Since 1997, Capacity International, an independent boutique consultancy, has worked in partnership with government, non-government organisations (NGOs) and business in Australia and internationally.

Our Vision
A sustainable Social Enterprise sector that can make a social and environmental impact

Our Mission
To contribute to the sector by supporting and facilitating their capacity development.

Capacity International works with Social Businesses to help them to grow.

  • We collaborate with the organisation we are working with, and with our partners, to encourage growth
  • We deliver our customised service programs in ways that are appropriate to particular needs see more – link to how we deliver section
  • We support growth at all stages of organisational development – start up to mature
  • Facilitate access to extensive and applicable knowledge providers to fertilise growth see more – link to partners, collaborators
  • To further enrich the tailored knowledge delivery growing process we use various tools and methodologies
  • Growing never stops so we use long term relationships to coach and mentor to nurture capacity development



Capacity International has developed a number of frameworks on Governance, Measurement, and Evaluation specifically for Social Enterprises. We have studied some critical areas relevant to the Social Enterprise space, including Social Impact Investment, Social Enterprise Models, Hybrid Models, Social Impact, and Social Change process. We have run Workshops/Master Classes on Social Enterprises, for Accountants, University students and start–ups. We are in the process of developing a series of online courses on Social Enterprises, Social Impact Investment, and Social Entrepreneurs.

Capacity International has a long history of civic education projects in Australia:

  • an eight-module Reconciliation Learning Circle Kit for the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation
  • civics material aimed at assisting parents to participate more actively in their children’s civics education, for the Australian Council of State School Organisations
  • learning circle kits on ‘The Australian Nation’ and ‘Citizens and Public Life’ for the Commonwealth Government’s Discovering Democracy program
  • a learning circle kit on crime prevention and community safety for the Commonwealth’s National Crime Prevention program, which included a strong focus on community building and the importance of social capital to community cohesion
  • a flexible self-help, web-based Toolkit to assist people to establish and sustain a Local Reconciliation Group, focusing on practical organisational challenges and tasks, for PM&C.


Choose from the list below to find out how Capacity International can assist you.
Our Collaborators Networks Partners & Capacity International Knowledge and Expertise

Capacity International’s team, collaborators, partners and service providers offer a wide range of expertise knowledge and services to support the growth of Social Enterprises and Social Entrepreneurs.

Business fundamentals – including legal structures, compliance dual mission development (social and business) Business models/plans and other key business requirements. 

Organisational Assessment or Assurance – you need to demonstrate that your social enterprise has quality assurance systems in place in particular when tendering for social procurement or for other funding applications. Our expertise includes conducting independent evaluation audits, based on developing a deep and broad experience of your organisation so as to monitor its performance on a “one off” or continuing basis.

Risk management – do you understand the opportunities and the threats that your organisation is exposed to? Do you need a Risk Management System?

Organisational risks present in many forms. They can be financial, managing cash flow; people related, physical danger in the workplace; or come from competitors and so on. Social Enterprises face all these risks including specific items such as delivering on their social mission; which is often difficult to identify, assess and deal with. Capacity international works with you to develop a risk management framework. This framework includes:

  • establishing a means of being clear about what is a risk to your social enterprise,
  • a particular context so that you can monitor and adapt your framework,
  • and processes of identifying, assessing and dealing with risk.

Strategic management – the purpose of social enterprise is to create value and social impact that benefits the community. What are the specific strategy management frameworks necessary for social enterprises that differ from other types of organisation? What does this mean in practice? Is your strategic plan robust, will it continue to be useful to your organisation? How do you keep your eye on(monitor)the day to day and the overall objectives or aims of your organisation?

Our risk management framework addresses the issue. The strategic managerial components include operational context constraints and opportunities and core management issues in the implementation of your social enterprise strategy

How a social enterprise achieves its social goals and successfully conducts a business is a considerable undertaking. Having a strategy is, we believe, fundamental to this undertaking. Strategy development has been described as a methodology of matching capability (all my resources) and the operational environment to deliver my objective. From that understanding a plan of how to do it unfolds. The strategic plan then requires management to ensure that delivery is on track, changes are managed, and if suitable, new opportunities seized. All the while adhering to the overall goal. So Capacity international can work with you to develop your strategic plan and to set up a plan and management process to work towards delivery.

Project design and implementation– many of the important things that your organisation does can be undertaken as projects as a way of keeping things on track to ensure delivery.

Project design and implementation what are the particular implications for Social Enterprises in project design implementation and process  – projects that deal with social issues are normally long term and include measuring, reporting and governing economic, environmental, social outcomes and new project management competencies.

Many of the more significant things that we do in a social enterprise could be well served by adopting a project design and management approach. This includes long term or complex activities; a social issue is not usually fully addressed in a week. This may mean delivering on a program(s) to achieve the overall social mission. Alternatively it may relate to conducting a particular aspect of business, e.g. opening a café, or implementing a new IT system. Capacity International has a wide practical experience of project delivery; ensuring the design is fit for purpose; time, cost and quality are balanced in ways to meet stakeholder requirements.

Measurement of performance and social impact – are you being successful, are you fulfilling your social objective? Do you have indicators in place to help you track your performance? Social Enterprises in many respects have a more difficult job to determine their performance outcomes, as you have to deliver on two missions, social and business.

Governance – how well do you understand how your organisation establishes and maintains operational policies (that is how we do things); who is responsible for critical tasks, how well do we monitor these policies, what is supposed to happen if something goes wrong?

Social enterprises want to make a social impact/change by developing sustainable innovating business models, they need to balance their social impact and their financial responsibilities. They have a diverse range of stakeholders that they are accountable to including investors, employers volunteers regulators clients communities. Each social enterprise will need a governance structure that is appropriate and needs to be tailored to the specific type, model or stage of development and should be reviewed on a regular basis.

