How we can respond to the Government’s announcement for SE sector support

Last week the Prime Minister, Minister Flavell and Minister Ngaro announced a range of actions and investments that Government will be taking to support the growth of social enterprise in New Zealand. $1.85m per year to be exact.

Govt announces $1.85m in support for SE sector in NZ
Bill English speaking at the Social Enterprise Summit event at Parliament on July 4th 2017

This initiative is an important step forward for social enterprise in New Zealand, and is important in our journey to creating a world-class sector.

Social enterprise is kind of a ‘Swiss army knife’ solution to everything thousands of New Zealanders are trying to achieve, including:

  • Having a more inclusive economy
  • Creating business opportunities that externalise benefits, not costs
  • Redistributing resources to places where they are most need and can make a significant impact
  • Innovating and finding solutions to some of our biggest problems

Social enterprise is a way we can do all of this (and more), while saying, ‘we care, we are determined, and we take charge of our future.’

Yes, social enterprise is business. But it is business in service to people; conducted in a very human way. It is also a movement that is growing, global, and entirely relevant to the fast changing world and times that we’re moving into.

What we have lacked in the sector so far is the connectedness, intention and coherence that make our collective effort far more powerful.

The benefits of creating a robust and productive social enterprise sector are enormous. There are plenty models of success worldwide.

So how do we get from here to there?

Thankfully, there are plenty of working precedents of how this can be done. Making progress really just comes down to applying all that knowledge and experience.

We need to take a long-term approach and commit to getting the job done.

Ākina team at Parliament event - Social Enterprise Summit on July 4th
Anake Goodall, Helene Malandain, Louise Aitken, Gavin Fernandez and Simon Cooke from Ākina Foundation attending the SE Summit event at Parliament

There are four key things we need to do (and do well) in order to make New Zealand a world-leading market for social enterprise within the next five years.

1. Build skills and capability, and provide growth support through all stages of social enterprise development.

Done well, this support will pay dividends in both profitability and impact, move social enterprise into the mainstream, enable local leadership, and radically expand the number of people equipped to innovate, regardless of who, and where, they are.

2. Build a market for impact investment where there is financing for both innovation and growth

This means making access to capital more efficient for social enterprises, as well as enabling more investors – be they private, philanthropic, or citizens – to use their capital for social change as well as financial return.

3. Create a marketplace for impact

This will foster an environment where consumers and supply chain managers alike increase their trade with social enterprises and unlock more value through their everyday purchasing and procurement decisions. We also need to be able to appropriately reward and expand the most effective interventions.

4. Establish a sector infrastructure where social enterprises are connected to each other

Through this connectedness, we learn from robust and enabling data, where policy is connected to needs and opportunities of the market. Where the resources of government, local government, philanthropy, big business, and civil society are aligned with their own interests, complementary to each other, and focused on enabling entrepreneurs to get on with the job at hand.

Now, no one party is responsible for making this happen. To get there, every party needs to do their bit.

The Government announcements last week enhance the legitimacy of social enterprise, bring investors to the table, and enable us to organise and move forward with confidence.
Alex speaking at Parliament for the SE Summit event on July 4

CE of Ākina Foundation, Alex Hannant, speaking at the SE Summit event at Parliament on July 4th 2017

A global forum for social enterprise

What better platform to learn from others and discuss ideas than at the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) to be held in Christchurch 27th-29th September.

Co-designed by more than 500 contributors, the focus of the event is ‘Ka koroki te manu – creating our tomorrow’, or, as I see it, using trade (our oldest technology) as a means to celebrate our identity, facilitate innovation, and deliver impact.

The SEWF 2017 programme seeks to cater for all interests and learning styles, and also creates space for the targeted conversations that need to happen.

Around 800 tickets have already sold, with around 400 remaining. To learn more about getting involved and joining the conversation, visit the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 page.