Government Position Statement on Social Enterprise

14 February 2014

This Government position statement acknowledges the value of the growing social enterprise sector and supports collaborative action to ensure social enterprises meet their full potential. 

Social enterprises use commercial methods to support social or environmental goals. They principally reinvest surpluses in the social/environmental purpose rather than maximising profit for shareholders and owners. Potential benefits of social enterprise include innovative responses to societal issues, new employment opportunities, and sustainable income generation.

The Government is aware of the significant growth of the social enterprise sector internationally and wishes to support development of the sector in New Zealand. The Government acknowledges the innovation and entrepreneurship of this sector and the valuable contribution social enterprises can make to community strength and resilience.

Social enterprises can support a range of government goals including the development of a productive and competitive economy. The Government values the role of social enterprises as potential partners for a range of government agencies in achieving “collective impact”, and as contributors to Better Public Services goals involving third party service delivery.

The Government recognises that emerging social enterprises face a range of challenges, including the need for business advice and funding tailored to their hybrid social/commercial nature. The sector currently lacks a solid support infrastructure and many social enterprises struggle to access external finance.

The Government appreciates the importance of raising awareness of social enterprise, of taking action to help build capability, and encouraging finance for this emerging sector. Social enterprise networks, investors, philanthropic organisations, local authorities and central government agencies can all contribute to a future where social enterprises can flourish.

The Government, through its agencies, commits to identify any policy barriers to social enterprise growth and to work collaboratively to create an enabling, supportive environment where more social enterprises can grow and attract investment.

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