As your social enterprise increases in size or maturity you more than likely have larger numbers of and more important stakeholders that are interested in what we are doing and how well you are doing it. From your own perspective there are larger and more issues and people to deal with and so being able to know what is going on is more complicated,

Leadership – What are the specific leadership roles, skills and style and how does the leadership roles, skills and style change in the different stages of a Social Enterprise from start up to a fully developed Social Enterprise?

Understanding leadership can really be a determining factor between success and failure. Many leaders may suit certain types of organisation, certain stages in their development but not be able to have success in different situations. In small start-up social enterprises the leader is often the founder, the CEO and the office person. However detail may not be their strength. So how do they deal with this? Capacity International can assist in working through how leadership issues can be successfully managed.

Tender and grant guidance – understanding the tendering process; what have you got to offer, what are Social Enterprise comparative advantages and the nuts and bolts of writing a good tender/grant response through tendering submissions and documentation.

Social Procurement guidance – Purchasing from a social enterprise has been identified as the biggest opportunity for social enterprise growth in Australia, according to a national research. There are many challenges in applying, implementing and reporting of Social Procurement arrangements with government or the private sector.

Financial management – sourcing funding from social impact investors  crowdfunding or other social funding opportunities as well as more traditional types of funding such as bank loans, demand good financial systems and ongoing management of these finances; i.e. cash flow management; profit projections, budget, returns to investors and investment decision making.

How we can deliver our services to you

We deliver our services in various ways to suit your growth and improvement

Guiding, Coaching and mentoring programs to support you on your development pathway

In house workshops/programs specifically aimed at an organisation or group

Workshops and seminars  offered broadly to improve your understanding of the sector e.g. an overview of how a Social Enterprise operates

Consultancies can be assurance based or to examine and report on a particular issue(s) within your organisation

Develop and provide learning and development aids such as training manuals and Learning Circles

In addition we broker the services of other organizations to meet your particular need(s) – these services could be for example to provide advice on crowdfunding or undertake web page design.

Our approach to your growth and development means that you can select your specific need (e.g. project design and implementation) and how you are going to work with Capacity International (e.g. design and deliver a learning circle).

Approaches we use to get it right

We use a very broad range of tools and development frameworks to ensure that what we offer is exactly right for you. These include:

Participatory, Rights and Strength-Based Approaches to development – this way of thinking builds on the “assets” or the positive opportunities available to an organisation, and the community.

Tools include: Most Significant Change Appreciation, Inquiry and Action Research​.

Systems thinking – is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system’s constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems[1].

Organizational Improvement tools such as Seven S analysis, brainstorming, causal loop programming, nay saying – these improvement tools are drawn from a very broad range of analysis and design used by organisations to ascertain whether they are optimising their performance, to encourage ownership of issues to “road test” ideas.

Environmental analysis(PEST) An environmental analysis, or PEST analysis, categorises the changes and forces that affect your startup either directly or indirectly through your customers, suppliers and competitors. PEST is an acronym that stands for the Political, Economic, Social and Technological market forces. This type of analysis is usually conducted in the process of preparing a strategic plan, with the goal being to identify threats and opportunities for your business.

[1] Margaret Rose


David Shires

David Shires


David Shires has extensive international experience working with non-profit organizations, particularly those involved in community development, civic participation, adult education and social change, including in Australia, Scandinavia, the former Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and East Timor Fiji Solomon island.

David has had a long involvement in adult and community education, and with empowering people to participate more actively in civic life. He uses a wide range of participatory methods and processes for needs assessment, project design, community development, training, production of resources, monitoring and evaluation. He has particular experience with the learning circle method and is skilled in enabling people to recognise and utilise their life skills. David also has a sound understanding of gender and its importance, particularly to identifying and addressing barriers to participation, and has conducted gender analysis training for a variety of non-profit organisations.

David has worked regularly on governance issues at the community and organisational level over the last 35 years. This includes assisting organisations to develop democratic structures, draft constitutions and implement internal leadership and membership education programs. His experience with democratising of local organisations includes working with trade unions in Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania during the years of change in the former Eastern Europe, and with the African National Congress and South African National Civic Organisation in South Africa in the transition from apartheid to democratic governance.

David has supported many not for profit organisations in developing income generated projects, run workshops for students accountants and new started social enterprise-and is supporting the development of a Social Enterprise hub/school in Melbourne.

David is also involved in the development of governance risk management frameworks designed a number Undergraduate Courses on Social Enterprises and programs for accountants and their involvement in the sector

Miles Deayton

Miles Deayton

Capability Developer

Miles is a Capability Developer. While job searches on this role do not come up with a lot of hits; nevertheless it is a lasting and even growing passion of his. For many years he has been involved with guiding and supporting people to build their capability. The people he has worked with have come from different business environment, ranged in age and education

Miles is keenly aware that capacity building includes elements other than developing the people in an organisation, although this is where he starts. In this regard Miles loves it when he can solve a problem and even better when he can do this working with others. So the organizational concern may be a systems issue (soft or information technology), a matter of design or lack thereof, or helping a business enhance its processes.

The skills, passion and experience that Miles possesses have been the outcome of working on practical business problems, and then applying a connected

This overall skill and experience set is ideally suited to the Capacity International client base. Miles can work with new entrants to the sector; harnessing their exciting ideas and enthusiasm by exploring concepts such as risk management, as well as honing in on particular concerns that an established organisation may have, such as blended performance measurement, or how to successfully grow their social enterprise..





  • David Shires +61 (0)409355110
  • Miles Deayton +61 (0)401286301

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