Key Findings

Map for Impact data indicates that there are over 3,500 social enterprises in Victoria.

More than 4 in 10 of the social enterprises identified in the Map4Impact interactive map are located in regional Victoria. Regional Victoria is home to 1.6 of the 6 million people living in Victoria, this means there are more social enterprise operations per person in regional areas, compared to the metropolitan area of Greater Melbourne (cf p. 18 of report…).

Industry sectors

Victoria’s social enterprises operate across all industry classifications, with 29% in Cultural and Recreational Services, 20% in Retail Trade and 15% in Health and Social Assistance. Although these three industries were the top three industries in Victoria’s six regions, each region has social enterprises operating in diverse industry sectors.

Social mission

Most (84%) of Victoria’s social enterprises focus on addressing social issues and delivering impact within the state of Victoria. Most of Victoria’s social enterprises are place-based; 40% of enterprises focus on creating opportunities for people to participate in their community, 31% provide needed goods or services for a specific area, and 5% create meaningful employment and training opportunities for people from a specific area.


Victoria’s social enterprises create jobs for more than 60,000 individuals, representing 1.8% of the state’s workforce. This equates to around 35,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Unlike traditional commercial businesses, Victorian social enterprises are intentionally labour intensive, with the proportion of their labour force equating to approximately twice the proportion of Gross State Product they produce.

20% of Victoria’s social enterprise workforce is people with disability (i.e. 12,000 jobs) and 7% of jobs are held by people previously experiencing long-term unemployment.

Trade activities

58% of revenue in Victoria’s social enterprises is derived from trade (sale of products and services). The majority (69%) of Victorian social enterprises sell services and 20% sell products.

13% of Victoria’s social enterprise revenue is derived from government grants and 8% from philanthropic grants and bequests.

One quarter of Victorian social enterprises report that they are not currently financially sustainable; the majority of these are younger than 5 years, reflecting trends in the mainstream start-up economy.

Economic contribution

Victoria’s social enterprises create jobs for over 60,000 people. They are significant contributors to the Victoria’s economy and the majority of trade (sales of products and services) takes place within Victoria. However, nearly one-third also play a role in Victoria’s export economy, trading internationally.

In aggregate, Victoria’s social enterprises contribute over $5.2 billion in gross output to Victoria’s economy.

Barriers and opportunities

The biggest reported barrier to Victoria’s social enterprise growth is insufficient resources to devote to marketing (54%). Survey respondents noted that consumers have limited awareness of the social value of social enterprises (38%); social enterprises are undercapitalised (38%); and customers underestimate the quality of work a social enterprise can deliver (32%). Many of the barriers relate to the undercapitalisation of social enterprises.

The biggest reported opportunity for Victoria social enterprises was social procurement (75%). This was followed closely by access to development and training opportunities (69%); access to appropriate and affordable finance (66%); developing accessible and comparable social impact measurement tools (66%); more policy support for social enterprises (64%); and networking opportunities and a more cohesive ecosystem (62%).

The full report can be accessed here.