21 March 2022 Mary Anne Scully

Accelerating social enterprise in rural and regional Victoria

Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC) is  a practitioner-led network with a clear purpose – to establish a thriving social enterprise sector.

Since 2020 ACRE has partnered with SENVIC to develop and grow a Local Leads model across regional and rural Victoria.

Inaugural SENVIC Regional Leads mini conference

In March 2022 ACRE hosted the inaugural SENVIC regional leads mini conference at Old Beechworth Gaol.

The gathering offered delegates an opportunity to reflect, reconnect, build skills and plan for the future.

In a significant milestone, delegates devised a SENVIC Regional Mini-Conference – MANIFESTO for accelerating social enterprise in rural and regional Victoria. The manifesto is an invitation for Government and philanthropy to recognise the fundamental differences in the way that rural and regional communities connect with social enterprise. Read more here.

Many people contributed ideas and insights during the mini-conference, including

  • guest speaker Professor Alex Hannant (Yunus Centre – Griffith University) who focused on the emergence of social enterprise in Australia and offered global perspectives, and Hume Bank who provided funding for Alex to attend
  • Pablo Gimenez from the Centre for Participation who offered an historical perspective on the development of social enterprise in Victoria
  • Regional SENVIC Leads who shared insights and showcased diverse and emerging social enterprises in their region
  • SENVIC CEO, Nick Verginis, who outlined proposed next steps for SENVIC
  •  the Victorian State Government who invested in SENVIC, and are supporting development of the SENVIC Regional Leads model, including the inaugural SENVIC regional mini conference.

(L-R) Inaugural SENVIC Regional Leads mini-conference co-hosts: Peter Sacco (Social Enterprise Academy), Nick Verginis (CEO SENVIC), Amber O’Connell ( Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions – Victorian Government), Matt Pfahlert (CEO and co-Founder of ACRE).


About the SENVIC Local Leads model

SENVIC Local Leads play a vital role in engaging with rural and regional social entrepreneurs, ensuring that the network connects, enables and effectively represents the interests of the diverse social enterprise sector. The five appointed Local Leads for SENVIC are:

  • Barwon Southwest: Impact Evaluation
  • Gippsland: SENVIC Gippsland Consortium (Wellington Shire, The Centre for Rural Communities, Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House and Venus Bay Community Centre)
  • Grampians: lThe Centre for Participation
  • Hume:  Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network
  • Loddon/Mallee: The Christie Centre.Background

The Victorian Government provided $1.47 million towards the establishment of the Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC) which is being delivered as a partnership between CERES, ACRE and Social Traders.

SENVIC is building a connected community of social enterprises, facilitating access to learning and development opportunities, and increasing the voice and influence of social enterprise across Victoria.