South Australian Social Enterprise Survey – Initial results

Earlier this year, SACES in collaboration with the Don Dustan Foundation (DDF) at the University of Adelaide conducted a survey to identify social enterprises in South Australia. The survey benefited from the Don Dunston Foundation mailing list, which was used to invite social enterprises or people who might know about a social enterprise to complete a brief online questionnaire.

Social enterprises were defined as for-profit or not-for-profit businesses that primarily seek to fulfil a public or community benefit, to provide benefits to members or to support the mission of a non-profit auspice. This broad definition was adopted in order to encourage and accommodate a diversity of self- and third-party identifications.

In total, the survey received 153 responses, including 42 from managers or owners of a social enterprise, 9 from employees and 27 from volunteers working with a social enterprise. Responses from managers, owners, employees and volunteers identified 77 social enterprises operating in South Australia. For 63 of these 77, the survey yielded information about their activities.

In 2016, the authoritative Finding Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector (FASES) Census had identified 54 social enterprises located in South Australia, using a more focused definition of social enterprise.

Respondents to our survey also nominated several other enterprises, whose status as a social enterprise has yet to be confirmed. In addition, SACES received information about co-operatives in South Australia.

An initial scan of the information received from respondents connected to a social enterprise shows that the majority were operating in the health and social assistance sector, in cultural and recreational services, education and retail trade (Figure 1). Most enterprises were providing goods and services only in South Australia, but 12 also indicated that they were operating also outside Australia (Figure 2).  Within South Australia, the focus was on the Adelaide CBD, but also extended northwards in particular.

Figure 1: Industry distribution of social enterprises operating in South Australia (numbers) – Click on image to enlarge

Fig 1

Source: SACES and DDF Social Enterprise Survey 2018

Figure 2: Primary markets of social enterprises operating in South Australia (numbers) – Click on image to enlarge









Source: SACES and DDF Social Enterprise Survey 2018

About half of the social enterprises provided information about their staffing or commercial turnover; so that, for now, we can only report these statistics at a highly aggregate level: about half of the social enterprises that provided this information reported a turnover of under $100,000 per annum, no more than five paid employees and up to 10 volunteer workers.

Further development of the database is anticipated over the next few months.

The survey was undertaken as part of a study of opportunities for developing the South Australian social enterprise sector on behalf of the South Australian Department of Human Services (formerly Department of Communities and Social Inclusion).

SACES and the Don Dunstan Foundation are grateful for the support received from all participants.

For further information about the survey, contact Andreas Cebulla.

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