faced by social enterprises, and the environments within which they operate. Phase 1 was undertaken between August – November 2019 through a sector-wide survey. This Preliminary Summary Report is the output of that phase. Phase 2 will be undertaken through March – June 2020.
This work has been led by Impact Seed and supported by the State Government’s New Industries Fund XTEND Program. For the purposes of the WA Social Enterprise Mapping Project, we have endeavoured to be as inclusive as possible. So, though acknowledging the narrower Finding Australia’s Social Enterprises (FASES) definition (see Introduction), we have used a broader definition of social enterprise:
Social enterprise is defined as a unique entity that derives most of its income from tradeand reinvests a significant proportion of its profit in furthering its mission.
In total there were 173 responses to the Phase 1 survey.
- The largest proportion of WA’s social enterprises are start-ups, having been founded since 2014, which are seeking early stage/catalytic funding support. It is important to also note,however, the many NFP organisations now trading to fulfil mission either through social enterprise or a trading arm have been established for decades.
- Most of WA’s social enterprises primarily operate in the greater Perth region (67.1%);however, we had responses from most regions across the state.
- The most cited impact area for WA’s social enterprises is community inclusion and belonging (24.3%); though cumulatively, enterprises with a primary impact area of the environment (waste, carbon and sustainable energy, and food, fibre and regenerative systems) comprised 26.6% of responses.
- The largest proportion of respondents (36%) are very small/early stage start-up enterprises,with revenue between $10k – $99k. Altogether, 77.1% of respondents are either pre revenue, early revenue and/or earning less than $99k per annum. This demonstrates the fact that we are still early in market development in WA.
- More than half of the responses (50.3%, 87 responses) were start-up or existing enterprise in a for-profit, co-operative or hybrid structure. Nearly 1/5 (19.7%, 34 responses) were notfor-profit organisations looking to start up a social enterprise; and the remainder were either NFPs with trading arms/auspiced enterprises, or social enterprises with an NFP structure
- The most cited mission for NFPs fell into the broad category of community/human development – enterprises focussed on upskilling, educating and connecting people, and building people and communities to be the best they can be
- WA’s social enterprises have taken on some investment/start-up funding, and critically,require further catalytic investment to grow (92.1%).
Only 3 of 169 responses stated that they could not see the need for a WA Social Enterprise Council (WASEC). Altogether, 58% of respondents want to see a WASEC delivering on links tofunding opportunities, and links with investors. The next three most popular proposed areas of responsibility for WASEC are advocacy, capacity building and promotion of social enterprises..