Queensland’s social enterprise sector to benefit from UQ Business School research grant

5 Feb 2024

Identifying strategies to build resilient social enterprises in Queensland is the focus of a substantial research grant awarded to UQ Business School’s Social Impact Research Hub.

The 6-month project is spearheaded by Research Hub co-lead Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena, who is globally known for his impactful research in social entrepreneurship-led social innovation and dual value creation in social sector organisations.

“A social enterprise is a business devoted to creating positive social, cultural or environmental impact, rather than maximising profits for shareholders,” Dr Weerawardena said.

“Our research broadly aims to examine the distinctive challenges encountered by social enterprises in Queensland.

“It will cover metropolitan, regional and Indigenous social enterprises in Queensland – including startups – and explore how they can build a viable foundation to deliver their social mission.”

The research team will develop case studies and run focus groups in metropolitan and regional areas, tapping into their network of leading non-profit organisations.

According to Dr Weerawardena, the research will tackle several issues unique to Queensland’s social enterprise sector.

“We plan to address the metropolitan and regional divide, where social enterprises in rural and regional areas operate with limited support networks and resourced ecosystems,” he said.

“We’ll also examine the contribution of growing Indigenous corporations and startup social enterprises that have received lesser attention in past studies.  

“These specific issues require targeted policy planning support to inform and guide social enterprise practice.”

Team member and Indigenous business researcher Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer said the project would support the rise of Indigenous social enterprises.

“Our project, while facilitating the sustenance and growth of Indigenous social enterprises, will contribute towards policy planning aimed at ‘closing the gap’,” she said.

The research team welcome input and participation from social enterprises and policymakers.

“We’d like to gain deeper insights on factors hindering growth aspirations and building a vibrant social enterprise sector in Queensland,” Dr Weerawardena said.

The study was funded by the Queensland Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business and Training.

Contact the project team

Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena

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Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena is the UQ Business School Social Impact Research Hub co-lead. His expertise is in social entrepreneurship and dual value creation in social purpose organisations.

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Dr Josephine Previte

Dr Josephine Previte

Dr Josephine Previte is a Senior Lecturer at UQ Business School. Her expertise is in managing social purpose organisations, social marketing and qualitative research methods.

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Associate Professor Sandeep Salunke

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Associate Professor Sandeep Salunke is a researcher at QUT Business School. His expertise is in dynamic capabilities, business model innovation and research methods.

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Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer

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Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer is the Acting Director of the Indigenous Business Hub at UQ Business School. Her expertise is in Indigenous business and closing the gap research.

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Dr Srinwanti Chaudhury

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Dr Srinwanti Chaudhury is a Lecturer in Marketing at UQ Business School. Her expertise is in collective wellbeing and research methods.

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