Social enterprise gets certified

February 24, 2024 BY

Win-win: Buninyong and District Financial Services and Community Bank Buninyong won a Federation University Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Award in 2022. Photo: FILE

STAFF at Buninyong and District Financial Services, which operate Community Bank Buninyong, are used to celebrating the successes of the projects they give financial backing to across the region.

But the group is marking an internal success, having received Social Traders Certification.

“It’s an organisation that was funded by community, with community money, with the shareholders being community members that fund the business that generates the profit,” said BDFS chair Ian Corcoran.

“That then returns back to the community, and that’s why getting the Social Traders Certification reflects the true intent and purpose of what our business actually is.

“We continually talk about how impactful the community model is for the broader community, however this demonstrates, substantiates, and formally recognises the work we do.

“The banking license that we hold, and the bank branch, is just one aspect of the Buninyong and District Financial Services business.”

Enterprises that receive a Social Traders Certification align with the criteria of having a primary social, cultural or environmental purpose consistent with a public benefit.

They also draw a substantial portion of their income from trade, and then put effort and resources into public and community causes instead of private benefit.

Mr Corcoran said having an official social enterprise accreditation means the organisation can explore other opportunities and connect with social traders across the world.

“We could generate further returns back to the community, and that’s what it’s about,” he said.

“It will allow us to grow and develop further with more business opportunities.”

More than $1.9 million has been given to local projects, organisations, and causes by BDFS through the community banking model.

“The community banking model builds community and shares profits with everyone,” Mr Corcoran said. “It’s a win-win for everyone. We couldn’t be prouder.”