Policy Dialogue On Social Enterprise 2017, Day One Recap: The Challenges We Face Today Are Big and Complex. They Call For New Kind Of Business Practices
“Existing company law, which was designed hundred and fifty years ago, is too old to deal with the problems that the world is facing today. In fact, it was not designed for solving our problems rather solve their problems back then, says Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK, on the opening day of the two-day long forum on Social Enterprise by British Council in collaboration with the Access to Information (A2i) Programme, of the Prime Minister’s Office, “the problems we face today are too big and complex and it calls for a more conducive company law or business practices.” According to speakers, panelists and the attendees at the first day of two-days event put together by British Council, social enterprise can be a potential response to the problems we are facing today not only in Bangladesh but also globally. Mr. Holbrook suggests we need radical thinking.
Enter Forum on Social Enterprise: Day One
The third annual Forum on Social Enterprise, organized by British Council in collaboration with the Access to Information (A2i) and other players in Space including Dnet, Better Stories, team engine and Future Startup kicked off today in Dhaka.
The event aptly titled ‘Social Enterprise: Collaboration for Impact, a well thought out proposition followed by last year’s event that was focused more on building awareness around impact social enterprises could have and opportunities for them in Bangladesh, attracted policy makers, social entrepreneurs, ecosystem players, investors, practitioners and stakeholders from Bangladesh and abroad.
The first day of the forum covered topics including collaboration for more impactful policy, promoting commerce with a sense of social responsibility, and the state of overall social enterprise in Bangladesh. Here are a couple of insights from the event:
- Poverty is caused by exclusion. Our social construct is such that it exclude people from having access to opportunities around health, finance, and education. Dealing with the exclusion and finding a way out for people to have more access can dramatically drive poverty down.
- There is an overall lack of clarity around the idea social enterprise. It needs more clarity. We might not start with a definite definition, which is always an evolving process but we can start somewhere. Drawing a line and then evolving as we go can be a better option than delaying for having something perfect.
- The fundamental difference between social enterprise and a conventional business is that business often tends to maximize the value of its shareholders while social enterprise aims to do the entirely different thing.
- Bangladesh is at a crossroads today. Our economy is growing, we have a huge young population as well. While these are good news for the time being, these are also challenging. We have to create opportunities for these young people. Social enterprise has a huge role play in this changing scenario.
Like the past forums, this year’s event has brought together more than 100 policy experts and social entrepreneurs and impact investors, investment intermediaries and practitioners from Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the UK.
The event, closing tomorrow, aims to become a festival of social enterprise related ideas and discussions while also creating a greater network of social policy influencers, social entrepreneurs, academia, and private sector players.
The second day of the forum, scheduled tomorrow, February 23rd, will explore ideas around leadership for social enterprise, social investment, finding the connection between social enterprise and SDGs and designing a strategy for Bangladesh to empower social enterprises featuring speakers from both Bangladesh and abroad. The event is open to all but you need an invitation to attend, you may apply for an invitation here.
Note: Future Startup is a strategic partner of the event.