On February 24, Orsha (Vitebsk region) hosted a round table on "The Role of Social Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development of Local Communities" within the framework of the II Belarusian Entrepreneurship Week.
The event was organized by Social Business Technologies in partnership with Vitebsk and Orsha entrepreneurship support centres, with important input of ODB Brussels.
During the round table, representatives of local businesses, government agencies and local authorities discussed development of social entrepreneurship in Belarus and its role as an important tool for improving the quality of life among local communities.
Galina Matushenka, Director of Social Business Technologies, opened the event, saying that “the round table aims to draw attention to regional-level development of social entrepreneurship, facilitate the development and support social businesses, help them promote their services and products and build a positive image in local communities".
Maksim Padbiarozkin of ODB Brussels in Minsk, programme manager for development of social entrepreneurship in Belarus, presented the study of social enterprises in Belarus, and talked about the best global practices in the area. According to him, Belarus today has a need to create and develop an ecosystem of social entrepreneurship secret, including enshrining this notion in the law.
Also, a public report on social and economic benefit was presented, prepared by "Baran Arabesques", a social company.
According to Ludmila Frantava, Director of "Baran Arabesques", this report is largely an attempt to assert the company as a social enterprise, which was created and operates to tackle an important social issue: vocational rehabilitation and integration of the disabled in the society.
Ludmila Frantava during the round table «The Role of Social Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development of Local Communities», Orsha, Vitebsk region, February 24, 2017.
Social enterprises should assert themselves more openly and actively, sharing their stories of success in resolving social issues. To this end, they can make use of the new for public reporting methodology on the benefits and economic effectiveness of social enterprises, which was developed by Social Business Technologies and is planned to be widely disseminated at all related social events. According to Yuliya Siarheyeva, one of the creators of the methodology, "this methodology can provide a jump-off point for development of voluntary public reporting among social enterprises, which will help raise awareness and increase confidence of the general public”.
The event ended with a vigorous discussion, with participants evaluating development prospects for social entrepreneurship in our country. The majority consider it important to support and develop social entrepreneurship. However, to make that happen, the country needs to improve its business and investment climate and raise the social status of entrepreneurship in general.
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.