On October 23, the conference room of DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Minsk hosted a round table "Social entrepreneurship: growth barriers and development prospects". Representatives of Belarusian public organizations, traditional businesses, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, and the Minsk City Executive Committee discussed social entrepreneurship by doing a joint SWOT analysis.
The event was organized by “Healthy Choice” public association, with support from Internationales Bildungs- und Begegnungswerk in Dortmund – IBB, within the framework of the Belarusian – German project “Social entrepreneurship: from examples to self-sustainability”.
Maksim Padbiarozkin, manager of the “Social Entrepreneurship Incubator” project in Belarus (ODB Brussels), who facilitated the round table, underscored that development of social entrepreneurship now is not simply a trend but a way to resolve urgent social issues facing our society, which keep growing. “While the character of problems may be different in different countries, developing social entrepreneurship is a way to respond to the challenges that our societies face”. Maksim gave participants of the round table a brief overview of social entrepreneurship in Belarus, which has been evolving rapidly in the past years.
Uladzislau Kaurou, head of “Healthy Choice” public association, also noted that social entrepreneurship could be a great excellent alternative for social projects that lack funding. “For some organizations that believe in a business approach and are willing to work hard, social business is a workable solution. We prefer practical action ourselves, we have a social enterprise “Nashy Maistry” (Our Craftsmen), which employs people with alcohol and drug addiction. It is encouraging that we have all gathered here today to discuss issues that in the future will help us make some concrete conclusions and take action to develop this sector”.
SWOT format is an analysis of external and internal aspects. Participants of the round table used this method to analyze the sector of social entrepreneurship: weaknesses and strengths as internal development aspects of the sector, as well as threats and risks as external ones. Maksim Padbiarozkin stressed: “This group work is necessary to take a snapshot of the social entrepreneurship sector in Belarus at this moment in time. This analysis will help you understand how to counter threats and reduce risks, as well as how to use existing opportunities effectively”.
In the final part of the round table, Sara Erdmann, a German partner of the Belarusian – German project “Social entrepreneurship: from examples to self-sustainability”, spoke about the long history of social entrepreneurship in Germany and the fact that the focus of projects had shifted significantly over the previous years. Before, many social projects were aimed at engaging people with disabilities, while today more and more businesses are addressing issues of immigrants, national minorities, and environment. Germany, just like Belarus, has no legally enshrined term “social entrepreneurship,” so experts are still debating which businesses exactly should fall under this category.
Since 2015, Belarus has also had a lot of discussion on the need to develop a social entrepreneurship environment. According to Yanina Ladysheva, Senior Researcher at the Research Institute of Labor and Social Protection, the Government of Belarus has commissioned a draft law on social entrepreneurship to be developed by May 2019.
Results of the group work will be used to prepare a final document on joint SWOT analysis of the social entrepreneurship sector in Belarus. It will describe the strengths of the sector and actions needed to develop and build on its strengths, as well as its weaknesses and actions necessary to make up for it. Also, existing threats / risks and opportunities for social entrepreneurship in Belarus will be listed. When the document is ready, we will post it on our website.
Text by: Valeriya Nikalaichyk
Photo by: Nikolay Taraskin
|The goal of the programme is to develop a package of social entrepreneurship training programmes in Russian using innovative international practices, as well as the experience of Belarusian diaspora representatives who have become successful entrepreneurs in European Union countries and the USA.|
The material was prepared within the framework of the "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator", implemented by ODB Brussels in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands), Belarusian Youth Public Union "New Faces" and International Civil Association "Union of Belarusian of the world “Motherland", with support from the European Union.