COVID-19 and the Role of Social Enterprise

25 March 2020 Andrew McGarry

Covid 19 Social Enterprise Blog 2

‚ÄčAs social distancing measures come into play, businesses are closing, and people are losing their jobs. This creates an upsurge in the amount of people in need of assistance and makes it more difficult for vulnerable people to get the support they so desperately need.

The Australian Government has responded to the COVID-19 crises with economic stimulus; however, this is unlikely to be enough to assist the needs of a rapidly growing number of disadvantaged and vulnerable people within the community. With supermarket shelves bare, we are starting to see the impact on people who are aged, frail, sick, disabled, financially disadvantaged, people with allergies and the homeless. Many people struggle to get essential items required for everyday life, whether this be food, medicine or services. More and more, people will be turning to the NFP sector for assistance.

Now, more than ever before, is a good time for business to be incorporating social enterprises into their supply chain. Through working with social enterprises, every dollar spent by business has a positive impact on the community, assisting vulnerable people and people in need. As a Nation, we cannot expect Australian taxpayers to shoulder the whole load of supporting people impacted by COVID-19. Business can make some very simple changes to its procurement practices that will have a huge impact in supporting people in need across the community. Through incorporating social enterprise into its supply chains, business can reduce costs and have a positive impact across the community as it goes about its day to day business.

At the time of writing this, there are 342 Social Traders Certified Social Enterprises operating nationally across 38 different industries. There are social enterprises providing products and services utilised by businesses across Australia. In our case, we provide recruitment services to both business and the NFP sector via a social enterprise business model. As a social enterprise, we charge less than commercial recruitment agencies and we donate 20% of all fees to a charity of our clients choosing. This enables clients to nominate charities to which they feel aligned for the donations. With COVID-19 and the impact it is having across the community, donations can be directed by businesses to NFPs that support those in need, or the vulnerable, or people who have lost their jobs.

To demonstrate the impact, we have a National Sydney based health services client that has recruited 80 staff across a 3 year period, saving $500,000.00+ in recruitment fees and generating $170,000.00 in donations towards the HammondCare Darlinghurst Project to build an aged care facility to cater for vulnerable aged homeless, and those at risk of homelessness. This is but one example of the impact of working with Social Enterprise. With 342 Social Traders Certified social enterprises operating Nationally across 38 industries, imagine the impact that business could have across the whole community by incorporating social enterprise into its supply chain.

Social Enterprise provides and ideal way for business to expand the role it plays in supporting the community through the COVID-19 crises. It is what we do now that makes a difference.

To learn more about incorporating social enterprise into your supply chain, it is worthwhile taking a look at the Social Traders Website. For more information on what it means to work with social enterprise, please feel free to reach out to Andrew McGarry, Director at Recruit for Good, a Social Traders and B Corp Certified Recruitment Agency donating 20% of all fees to charity.