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October 07, 2015

In Almaty were discussed possibilities and problems of social entrepreneurship

In Almaty was conducted “Social entrepreneurship as a new model of persistent social changes” conference, organized by British Council in partnership with “Chevron” company and Almaty Management University (earlier IAB). The aim of conference if to discuss concepts of social entrepreneurship, to exchange experience and create opportunities for participants to present successful examples and to exchange opinions about innovations, tendencies and problems on the sphere of social entrepreneurship.

In framework of the conference, to participants (many of which are social entrepreneurs or have intensions to open social business) were presented presentations, seminars, plenary sessions, discussions and different social projects.

“Social entrepreneurship – is a possibility to integrate business model of successful company with the social model of solving specific society problems”, - noticed “Chevron” company’s representative Leila Aitmukhanova.

“We hope that this conference will help to stimulate development of social entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan and strengthen connections between social entrepreneurs, social organizations, business and state authorities”, - noticed Rouen Kennedy, project manager of partnership program of the British Council in Kazakhstan “Newton – al-Farabi”.

President of Almaty Management University Assylbek Kozhakhmetov, talking about the significance of this conference noticed, that social entrepreneurship highly differs from charity or social responsibility: “Peter Draker (founder of business theory – auth.) was saying: “If you consider, that the aim of business is profit, so you must count, that the aim of people’s life is breathing”. Yes, profit, just like oxygen – is a tool, we can’t live without. But in fact the goal of business is always passion, interest – social, patriotic, personal. If talk about the difference between charity and social enterprise, the difference is huge. Charity – is a modern form of medieval indulgency. Business with such a burdensome way is like trying to get rid of necessity to be socially responsible, to think about society benefit more globally. In case of social entrepreneurship you contribute in project not only money, but also your heart, soul. We are not against charity, as it is, but in my opinion, the right and responsible approach is when you share your heart, hands, volunteers”.

Leone Jarett form the School of social entrepreneurship, London, telling about opportunities in this sphere, noticed, that teaching entrepreneurship, including social, must flow not in theory, but in practice.

Kseniya Yuzhaninova, director of Entrepreneurship and innovations development center of AlmaU, is convinced: “The most perspective ideas are born in universities, and it depends on us, whether these ideas will be realized and the social effect will be gained”.

Talgat Doskenov, the Chairman of committee of social sphere and social partnership of the NHE (National house of entrepreneurs) of the RK “Atameken”, told about provision of bill about social entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan: “the Law “About social entrepreneurship” National house of entrepreneurship will promote either through ministries and government (very long way), or through deputies’ initiative. Unfortunately, in the RK (according to our experience) between bill initiative and its realization can be a gap of 15 years, maybe even more”. 

The conference participants’ interest was caused by projects presentation in the sphere of social entrepreneurship. So, BI group representatives told about the project “House of mother”, which gives temporary resort and opportunity to find a job to young mothers and their children, who lost their home and relatives’ support. Emin Askerov form Astana city presented one more example of social entrepreneurship – workshop for production of wicker furniture. Eldos Bayalyshbayev from Taldykorgan opened the gym for disabled people, about his business he told to forum participants.

Also in frames of the event were held presentations and master-classes on the topic of fundraising, financial literacy, mentoring, marketing and networking for social entrepreneurs. The special interest was caused by the seminar of Rinad Temirbekov, executive director of Eurasia of Central Asia fund, on the topic of “Fundraising and sponsorship: development of project application”. Rinad in 45 minutes could give a big amount of useful information, which, of course, will help entrepreneurs to build social business in future. The representatives of social unifications, non-governmental organizations (NGO), funds were interested in sources, from which they can get funding, tools of fundraising, criteria for the selection of admitted applications, the structure of applications and other practical questions.

Besides, the participants of the conference could familiarize with the results of research on social entrepreneurship, conducted by AlmaU laboratory. The results of research acted as the basis for discussion, in process of which were discussed problems and perspectives of social entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan, government’s role in provision of concept of social entrepreneurship and attractiveness of social entrepreneurs for business.

According to results of AlmaU research, today in Kazakhstan there is no common understanding of concept of social entrepreneurship, which sometimes brings us to incorrect interpreting. For improving the situation and supporting further development of social entrepreneurship, it is necessary to conduct outreach and present examples of real projects from practicing social entrepreneurs.

According to the results of the conference was accepted resolution, in particular, was decided:

-          Unite efforts/strengthen coordination of work of main interested sides in the sphere of SE development (donors, state bodies and NGO);

-          Extend the help from the side of corporate donors, including non-financial support, for instance, mentoring, provision of workplace in company, pro-bono consultation etc.

-          Consider SE laboratory of AlmaU as a methodological platform form defining and discussion of the main criteria of SE in Kazakhstan, conduction of events and researches in the field of SE, development of cases on the examples of successful SE;

-          Contribute in development of Kazakhstan experts, Methodists, research scientists in the field of SE;

Recommend to banks and development institutions to develop financial products, focused on SE needs.