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Social Enterprise



What is a social enterprise?

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A social enterprise is a business that operates to achieve a social outcome and generate enough income to cover its running costs. These businesses provide products and services like any other business, the difference being their emphasis on serving the community as priority. City of Parramatta defines social enterprises as businesses with:

  • social, environmental or cultural objectives core to their purpose and focus
  • limited distributions of profits where the majority of profits are reinvested in the enterprise or an associated social entity
  • a commitment to generating a social return in addition to a financial return
  • a mixture of capital inputs where the enterprise is supported through a mixture of income from grants, subsidies and trading
  • democratic decision making structures and that seek high levels of accountability to their stakeholders rather than just to shareholders.

To support the growing number of social enterprises in the City of Parramatta we have a range of programs on offer. Read more about them below.

If you have a great idea that would benefit the local community but just need a kick-start to get it off the ground, or if you're looking to expand or move your social enterprise to Parramatta, our Social Enterprise Grants program may be able to help.

Our grants may provide funding or another related benefit, such as a mentoring and advisory services to local organisations and businesses.

Good Gift Guide

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Looking for gifts this season? Don’t just head to a shopping centre. Check out our Good Gift Guide instead and use your money to make a positive difference to the world.

Your family and friends will love these gift ideas – because they’re beautiful, interesting, clever and thoughtful, as well as ethical.

In this Guide you will find kids toys that support women’s and girls’ education, edible treats that support employment for people with a disability, crafts that help remote Aboriginal communities, eco-friendly homewares, clothes that give business opportunities to refugees, and even mobile phone plans that to help people with disabilities to improve their lives.

The City of Parramatta is active in its support for social enterprise, sustainability and ethical business practices. Some of the businesses in the Guide can be found right here in Parramatta. We invite you to browse and be inspired.

Click here to download the 2019 Good Gift guide.

Pitch for Good

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Pitch for Good is a live crowdfunding event initiative that offers aspiring social entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas for social enterprises that they hope to establish in Parramatta.

In 2019, we welcomed four new social entrepreneurs to the stage to pitch their great ideas. At the event A Little Something, collected the most amount of tokens in support of their initiative.

To learn more about each of the finalists’ great ideas and help them establish new social enterprises in Parramatta visit their page:

Natural Panaa

An enterprise creating environmentally-friendly ethically sourced alternatives to plastic tableware using fallen palm leaves.

Green Urbanites

A project to help make planting trees in cities more efficient. We want to help communities and Council connect more easily to implement projects for greening neighbourhoods.

A Little Something

Healthy life style choices, community well-being and benefits of a sustainable environment through cooking classes, craft workshops focusing on using recycled materials and Tai chi classes led by new settler women.

The Reconnect Project

The Reconnect Project accepts donations of old, unwanted or broken mobile phones. The phones are repaired and pre-loaded with credit. The phones are distributed to people less fortunate - newly arrived refugees, women fleeing domestic violence or those in transient accommodation.

Since the program launched in 2016, ten of the social enterprise ideas have been successful in their crowdfunding campaigns and are active in Parramatta. Visit StartSomeGood for more information.

For more information about social enterprises or to get involved in next year’s Pitch for Good, contact Community Capacity Building team on 02 9806 5138.

Shop for a Cause

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Shop for a Cause is an awareness campaign developed by City of Parramatta to help the community identify social enterprises in the Local Government Area (LGA).

Social enterprises in the LGA can access Shop for a Cause stickers for display on their shopfront windows and pavement. Or an e-logo for use on websites and other promotional material.

Upcoming events