Case Study – Engaging with Social Enterprise

Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts (ACPA)

In 2014, The Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts (ACPA) successfully applied to Melbourne University Business School to participate in their Social Enterprise Program.  It was designed to take participants through an intensive process that guided them through the development of a business plan.

ACPA is a small registered training organisation (RTO) with over 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. As CEO, Sheryl Sandy worked with the board and more than 20 staff to deliver Certificate 3, Diploma level and Advanced Diploma level courses in the performing arts.

ACPA’s participation in the program was motivated by a desire to develop a business plan that would improve employment outcomes for graduating students.  Once the plan was completed, it was endorsed by numerous artistic companies around Australia. They included:


·         Access Arts INC- CEO Pat Swell

·         Queensland Theatre Company – Wesley Enoch

·         Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts – Program Manager Lewis Jones

·         Australian Institute of Music (AIM) – Assoc Dean Jamie Rigg

·         Queensland Music Festival – Executive Director Nigel Lavender

·         Opera Queensland – Artistic Director Lindy Hume

·         The Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music (UTAS) -Peter Tanfield


The initiative was pitched in front of sixty anthropology organisations and was subsequently supported by Westpac with a $100K start-up fund.