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New support for SA social enterprises offering a solution to growing unemployment

Social Traders has launched its full suite of services into South Australia as it looks to maximise the potential for addressing disadvantage and unemployment through the state’s growing social enterprise sector.

Rapid growth of South Australia’s social enterprise sector and the critical role social enterprise has in the recovery from COVID-19 made this a vital time to invest in South Australian resources, according to Social Traders Managing Director David Brookes.

For the first time, Social Traders will have a dedicated SA-based staff member working to identify and capitalise on social procurement opportunities between social enterprises and the business and Government sectors.

Brookes said his team would work closely with the South Australian Social Enterprise Council (SASEC) and other key stakeholder groups to magnify each other’s work in supporting the social enterprise sector.

“We estimate that there are hundreds of social enterprises operating in South Australia, creating jobs and making a significant contribution to the state’s economy,” Brookes said. “We’re investing in resources here because a strategic and integrated approach is critical to foster growth and realise the potential of social enterprise.”

Around Australia, Brookes shared they have seen first-hand the significant difference that private and public-sector buyers can make to reducing intractable disadvantage by incorporating social enterprise into their procurement practices.

“During FY18 and FY19, Social Traders facilitated more than $105 million in sales between buyer members and certified social enterprises. This has supported around 700 jobs for people facing some form of disadvantage as well as providing over $2 million in donations to communities, more than $4 million in free and low-cost services and around 220,000 hours of training,”he said.

These numbers provide a compelling indication of the impact social procurement can have and the value of the Social Traders marketplace. The organisation will focus on promoting the value of Social Traders Certification, as well as engaging with business and Government bodies looking to invest in social impact.

Social Traders says it has seen growing demand from buyers to engage with social enterprises in South Australia over the past 12 months, in a sign the emerging marketplace is rapidly gaining momentum.

In 2020 the University of Adelaide and Adelaide City Council came on board as Social Traders business and Government members. At the same time, Social Traders business and Government members including Transdev, McConnel Dowell, John Holland, CPB, Fulton Hogan, Lendlease and Laing O’Rourke have all sought information on social enterprises that can supply to them in SA. Brookes added that the State Government’s recent announcement of a $120 million infrastructure development pipeline represented a prime opportunity for social enterprise engagement.

Amy Orange, a staunch advocate for the emerging social enterprise sector in SA, has been engaged by Social Traders to develop this emerging marketplace opportunity across the state.

Social Traders is a social enterprise that supports organisation, supporting job creation for disadvantaged people by connecting certified social enterprises to procurement opportunities in the Government and business sector.

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