Catalyzing the Field of the Social Enterprise: From the Social Enterprise Summit

I asked Lee Fox to share ideas and conversations from this week’s Social Enterprise Summit.  We’ll post additional blogs video interviews next week with social entrepreneurs from Chemists Without Borders, Universal Giving and Donors Choose.  If you’re at the conference say, ‘hi’ to Lee and ask her about her social venture, KooDooZ.

The Social Enterprise Alliance Summit hit a record-level attendance this year with more than 700 social entrepreneurs from 31 countries.  Thursday morning kicked off with discussions on how to catalyze the field of the social enterprise with Jim Schorr, Peter Holbrook, Anne Jamieson and Kathleen Martinez representing the perspectives of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

We were asked to consider the phenomenon of the social enterprise itself.  Still evolving towards its rightful definition, it became clear that all types of social enterprises will need to come together in order to shape common practices, measures, policies and even language so that national and international strategies can be implemented.

Specifically, social enterprises need a long-term, replicable systems-approach coupled with public buy-in.  Until this sector is able to identify clear evidence on how social enterprises provide practical and sustainable solutions, we risk entitling our respective governments to put their problems on the shoulders of a social enterprise without the mutual responsibility and investment of both parties.

In consideration of the advancements made by U.K.- based social enterprises and their government, both the United States and Canada should look to the Social Enterprise Manifesto —  a tool to encourage public awareness to the fact that the social enterprise holds the key to our global problems.

Driven by social and environmental missions, social enterprises play a powerful role in the overall growth and prosperity of a community.  Not only do they provide the jobs, skills and services needed to unite communities, social enterprises also appear to be more resilient to economic instabilities than traditional businesses.  As a result, this sector is capable of building a more plural economy.

Conference updates on Twitter at #Socent10.

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