The University of South Australia has launched a new Social Enterprise Hub, bringing together academics, students and the wider community to drive new models for combining good business with good social outcomes.
Conceived as an inter-disciplinary hub for social innovation and entrepreneurship, the UniSA Social Enterprise Hub will take a multidisciplinary, co-design approach to finding solutions that have a measurable social impact.
The Social Enterprise Hub comprises a wide range of UniSA institutes, centres and other groups. Hub members include The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise (TAASE), the UniSA Yunus Centre for Social Business, the Centre for Workplace Excellence (CWeX), the China-Australia Centre for Sustainable Development and the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) Research Centre and other collaborations.
Pro Vice Chancellor Business and Law, Professor Marie Wilson says the establishment of the hub will connect academics and students with the community to develop creative solutions for pressing social problems.
“UniSA has a strong track record of being socially responsible and has been a champion of social justice since it was founded on a charter of equity and inclusion,” she says.
“As the ‘University of Enterprise’, we see a huge opportunity to advance the case for social entrepreneurship and social innovation.
“We have great talent in running major projects and undertaking important research across a diverse range of areas in the social enterprise sphere from ageing, homelessness, and social inequality through to mental health, sustainability, and child protection.
“We also have great industry, not-for-profit, and government partners both nationally and internationally. But we saw a gap for a single platform that could join the dots, and act as a connector and amplifier. That is the role that the UniSA Social Enterprise Hub will play.
“It is a platform to bring social innovation and entrepreneurship to life, while helping our students to study social entrepreneurship in action and participate in experiential learning.”
Current projects being undertaken by Social Enterprise Hub members include:
- An undergraduate case study competition led by Director of the UniSA Yunus Social Business Centre, Professor Carol Tilt. Students have been grouped with peers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, and tasked with creating a new social business model.
- The Design Construct Program, which also forms part of the Hub, is a hands-on construction project running since 1993. Students design and construct buildings for Indigenous communities and accommodation buildings which help remote communities in Vanuatu to generate ongoing income through tourism.
- Hub member Match Studio is leading the Visualising Mental Health project, which engages Bachelor of Design students in a 12-week project to develop concepts and design prototypes to help clinical psychologists communicate with clients and the general public.
UniSA Social Enterprise Hub member and Curriculum Advisor at UniSA’s Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, Andrea Duff leads the Community Services Learning Project, an elective course that offers UniSA students across all disciplines the opportunity to use the skills they have learned at university to help over 20 community initiatives with partners such as the Red Cross, Modbury Special School, and Campbelltown Library.
“Social enterprise is a burgeoning and contemporary business model, applying corporate aspirations to community settings,” Duff says.
“The UniSA Social Enterprise Hub will foster collaboration between academics, students, and the community to turn research and learning into action.
“The UniSA Social Enterprise Hub will help the University to fulfil its civic and social responsibility, bringing us together through new partnerships to innovate and make social change.
“So much more can be achieved by working together.”
The Social Enterprise Hub was launched alongside the official launch of The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise (TAASE) at UniSA’s West City Campus on Friday November 1, 2019.
For the full list of UniSA Social Enterprise Hub members, visit here.