Wednesday, January 19, 2022

New NSW government agreement to create more jobs, boost social enterprise sector

A new agreement signed by the NSW Government is set to boost the social enterprise sector in NSW and create job opportunities for people most in need.

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the agreement with Social Traders would make it easier for Government departments to secure goods and services from certified social enterprises.

“Social Traders certifies and maintains a list of entities that meet recognised social enterprise requirements and NSW Government departments can now access and use this information to increase the social impact of their procurements,” Mr Tudehope said.

“COVID-19 has hit many businesses, including the social enterprise sector.

“This agreement will enable NSW Government departments to use their procurement spend to support social enterprises and create employment opportunities for some of our community members most impacted by COVID-19.”

Social enterprises are purpose-driven businesses that exist to benefit the community, often through creating jobs for groups facing higher barriers to employment, including people with disabilities, refugees, Aboriginal people, young people and people who are long-term unemployed.

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They reinvest profits into supporting disadvantaged Australians in the community and developing solutions to social, environmental, economic or cultural challenges.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the agreement would support businesses and benefit the community.

“Social enterprises provide meaningful employment and significantly enhance the social and economic participation of disadvantaged people across our state,” Mr Ward said.

“This agreement is an example of the Government’s proactive work to support those most in need, and will provide a valuable boost to the economy at this critical time.”

Social Traders managing director David Brookes said he was excited to welcome the NSW Government to the growing community of business and government buying from social enterprises.

“Social enterprises are businesses like any other, but they exist to support the most vulnerable in our communities,” Mr Brookes said.

“These enterprises have a particularly unique role to play in the COVID-19 economic recovery by creating jobs for the most vulnerable who have fallen out of the job market.

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“The potential to support disadvantaged people in NSW by allocating some of the NSW Government’s procurement spend to social enterprise is enormous.”

Beehive Industries is a Darlinghurst-based social enterprise certified by Social Traders which offers work activity, meals and support for seniors, people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed.

The not-for-profit enterprise, which is mainly funded by its packaging, assembly and mailhouse services, has been doing work with NSW Government for more than 20 years.

CEO Brendan Lonergan said the new agreement was a significant step and would increase the awareness of social procurement within government departments and beyond.

“The revenue we earn lets us support close to 200 people – we keep people active and engaged in a safe and supportive environment, we feed them and we help people with social isolation and mental health issues,” Mr Lonergan said.

For more information about Social Traders certification go to www.socialtraders.com.au/social-enterprise

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