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New CSI report reveals agility and dynamism as key to social enterprises

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A new study has revealed that successful social enterprises show resourcefulness, creativity, agility and dynamism in the way they run their business.

The latest Bankwest Foundation Social Impact Series report includes analysis from a first wave of data collection from WA social enterprises.

Report authors Doctor Chris Mason, senior research fellow with the Centre of Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne University and Professor Jo Barraket, director of the CSI Swinburne University said that the research highlights the great agility and dynamism of social enterprises in seeking out the resources they need in order to run their business in a way that creates positive social impact.

“The research was designed to cover social enterprises at different stages of growth, so we really get to see where they face significant barriers to building their business, and where this impacts their goal in achieving social impact,” said Mason and Barraket.

“By monitoring the social enterprises over a period of eighteen months, we have been able to capture the diverse experiences that a social enterprise faces from start-up and beyond, and we can clearly see the implications for the development of financial products and tools to foster social enterprise growth.”

The report titled How do Western Australia’s Social Enterprises meet their Financial Challenges is the fourth in the Social Impact Series, which was launched last year as part of a five-year research program.

Director of the CSI at The University of Western Australia, Professor Paul Flatau, said this was an important piece of research because for the first time, we can fully understand the financial and resourcing challenges facing social enterprises.

“We can see that social enterprises adopt both formal and informal strategies and are flexible in the way they access their resources; truly agile organisations on a mission to achieve social impact,” Flatau said.

“We hope this research will help open the door to more appropriate financing and support to ensure our social enterprises thrive.”

The report was launched as part of a workshop attended by social enterprises, not-for-profit executives, and managers of policy and research units, key public policy decision makers and community organisations.

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