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Social enterprises are essentially businesses for good. They are unique because they exist to create impact through trade.

Purpose is at the heart of the social enterprise model, but it can be hard to quantify or explain. Social Traders Certification provides confidence that the social enterprise model really does create social or environmental impact through trade.

Social Traders define a social enterprise as:

  1. Purpose-driven: there is a defined primary social, cultural or environmental purpose consistent with a public or community benefit.
  2. A substantial portion of revenue comes from trade, and
  3. The efforts and resources invested into their purpose, outweighs private benefit.

Bedford Group has had a strong history of offering employment to people with disability for over 75 years. Bedford Social Enterprises was established in response to the lack of meaningful job opportunities for people with disability in the open market.

Bedford has established three social enterprises that aim to provide more opportunities and choice for people with disability. Each of these business operate as purpose-driven social enterprises in different trade areas;

Cultivate produces high quality retail food products, and offers contract food manufacturing services.
is a landscape construction business, building and maintaining medium and large-scale community spaces.
operates in the advanced manufacturing sector, creating flat-pack furniture panels, and an innovative line of sustainable timber products.

These Bedford-backed social enterprises offer world-class commercial products and services, while accelerating social impact through a social impact investment strategy. They offer open employment to people experiencing barriers to employment, including those with disability or social disadvantage. They offer more career pathways and an opportunity to earn a full award wage.

Not only do they offer more choice to people with disability but also provide part of the solution when it comes to reducing pressures on the NDIS budget, by reducing the number of participants. Transitioning participants into open employment supports them to become truly economically independent.

According to Social Traders' Pace 2023 report, certified social enterprises are growing and delivering impact in spades!

Key Highlights

31K people have been employed by certified social enterprises
45% of people employed would usually be shut out of work
$2.25B total revenue achieved
$1.74B of total revenue coming from trade activity
31% ($690M) of total revenue is reinvested into delivering impact

We look forward to bringing you updates on the Bedford-backed social enterprises!