19 December 2018

Internationally recognised social entrepreneur Suzi Sosa has identified attracting and retaining millennials, as a crucial move for South Australia to grow the Purpose Economy.

Ms Sosa, the co-founder and CEO of Verb, a global social enterprise based in Adelaide’s sister city, Austin, Texas, has handed down recommendations as part of her ‘Thinker’ role for the Don Dunstan Foundation’s Adelaide Thinkers in Residence Program.

“There’s a lot of discussion about brain drain of young talented minds out of South Australia,” Ms Sosa says.

“Young people leaving the State shouldn’t be viewed as a problem – in fact, this is a good thing. It’s a problem if they don’t come back or South Australia can’t attract new talent.”

Millennials represent about 40 per cent of the workforce and expect their employers to show greater social responsibility.

“They are having a major impact and demanding strong leadership, mentors, low-cost and attractive living options, as well as access to capital,” Ms Sosa says.

Suzi Sosa’s Pathways to Global Leadership in the Purpose Economy: Recommendations for South Australia include:

  • Millennials are crucial to the Purpose Economy. South Australia needs to stem the millennial brain drain. If South Australia wants to retain its millennial population and attract new talent, it will need to have a more supportive culture and infrastructure for millennials.
  • Further develop Social Entrepreneurship programs alongside the current entrepreneurial ecosystem to offer new employment opportunities that align with millennials’ values and priorities.
  • Universities have a key role to play in supporting industries to understand the needs and values of millennials through more innovative approaches to work-integrated learning.
  • Support more mentoring programs and knowledge exchanges with millennials and industry.
  • Develop a strategy for attracting more millennials to start business in SA, for retaining millennials and for encouraging others to return.

“With the Purpose Economy, the fastest job creating part of the South Australian economy, export opportunities need to be considered where solutions to local challenges have already been identified,” Ms Sosa says.

“It’s important the State works more closely with industries already aligned with social impact such as healthcare, renewable energy, education and the creative industries” she says.

“Also, education providers should be encouraged to strengthen students’ connection to social impact including providing more social entrepreneurship content in the high school curriculum. This will prepare them for a future workforce that will place a much higher premium on purpose.”

South Australia has been trialling a new Entrepreneur Visa program where foreign entrepreneurs and investors can bring their business venture to the State. Under the Federal Government initiative, which will be rolled out nationally in 2019, applicants don’t need capital backing.

Foreign investors will become eligible to apply for permanent residency if their business in Australia is successful.

“Governments need to consider how it can better use incentives, such as financial support and government procurement, to support early stage and purpose-driven business,” Ms Sosa says.

“The Purpose Economy should be declared as a key pillar in the State Government’s economic strategy for South Australia.”

Pathways to Global Leadership in the Purpose Economy: Recommendations for South Australia is available at

The Don Dunstan Foundation has partnered with the university, business, public and community sectors to deliver the Adelaide ‘Thinkers in Residence’ Program which is focusing on growing jobs in the purpose economy.


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MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday 4 December 2018


In a push to encourage greater Indigenous participation in South Australia’s workforce, local businesses are being called upon to create more job opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The unemployment rate for Indigenous South Australians is at 22 per cent, compared to 6.2 per cent for non-Indigenous South Australians.

The Don Dunstan Foundation in partnership with the Governors Leadership Foundation Program has released the findings of a new report – ‘Increasing Aboriginal Participation in the South Australian Economy’, to identify innovative ways to close this employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson says we can all do more to close this gap, many organisations want to help, but often haven’t known where to start.

This report, prepared by a Governors Leadership Foundation Program participants, sets out options for how all of us can help.

“It’s important to remember that Indigenous South Australians hold the key in leading this process. They understand the issues and their ongoing engagement is critical to achieving more job opportunities.”

The report’s range of solutions include:

  • Support the Indigenuity SA Aboriginal Business Expo
  • Promote the Implementation of Reconciliation Action Plans
  • Consider how procurement can be used to provide more employment opportunities including review Government tender processes for unintentional bias
  • Engage a Thinker In Residence to stimulate the better coordination of Aboriginal Economic Participation activities in South Australia
  • Establish regional workshops connecting schools with businesses and service providers.
  • Support Indigenous entrepreneurs though an Indigenous Business Hub
  • Create networking opportunities for Aboriginal businesses to engage and learn from each other
  • Create an Arts Industry Cluster in the Aboriginal Industry Cluster Program
  • Monitor the number and value of Federal Government contracts awarded to Indigenous suppliers

The Don Dunstan Foundation and a number of other organisations have already begun implementing many of the recommendations.

