The emerging need for Social Enterprise

How can social enterprises contribute to a post-pandemic recovery? Karlie Cremin of DLPA shares her insights

The emerging need for Social Enterprise

Given the increased focus businesses are placing on corporate social responsibility, it’s not hugely surprising to see that social enterprises have grown in popularity. But what exactly are they?

Social enterprises are organisations which exist for a social purpose, and contribute at least 50% of their profit to that causem explains Karlie Cremin, director and owner of DLPA.  They differ from not-for-profits, with distinct governance structures, and usually feature more commercial operations. Their use and prevalence has been increasing over recent years as Government priorities have shifted towards supporting these types of endeavours, particularly in Victoria.

Cremin notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly highlighted in the importance of social enterprises, and potentially provides opportunity for an expanded role in the Australian business landscape. 

“DLPA made the transition to being a social enterprise 2 years ago,” says Cremin.  “But over the last few months, we’ve seen a significant increase in enquiries about our  programs as organisations ready themselves for economic recovery.”  

One of DLPA’s programs is aimed at supporting women from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter or re-enter employment.

“We’ve seen a lot of people making contact about joining our program and being supported into upskilling or finding new career options following the downturn in certain industries,” says Cremin. “Additionally, we’re also getting a lot of interest from businesses who are interested in how their business spend can be used to support these types of programs.”

Cremin sees such programs as a critical means that social enterprise can help support and accelerate Australia’s recovery.

“When businesses engage with social enterprises with the money they spend -- usually on products and services they would purchase anyway as part of their business -- the money goes directly into supporting a cause,” explains Cremin.

Through supporting organisations such as DLPA, businesses are providing opportunities to disadvantaged workers to create long-term change.  In turn, this provides relief to a welfare system likely to be under significant stress in coming years – it’s an approach that Cremin believes could see Australia pull through post-pandemic recovery much more successfully.

“If a larger percentage of business and government spend was channelled through organisations which exist for a social purpose, Australia would be a very different place,” says Cremin. “I think charitable donations are likely to be much lower in coming months and years as people have reduced capacity to look after anyone other then their immediate community. However, if the profit from regular business activity is going towards social support, we could start to see great results with reduced reliance on government intervention. The end result could be a much more resilient Australia.”

Recent articles & video

Nine Entertainment reviews workplace culture amid harassment allegations

Fired for requesting female toilets and filing sexual assault complaints?

Manager cries forced resignation due to employer's 'racist' conduct, false accusations

Australia's advertised salary growth rate up 4.3% annually

Most Read Articles

FWC finds early notice of end to fixed-term contract amounts to dismissal

SafeWork NSW announces more compliance checks for psychological safety

2 in 3 Australians OK with date change for Australia Day