This June, I had the honor to be one of the speakers during a seminar series organized by the Middlesex University. The fifth seminar of this series with the topic “ (Small) Social Enterprises and CSR in emerging/developing countries“ was held in Royal Holloway University southwest of London. Being one out of two practitioners I shared my experience as social entrepreneurs as well as in my role as COO of a social business incubator in a 40 minutes session.
The talk started off with the special geographical conditions in Nepal and its social structures. From there the audience was introduced in 4 influential aspects on the Nepalese economy: the political setting and the (non-) existent infrastructure, financing possibilities with a special focus on the potential and limits of micro financing, the ethical behavior of the private sector as well as the impact of international donors and on the local economy. The speech ended with a short report on the status quo of social entrepreneurship and players in this field in Nepal.
The feedback and discussion afterwards was as manifold as is was far reaching. Starting from the question of a necessity of a social business movement in conflicted Jemen, coming to the influence of the Maoist on any kind of social business activities and reaching discussions about the relevance of informal economy in this regard.
Very enlightening and inspiring were the contributions of the other speakers on that day: Anika Zeyen from Royal Holloway University shared her paper on the relevance of third parties on the development and success of Social Business Entrepreneurs. Fergus Lyon introduced his study on hybrid organizations in Ghana and Bangladesh briefly, while Amy Parker spoke about the social business activities of Afikids.
The day was wrapped up by David Littlwood (Reading Universtiy) who together with his colleague Diane Holt from Essex University presented his findings on resilience in connection with Social Entrepreneurship before Iain Davies concluded the day with his thoughts on poverty alleviation through social enterprise networks; a session which was a manifesto in itself.
Also the breaks between the sessions were full of fruitful possibilities to exchange with other participants and discuss a few potential joint projects. The first of all is the publication of the presented topic in the “Edward Elgar Handbook serie’s: “Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility in a global perspective.” Monon e.U is looking very much forward to this and to more interesting project together.