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Social Enterprise Enablers Network Of Aotearoa

Support for innovative businesses in the regions is falling through the cracks, says Flaxroots, the Social Enterprise Enablers Network of Aotearoa.

“Government invested in a four year programme and has sat on the resulting recommendations on how to fix this for more than a year,” said spokesperson Simon Cayley.

“We are now frustrated and disappointed as we have brilliant enterprises screaming out for our support particularly in this Covid environment where we want a ‘build back better’ approach.”

People from across the sector contributed to the Impact Initiative recommendations but it now feels like it’s fallen into a black hole, Mr Cayley said.

“New Zealanders may know of social enterprises like Eat My Lunch and Dave Letele’s BBM Programme but we have lots of small startup versions of these good ideas in our regions struggling. They simply can’t get the help they need to thrive because they don't qualify for business support and don’t make the priority list for charities. They are literally falling through the crack between charity and business because they are something new and innovative and don’t fall into the traditional boxes.”

The briefing released by the Government shows this area of the recommendations has been ignored, Mr Cayley said. It implies that business as usual is sufficient, but it is not true.

Mr Cayley said some in the philanthropic sector were stepping up, especially JR McKenzie Trust who had funded the Flaxroots network.

“The most progressive funders do see the need for us to build community through kaupapa-driven enterprise but those enterprises need support - traditional business coaching doesn’t cut it - so that’s where we come in.”

Hélène Malandain, Chair of the Social Enterprise World Forum and based in New Zealand, points out that the work of the social enterprise movement is more critical than ever before.

“We all know that a radical shift is needed, and how urgently this is needed. The brilliant entrepreneurs leading these solutions need specialist support - this shift can’t happen unless we address all the pieces in the puzzle. In Aotearoa, we have the privilege of a Wellbeing Framework. But achieving this relies on people in communities being supported - communities know best what a thriving life in a thriving place is for them. We need the Government to back these local leaders with the support they need to create sustainable enterprises.” 

Mr Cayley said he knew they wouldn’t feature in this year’s Budget but wanted to see a better response from the Government and rebuild the lost momentum. 

Flaxroots has issued an open letter to Ministers Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Stuart Nash requesting their action. 

“We are looking for more signatories to join in this letter,” said Mr Cayley.

© Scoop Media

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