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Co-operative Social Enterprises

A Co-operative Social Enterprise is a self-help organisation which is formed to meet a common social need of its members.

Most social enterprises are part of the not-for-profit sector of the Australian economy. Many provide services to a stakeholder group that are not the owners of the enterprise (eg social enterprises run by charities). The remainder are member benefit organisations (co-operatives, mutuals) that provide social services to the owners (members) of the enterprise.

Co-operative Social Enterprises boast the highest number and provide the widest range of services of any co-operative type in Australia. Services provided by this type of co-operative include social housing, education and training, employment services, aged care, social support, child care and health services.

A number provide services to a disadvantaged group such as the long term unemployed, low income earners, ethnic minorities, the elderly, persons with disabilites and aboriginal people. Some rely on some form of government assistance and/or community support to provide professional services to their members. More information.

A new form of social enterprise called a Social Business has emerged in Australia in recent years. A social business is a for-profit social enterprise with social objectives at its core. People and institutions invest in a social business purely for social purposes, not personal profit. Investors can gradually recoup the money they invest in the enterprise, but do not take any profits beyond that point. Unlike a co-operative, which serves a single stakeholder group, a social business shares its prosperity with all its stakeholders. More information.


  Aboriginal Services
  Child Care Services
  Disability and Aged Care Services
  Education and Training
  Employment Services
  Medical and Other Health Care Services
  Social Housing
  Social Support

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