Listen up social enterprises!

Having worked for over four years in the social enterprise sector with YMCA and Social Traders with a focus on building visibility and sector growth, I know how challenging it is to achieve a balanced business model that generates social impact and income. As a result, social enterprises are perceived as risky for investment, and many experience barriers to funding and resources to build their business. Historically, philanthropic foundations such as the English Family Foundation has been a large supporter of creating and nurturing opportunities for social enterprises. More recently, the Victorian Government has also stepped up to the plate.  It released its first-ever social enterprise strategy in 2017, which recognised that social enterprise plays a key role in delivering social and economic outcomes, helping to deliver inclusive economic growth through creating jobs, improving workforce participation and boosting productivity.

This strategy is underpinned by the “Boost your business” program, which provides a $25,000 voucher incentive for social enterprises to access business capability development through registered service providers.  In the previous voucher round, Ellis Jones as a registered service provider supported Earthworker Cooperative to refine and enhance their business model, identify and get to know their customer, and create a market access plan that would allow them to launch into market with gusto.

This program is central to building the capability of social enterprises to engage with social procurement opportunities. Currently, the Victorian Government has found for example that there are not enough robust social enterprises to fulfill its social procurement priorities. While the Government’s social procurement framework has been perceived as a huge success, having had a ripple effect on other business implementing the framework to win government tenders, it has also put a spotlight on the challenges and business capability needs of the social enterprise sector.

The opportunity is now for social enterprises to grow in Victoria, and the $25000 boost your business voucher can help you become contract ready.

Details about this round to build your capability as a social enterprise.
The Victorian government has opened the third round of $25,000 voucher applications for the boost your business vouchers social enterprise stream. At the romantic time of midnight, this round of applications will close on Sunday the 12th of May. Ellis Jones can help your social enterprise to become more productive, create market access and increase your scale, profitability and impact. Ellis Jones will combine advice and planning, capacity development and implementation aspects and can coach your social enterprise through the application to ensure you have the best chance of your application being successful.

We can support your social enterprise to be contract ready.
With the Social Procurement strategy in full swing, local government and business alike are looking for opportunities to incorporate and include social enterprise into their business supply chains.  What we can do is ensure you have policies in place, complete due diligence, provide tender guidance and strategy to equip you to access government and corporate procurement opportunities.

We can help you do better by developing social impact evaluation.
We now live in a world where you can’t just say that you are doing good, you need to provide evidence of doing good and be able to communicate why this matters. At Ellis Jones we have the expertise to developed social impact frameworks and reporting processes that will allow you to collect and analyse data within your resources and communicate outcomes of your social enterprise’s great work. In turn, your social enterprise can weave this purpose led data into future grant writing or business reports which will enable you to access more customers and funding.

We can help you increase new market development by identifying new market opportunities and developing workable plans to access those market.
Helping you to identify who your customer is by deeply understanding your customer’s emotional and functional needs. At Ellis Jones we are experts at brand identity development. We will tailor your brand to meet your customer’s needs so that they are able to connect with you. We can build your social enterprise’s visual identity design to assist with market access and branding and develop a marketing and communications strategy, including messaging tactics, channel identification. We also have a passionate team who can develop your market access/launch plans including marketing activities.

What is required from you?
As a $25000 voucher system, the boost your business voucher covers 80% of the total cost of services towards business capability project… The catch is that the social enterprise will need to co-contribute the remaining 20% towards the project. The vouchers are issued in the name of the Applicant and have no cash value, and are non-transferable.

Talk to us if you want to know more about the boost your business voucher or how Ellis Jones can work to support your social enterprise.