An effective social enterprise ecosystem extends beyond the social enterprises themselves - it includes professional networks, support organisations, relevant government departments, partners and supporters, philanthropy and investors, beneficiaries and research providers. Connectivity is also important between and within the regions, and between regional and metropolitan Victoria. Such connectivity requires effective intermediation, as well as peer-to-peer opportunities to connect and collaborate.

Intermediaries help connect supply and demand and support innovation in emerging markets. Financial sustainability challenges faced by intermediaries can result in patchy intermediation support - they are often compelled to focus on specific ecosystem niches, such as social procurement and social impact investment, where there is greater opportunity for remuneration.

Previous consultation with Victoria’s social enterprise sector identified formal and informal networks as an important element to aid the growth of Victoria’s social enterprise ecosystem. International and local examples also suggest that structured networks can be effective in growing and supporting social enterprise.

For more detail read Theme 4 of the Discussion Paper.

Thought starters

Some questions to get you thinking. Respond to one or more of these, or add your own questions, reflections and insights relating to this theme in the space below. If you have more to say, consider making a full submission.

What is working and what are the limitations of current social enterprise intermediation in Victoria?

What is the value of sector networks for social enterprise and how is this working in Victoria?

What is needed to ensure social enterprise development is well-supported in Victoria’s regions?

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