Earlier in the year, the Foundation hosted an Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Forum which showcased a number of indigenous businesses.

“It was about bringing together government, private sector and industry representatives to explore opportunities on how resources can be pooled to have a more coordinated impact in increasing Aboriginal economic participation,” Mr Pearson says.

Red Centre Enterprises CEO Nadia Matko says indigenous history and culture play an important part in creating exciting new opportunities.

“We’re about to launch two new social enterprise cafés focussed on native foods – one at Tandanya and one in Gawler, with each site creating employment opportunities for 20 people,” she says.

The cafes will also be supported by a catering division with staff receiving hospitality training as well as training in native foods and aboriginal culture.

“There’s a lot of exciting things happening in terms of celebrating the Kaurna community and taking ‘bush’ foods from the land to the community.”

Other action already undertaken from this report includes the extension of the Governor’s Aboriginal Employment Industry Cluster Program to include South Australia’s arts and culture industry.

The Cluster is chaired by Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall who says it’s all about reaching out to local arts organisations to create immediate employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Arts opportunities should be highlighted in education and employment and prioritised, just as much as STEM opportunities,” she says.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed job location, discrimination in the workforce and change in the labour market are the key factors in Indigenous Australians finding work.

The report was commissioned by the Don Dunstan Foundation and researched by participants in the 2017 Governors Leadership Foundation Program.

For more information:

FOR ENQUIRIES OR TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS CONTACT: The Message Bureau on 8223 7703 or 0419 754 564

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MEDIA RELEASE: 26 October 2018

The Zero Project is seeking commitment from all Adelaide City Council candidates to back Adelaide’s efforts to become the first Australian city to achieve Functional Zero[i] homelessness within two years.

Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson, whose organisation is coordinating the project, says it’s about shoring up support to have the candidates publicly and formally endorse Adelaide Zero Project.

“To date, the current Lord Mayor and councillors of Adelaide City Council have been crucial in helping the project to support rough sleepers into secure housing and we look forward to this continuing after the election,” Mr Pearson says.

“Over 30 organisations are driving Adelaide Zero Project and by having Adelaide City Council candidates sign a Statement of Commitment to fully support this initiative, reflects the all of community approach needed to end street homelessness.”

Lord Mayoral candidates Sandy Verschoor, Steven Kelly, Mark Eric Hamilton and Kate Treloar are among those being asked to support ending street homelessness in the City of Adelaide by the end of 2020.

A pledge event hosted by Uniting Communities and Flinders University, will be held on Wednesday 24 October from midday at Flinders University, 182 Victoria Square.

“We’ve been blown away by the amount of support we’ve received with over two thirds of candidates committing to attend this important event,” Mr Pearson says.

Since Adelaide Zero Project’s Connections Week in May this year, 68 people on the By-Name List have been relocated into secure housing.

The Project’s online dashboard, the first of its kind in Australia, shows 149 people are actively sleeping rough in the inner-city.

“Adelaide Zero Project is continuing to focus on how to make additional housing options available and improve overall access to homelessness services,” Mr Pearson says.

“We’re implementing new measures including a Business Alliance, led by Adelaide City Council, to engage corporate leaders and traders in developing solutions to end homelessness.”

Adelaide City Council extended its partnership with Don Dunstan Foundation last month, to support the Zero Project, bringing its total commitment to over $340,000 in funding over three years.


For interviews or further information please contact The Message Bureau on 08 8223 7703 or 0419 754 564.

[i] Functional Zero street homelessness is achieved when the number of people who are sleeping rough at any time, is no greater than the average housing capacity for that same time period.

Adelaide Zero Project Partners

Presented by
Don Dunstan Foundation

Principal Partner
Bendigo Bank

University Partners
Flinders University
University of Adelaide

Government Partners
City of Adelaide
Government of South Australia – SA Health
Government of South Australia – Department of the Premier and Cabinet
Government of South Australia – Department of Human Services
Government of South Australia – Department for Correctional Services
Government of South Australia – Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia
Government of South Australia – SA Police

Major Partners
Aboriginal Sobriety Group
Anglicare SA
Baptist Care
Broadley Trust
Catherine House Inc
Common Ground
Community Sector Banking
End Homelessness SA
Housing Choices SA
Hutt St Centre
Life Without Barriers
Mercy Foundation
Neami National
OARS Community Transition
Salvation Army
St John’s Youth Services Incorporated
Uniting Communities

Supporting Partners
Australian Alliance to End Homelessness
Community Solutions
Institute of Global Homelessness
Mental Health Coalition of South Australia
Message Bureau
Shelter SA
Together SA
Women’s Safety Services SA



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