In a significant win for social enterprise in Australia, a world first social license has been signed in Scotland this week, in the lead-up to the Social Enterprise World Forum.

A 20-year social license between the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship(ACRE) and Social Enterprise Academy (SEA) from Scotland was signed by ACRE CEO, Matt Pfahlert and Paul Chowdhry, Chairman of SEA International. Aileen Campbell, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government was in attendance to witness the signing. The agreement supports the Scottish Government’s strategy and funding for ‘Internationalising Social Enterprise’ through exporting their knowledge to the world.

The license makes ACRE the first organisation, and Australia the first country that SEA have licensed as part of their global network of Social Enterprise Academy hubs. The structure builds a sustainable organisation with global member-ownership, responsive to addressing local needs.

Social Enterprise for Rural Rejuvenation

“SEA is the world leader in providing transformational learning and development programs for people and organisations working for social purpose”, said Matt Pfahlert.

“The agreement is signed with the shared aim of ensuring learning and development in social enterprise models is affordable and available for social entrepreneurs, leaders with social purpose, their teams, and future generations working for social impact”, he said.

ACRE exists to build a thriving rural Australia through igniting entrepreneurship in young people and their communities. Offering learning and development programs, community brokerage services, advice and support ACRE seeks to build entrepreneurial skills in individuals, organisations, government and community. ACRE educates around the emerging model of social enterprise as a means of re-generating rural communities in Australia.

License Agreement Built on Shared Principles

The principles of shared responsibility, shared value and shared risk are foundations of the agreement and pioneer an innovative new direction for social licenses into the future. The agreement will enable Australian social enterprises to access and benefit from the world-class learning and development materials SEA have created over the past 14 years.


ACRE is also co-convening the inaugural Social Enterprise Rural Symposium to be held on the Isle of Lewis, off the West Coast of Scotland next week.

This follows Matt Pfahlert’s address at the World Social Enterprise Conference in Edinburgh.

“We are honoured to be invited to play a leadership role as our mission and passion is rural and regional rejuvenation”, said Mr Pfahlert.