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Social Enterprise: Developing the social economy and generating sustainable and creative solutions to poverty and social exclusion

In the second year of this program (2011) we were pleased to announce the first RUPP conference on social enterprise which is designed to encourage cross sector participation and to bring together a multidisciplinary collection of students and academics. This conference featured one main session, six 'themed' sessions and a final problem solving workshop for students. It explored a range of issues including:

What does Social Enterprise look like? And how can business models directly address social needs?
Questions about the challenges facing social enterprises, balancing social and financial decisions, promoting youth entrepreneurship, seeking support from the Government and private sector.

How can the 'social economy' create employment and promote 'job readiness'? And how can this be matched with the human resource needs of the private sector?
Questions about different kinds of measurement tools and accounting methods like which explore how measures are important as a way to monitor social and financial progress and also as a way to inspire investor confidence.

What are the implications of social enterprise for rural development in Cambodia?
Questions about the nature of local realities in rural communities and how widely held assumptions about social enterprise are likely to be interpreted on the ground .

How far can social enterprise provide a sustainable model for NGO's?
Questions about the changes NGO's need to make if they to move towards a social enterprise model, the possible benefits and concerns when this pathway is chosen, and need for a wider recognition of social enterprise by policy makers.

How do socially entrepreneurial products meet needs and find a place in the market?
Questions about the way that socially useful products are identified and designed, the ways acquisition of materials, inputs from the private sector (including expertise and potential investment) and ways to generate demand for and market socially useful products.
Feedback demonstrated that this event proved useful to agents from across the public/private/civil society sectors and helped to generate deeper understanding about the mutual benefits of social enterprise.




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