Australia’s social entrepreneurs have battled a fragmented ecosystem that’s 10 years behind the UK to find the support and resources to start and grow a successful social enterprise – until now. To supercharge our social entrepreneurs’ impact, Jay Boolkin and Anne Lennon have launched Social Change Central, Australia’s first dedicated social enterprise opportunities portal.
The new enterprise launched by Jay (social entrepreneur and Myer Foundation Fellow) and Anne (corporate lawyer turned social entrepreneur) has already listed over $680m in funding opportunities, and has been named a 2016 ANZ Nexus Innovator Award finalist. Its mission is to connect Australia’s social entrepreneurs with the support they need to convert their passion for social change into real social impact.
Australia’s growing social enterprise sector contributes 2-3% of GDP.* More than 20,000 social enterprises cross every industry and employ more than 300,000 people - from STREAT (the cafe chain training youth at risk) to Hireup (an app that matches people with disabilities to local support workers). Australia’s under-developed social enterprise ecosystem hasn’t had the strategic support seen in the UK or other parts of Europe.
“I’ve seen firsthand how some of our most promising social entrepreneurs struggle to find the resources they need to get life-changing or world-changing ideas off the ground. Social Change Central will fix that”, says Boolkin.
Social Change Central will foster collaboration and build strong, sustainable social enterprises by bringing together intermediaries and connecting members with the support they need. “Social Change Central is an advocate for social enterprise in the community,” adds Lennon, “It will raise awareness and drive more government, corporate and philanthropic players to get behind social enterprise as a catalyst for widespread social and environmental impact”.
CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia, Michelle Goldman, welcomes the launch of the new portal: “Social enterprises tackle some of our most entrenched social issues. Social Change Central will connect social enterprises with the support they need, increasing the chance of achieving their mission, and adding value to the social fabric of our communities.”
About Social Change Central
Social Change Central is Australia’s first dedicated social enterprise opportunities portal. It connects social entrepreneurs with support and resources to convert their ideas into real social impact. With funding, awards, competitions, exposure and programs, Social Change Central is a one-stop hub for social enterprise opportunities in Australia and internationally.
About Jay Boolkin
Jay is the founder of Promise or Pay, recognised by the industry as reinvigorating charitable giving and engaging people not previously inclined to donate. It has received awards from Deloitte, General Assembly and Optus, and in 2015, Jay was selected as one of Australia’s top 50 young social entrepreneurs by the Foundation for Young Australians. He is the recipient of an Innovation Fellowship from the Myer Foundation and was selected as the Young Entrepreneur Finalist in the Sydney SHINE Awards.
About Anne Lennon
Anne is a corporate lawyer who spent 8 years working in a leading international law firm before moving into the social enterprise sector. She is co-founder of the award-winning social enterprise, SheWorks, which increases the workforce participation of women experiencing disadvantage by providing recruitment and post-placement services to organisations seeking to attract more female employees. In 2014, Anne was recognised as an emerging leader for social change by the Australian Centre for Social Impact. She is also a recipient of the Quinn Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
*Source: Barraket, Jo, Mason, Chris & Blain, Blake. (2016). Finding Australia's social enterprise sector 2016: final report. Social Traders.