An $8 million helping hand for state’s growing social enterprise sector
Published Saturday, 29 May, 2021 at 10:30 AM
Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Di Farmer
Queensland’s growing social enterprise sector has been given an extra $8 million to help create jobs over the next two years.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the new Social Enterprise Jobs Fund will help the sector to grow, scale-up activities and create more training and employment opportunities, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged Queenslanders.
“This is all about creating jobs and opportunities as we continue to implement Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” Ms Farmer said.
“The fund builds on the Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy (QSES), which was released in September 2019, and aims to develop the sector’s capability and capacity, foster connections and raise awareness, and improve market access.
"Social enterprises will share in $3 million in development and growth grants targeting new and established businesses and community and sector-wide development.
“The Community Social Enterprise Development grants guidelines are available now (from today) and grants applications will open this Thursday (3 June 2021), with further grants to be rolled out in the coming months.
“A further $5 million will build the strength and resilience of the sector and maximise opportunities to supply to government.
“These new programs will build on the $1 million in support provided to social enterprises since the release of the strategy.”
The Minister said 26 social enterprises previously shared in $450,000 of grants to access professional advice and support to establish and grow their businesses.
“Brisbane social enterprise, the Mu’ooz Eritrean Restaurant and Catering business, which trains refugee and migrant women, received one of the first social enterprise grants,” Ms Farmer said.
Mu’ooz Director Saba Abraham said the funding enabled the business to implement a marketing and engagement strategy, employ extra staff and significantly boost confidence in promoting its services.
“The grant helped us create a new product, a traditional sauce that is packaged, and due to the success of this product we are looking to employ another full-time chef, “Ms Abraham said.
WorkRestart Social Enterprises also received funding for a project that aims to create up to 200 jobs for former prison inmates.
“The project has secured 20 positions with local businesses and placed eight former inmates in jobs in construction and light manufacturing in the last two months.
“WorkRestart is employing additional staff to manage the project, which includes work on social housing.
“Under the strategy, eight Queensland sector leaders also attended the Social Enterprise World Forum in Ethiopia in 2019 to build knowledge, make global connections and support Queensland’s successful bid to host the event in 2022,” Ms Farmer said.
"The jobs fund will harness the momentum built through the support to date and continue to promote a vibrant, diverse and sustainable social enterprise sector in Queensland.
“It will help the sector to continue to develop and grow through providing grants, promoting potential procurement opportunities and supporting social enterprises to train and employ more Queenslanders.
“It will also continue to support the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC) as the sector’s peak body with a renewed funding agreement until 30 June 2023 to enable the council to continue to provide a key consultative role.
“We will work with the council and sector stakeholders to ensure that these initiatives respond to the unique opportunities and challenges for social enterprise in Queensland.
‘It’s fitting to make this announcement during Small Business Month given the important role that social enterprises play in Queensland’s small business landscape”.
For more information on support available for social enterprises visit: https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/future-skills-fund
Media contact: Richard O'Leary 0447155332