Jarryd Burns.
Jarryd Burns. Contributed

Social enterprises can be a roller coaster ride

FOR budding social entrepreneurs who want to start their own social enterprise, thankyou business co-founder and commercial director Jarryd Burns has key tips for success.

Thankyou is an Australian social enterprise success story that, as of July this year, had donated $4.69 million to its project partners.

Jarryd said it was important for anyone thinking of going into social enterprise to choose their charity partners wisely.

"We do a fair bit of due diligence before we start funding. When we start funding we basically do a test fund so it will be a once-off donation and if that project goes really well and everything is met on our checklist we'll fund again. But we don't lock ourselves into a five-year agreement with a partner. It's very much a project-by-project basis," he said.

The commercial director also said having a team with similar values was key for support throughout the life of the business.

"It can be quite a lonely journey, if you're doing it by yourself. It can also be quite a roller coaster ride, if it's anything like what our journey has been like, it will be quite a roller coaster. So having people to get around you, support you, bounce ideas off, and get any frustrations off your chest so you can move on - that's been critical to our longevity so far," Jarryd said.

He also said social entrepreneurs needed a good idea of why they wanted to start out.

"It will be a roller coaster journey but if you know your 'why' it makes it a lot easier to go through the storms and it acts as a bit of an anchor for you. It makes it easier to make decisions," Jarryd said.

He said it was also really important to find mentors or industry experts who social entrepreneurs could lean on for advice. Social Traders, a not-for-profit organisation created to increase awareness of social enterprise, conducted research that found of the 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, 73% are small businesses, 23% are medium-sized and 4% are large organisations.

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