School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia

After seven years of supporting early-stage social enterprise development, the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia (SSE) ended operations at the end of 2016. SSE Australia provided learning programs to enhance the effectiveness of Australia’s social entrepreneurs and their social ventures. Social entrepreneurs are everyday people with ideas or businesses that deliver a social or community benefit. SSE conducted a nine-month program that gave social entrepreneurs the personal and business support they needed to grow their venture to be more effective.

Unlike a traditional school, SSE was a non-academic and based on a ‘learning by doing’ approach. Students gained practical business and life skills that they could apply directly to their ventures. The uniqueness of the SSE program lies in the depth and duration of its support, and its emphasis on developing the entrepreneur alongside their organisation.

SSE was based on the highly successful SSE in the UK. Since launching in 2009, SSE Australia has more than 450 alumni from over 30 programs held across the country. SSE Australia was proudly supported by Social Ventures Australia, the SSE UK, and Steve Lawrence AO (a social entrepreneur and Chief Executive of the Australian Social Innovation Exchange).

Michele Goldman, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia in its final year of operation, reflects on the organisation’s learnings and how they could be applied to support the social enterprise ecosystem going forward in this SVA Quarterly article.