Social Enterprise

Hybrid Enterprise Organisations – a workshop: re-calibrating the ‘social enterprise’ equation

On 6 June 2019, 25 CCA members from New South Wales and Victoria attended a workshop in Sydney to consider how hybrid enterprise strategies can open up new opportunities for not-for-profit community education providers.

The session was a collaboration with UTS (University of Technology Sydney) Centre for Business and Social Innovation researchers and the Wayside Chapel; guest facilitators and speakers included:

  • Melissa Edwards, Senior Lecturer, UTS Business School
  • Danielle Logue, Associate Professor, UTS Business School
  • Gillian McAllister, Senior Researcher, UTS Business School
  • Lee Cooper, Head of Innovation, Strategy & Social Impact, Wayside Chapel
From left to right: Danielle Logue, Associate Professor; Melissa Edwards, Senior Lecturer; Gillian McAllister, Senior Researcher (UTS Business School) and Lee Cooper, Head of Innovation, Strategy & Social Impact (Wayside Chapel)

Workshop Overview

Hybrid organisations are not defined by their for-profit or non-profit status, rather how they create and deliver different forms of value as a core part of managing their organisational mission and strategy.

Using a hybrid organisational framework can facilitate discussions about how an organisation can best create viable revenue streams to support your mission. Hybrids focus on both social and economic benefits, so it’s not a matter of one or the other. It shifts the focus away from a resilience strategy, where you are reacting to continual shifts in government funding arrangements, toward a proactive sustainability strategy. This simple shift means an organisation can start to consider how to best generate the resources and revenue streams it needs to create a thriving social program. Any change is not without implications on how organisations manage to achieve their social mission, how to communicate this to stakeholders and daily organisational operations.

Our Workshop Partners and Participants

This session was a collaboration with UTS Centre for Business and Social Innovation researchers and the Wayside Chapel. It was designed to familiarise CCA members with the hybrid organisation concept and provide an opportunity to learn about the practitioner’s perspective told through a Wayside Chapel case study of developing a hybrid enterprise, the Heart Cafe. Download the Managing Hybrid Enterprise Guide (PDF, 1MB).

Wayside Chapel is a Sydney-based not-for-profit organisation that provides support to people facing homelessness, addiction and mental health issues. Their programs are designed to ensure the most marginalised members of the community have access to essential health, welfare, social and vocational services.

Participants learned how the Wayside Chapel has benefited from a hybrid enterprise approach and how they have managed tensions along the way. Topics included why hybrids, the spectrum of hybrid forms, features of managing hybrids including beneficial tensions and developing an organisation’s hybrid enterprise strategy. Can an enterprise help sustain mission impact? Are the beneficiaries of an enterprise also its customers? The group discussed measurement and value; one speaker said, “Everything that’s measurable is not valuable, and everything that’s valuable is not measurable.”

Mellissa Edwards with Caspar Zika, New Futures Training, Ka Chan, JobQuest and Dave Hammond, Jesuit Social Services

The workshop placed community-based enterprises into context through a panel discussion of CCA members that run social enterprises:

Participants included CCA member CEOs, business development managers, CFOs, board directors and senior program managers.

The workshop purpose was to:

  1. understand the opportunities of a hybrid enterprise model, in regard to mission effectiveness, social impact and alternative revenue streams;
  2. identify the challenges of managing a hybrid enterprise, in regard to mission, staffing, organisational structure and stakeholder expectations; and
  3. determine how to develop a hybrid enterprise strategy.

Developing Social Enterprises in Adult and Community Education Providers

The distinctive features of adult and community education (ACE) providers have been outlined by Adult Learning Australia (ALA, 2017) as not-for-profit, local, inclusive and learner-centred organisations. Recent shifts in government policy have changed the landscape and positioning of ACE, as traditionally the focus was on personal enrichment and learning. Now ACE does this but also provides basic adult education, formal vocational education and training (VET), pathways from one form of learning to another, other social and community services, and a growing number of independent special assistance secondary schools.

Competitive government funding arrangements means that ACE and public (TAFE) RTOs now face increased competition from other VET providers, including private RTOs.

Community colleges have great potential to explore new organising models and alternate revenue streams. The ALA report notes that ACE providers have economic roles as work-skills developers, bridge builders and platform builders; and community roles as capacity builders, citizenship promoters and health facilitators. Given these dual sets of roles, there are growing opportunities to develop hybrid enterprise strategies to ensure long term organisational viability and sustainability. This is especially important given that ACE providers often service the most vulnerable and marginalised populations.



CCA thanks researchers and staff from UTS and Wayside Chapel for their invaluable assistance in running this workshop.

CCA acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of our land, and that this workshop took place on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. CCA pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.