Social Entrepreneurship: Challenges as New Opportunities
On 25th of February the NGO “Society Initiatives Institute” with the support of MitOst and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom organised “SE Days” – the Forum on Social Entrepreneurship (SE). During the Forum the participants debated the current state and prospects of Social Entrepreneurship in Ukraine.
“Our aim is to make a social entrepreneurship a widespread activity in Ukraine. For NGOs it will help to work without grants and for civic activists it is an opportunity to have their own business and to continue to do something for the society”, - told Lilia Tkachuk, organiser of the Forum.
Experts from Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Moldova were gathered at the Forum. The experts made a disclosure about all the aspects of social enterprises’ activities and presented a possible scenario of how the field may develop in Ukraine. The Forum was set in three different formats: lectures, workshops and world cafés.
Andrii Fedotov, curator of social entrepreneurship in «Impact Hub Odessa» noted: “One of the main principles of SE is the trust of society. For example, if the enterprise is restricted for undertaking some activities, it could not gather public support. A social enterprise has more advantages in sharing its activities with media and the society.”
Anna Uvarova, founder of the charity shop “Laska”, highlighted: “SE for us is the process of changing people’s way of thinking about charity. We want to challenge the stereotypes about the fact that charity is an activity only for wealthy people, or if you get dressed in a thrift store, because you have financial problems. In the UK it is the other way round: this kind of store is popular, as you can find there something like vintage cloths.”
The participants discovered that the SE forms a symbiosis between business and community service. In addition, they learned about successful practices of solving social problems, business modeling of social enterprises and investment attraction.
“For the social entrepreneurs a problem is an opportunity”, - said Natalia Bolibrukh, from the City Institute in Lviv.
During the World Café the participants discussed four different social problems and provided solutions for these issues. Alina Bocharnikova, a moderator for the topic on the interaction between social entrepreneurs and the state, summarised: “The less the state delivers its duties, the more work the social entrepreneurs have. Both sides have the instruments, which could help to achieve the same goal - improving the socio-economic situation in Ukraine. We need a synergy.”