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Symposium 2009

Solution for The New Wave of Social Entrepreneurship

The Challenge

In the aftermath of the collapse of the western financial system, many observers agree that neither unfettered financial markets nor invasive regulation are able to ensure that financial and busines ...

In the aftermath of the collapse of the western financial system, many observers agree that neither unfettered financial markets nor invasive regulation are able to ensure that financial and business leaders will necessarily act in the public interest.

“Reverse engineer” social entrepreneurship by giving conventional commercial enterprises incentives to become social entrepreneurs.

Over the past 10 to 20 years, investors have spent millions of dollars trying to build social enterprises from scratch. While this can be rewarding in a broader sense, the failure rates are very high and a great deal of money, time, and effort are wasted.

Instead of concentrating only on the “hard work” of early stage investment, social funders should explore ways to engage with mainstream businesses and encourage them to develop a social dimension. There are potentially numerous ways to provide such incentives. Businesses may, for example, be offered cheaper funding in exchange for agreeing to hire “hard to employ” individuals such as ex-offenders and those with disabilities. Or they may be encouraged to move to areas of greater economic need, enabling social enterprise to grow much faster while reducing the level of resource wastage.

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