Archive for March, 2011

ADB symposium gathers social entrepreneurs

From the Nation:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), Impact Investment Exchange Asia, and Thammasat University are jointly organising the Impact Forum for Social Change, Global Social Venture Competition, and Social Entrepreneurship Symposium, starting tomorrow at the Landmark Hotel in Bangkok.

More than 100 social entrepreneurs and representatives of governments, the business community, development agencies and research institutions will participate in the activities. Also involved are so-called impact investment groups – those seeking both financial and social returns.

According to the ADB, social enterprises offer huge potential for tackling socio-economic problems, such as lack of access to healthcare, education, housing, and micro-enterprise financing. Thailand boasts an emerging pool of dynamic social enterprises, and an even greater number of social entrepreneurs looking to start up new initiatives.

While many social entrepreneurs and enterprises are ready to boost their positive social impact, they require improved access to growth capital, capacity building, and market-relevant skills.

“Impact investors … are addressing the need for capital by committing resources to businesses considered socially and environmentally responsible,” the Manila-based bank said.

On the sidelines of this symposium, Thammasat University is also hosting its fourth annual Global Social Venture Competition – Southeast Asia. University students from seven countries have teamed up to join the competition and 10 finalists, including four Thai teams, will showcase their plans today.

Two Thai teams are from Thammasat’s IMBA (International Master of Business Administration) programme. One team, named “Smile Floss”, deals with the first organic silk floss in Asean to support local silk producers. DeepScan offers an innovative endoscope that can be used to detect cancer at the early stage and target low-income people.

I-AM, from Thammasat’s IBMP (Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programme), collects harmful by-products of the leather industry and turns them into leather board.

Indhan, the team from the Asian Institute of Technology, is a biogas system provider, aiming to reduce dependence on external energy among rural households in Nepal.

Social Enterprises Meet in Thailand to Address Challenges

Asian Development Bank Press Release

BANGKOK, THAILAND (3 March 2011) – Social entrepreneurs are generating business ideas to address social and environmental challenges in Thailand and around Asia. But they require greater financial support from impact investors to expand their ventures.

More than 100 social entrepreneurs and their supporters are gathering in Bangkok today and tomorrow to discuss the huge potential of social enterprises in improving lives through the power of the free market. They are convening as part of the combined Global Social Venture Competition, Social Entrepreneurship Symposium, and Impact Forum for Social Change.

Social entrepreneurs are persons who develop fresh business solutions to major social challenges. They tend to be ambitious and committed to developing and implementing ideas for wide-scale societal change. Social entrepreneurs work to solve problems by developing sustainable and market-based solutions to address perceived gaps in what government and charity organizations are doing.

“The Competition and Symposium provide the opportunity to engage social entrepreneurs who are changing the world with their energy and creativity,” said Edward Rubesch, Director of the IMBA Program at the Thammasat Business School. “These events showcase how social entrepreneurs are developing innovative solutions to today’s most pressing problems.”

One sponsor of the two-day program is Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX Asia), which is building the first social stock exchange in Asia. “A regional stock exchange serving social enterprises from Thailand and other developing Asian countries will link social enterprises in need of funding with impact investors who understand their business models and value their social mission,” said Durreen Shahnaz, the organization’s founder and chairperson.

Support for the combined program has also been provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “Through its operations, ADB supports a vibrant private sector,” said Bart W. Édes, Director of ADB’s Poverty, Gender, and Social Development Division. “Social enterprises promote inclusive growth through their clever utilization of socially oriented business models. They are building from the grassroots up, and making their positive impact felt in communities across Thailand and beyond.”

Young social entrepreneurs, government representatives, and potential investors are gathering to explore how to boost the capacity of social enterprises in Southeast Asia. The overlapping events – which are open to the public – will highlight promising new initiatives, offer participants with a deeper understanding of impact investment, and explore the market readiness of social enterprises in Thailand.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.