In order to create awareness on social enterprises and social financing and reflect on their potential to contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction, an international conference is organised by Lanka Social Ventures in partnership with Oxfam, National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA), British Council, Good Market and VEGA BIZ+, Lanka Impact Investors Network (LIIN) and Social Enterprise Lanka.
Lanka Social Ventures is a social enterprise committed to promote and support entrepreneurship and innovation for social development and environmental sustainability.
The theme of the conference is ‘Social Enterprises and SMEs for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction’. The conference will be held on January 23 and 24, 2017, at Hilton Colombo Residencies.
The conference focuses on the following topics:
Building enabling ecosystems for social enterprises and SMEs with positive social impact
Unlocking the potential of alternative finance and social investment
Experience and good practices of successful social enterprises at local and global level
Social finance providers’ experiences and good practices
Key messages and lessons for Sri Lanka
The conference will bring together an assorted and an eminent collective of local and international entrepreneurs, policymakers, development practitioners and enthusiasts who believe in the potential of social entrepreneurship for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
The conference will be an excellent platform for networking and sharing ideas and experiences on global themes of social entrepreneurship, social innovation, sustainability and poverty reduction, etc. Social enterprises are businesses that address social, environmental problems while generating income and employment. They differ from other businesses as instead of channelling profits to owners, social enterprises reinvest to support their social mission and thereby contribute to improving people’s lives. Furthermore, social enterprises also integrate marginalized groups to become stakeholders of economic development and reduce poverty. While introducing an alternative perspective to businesses, social enterprises contribute towards reforming the way in which business is usually conducted. Today, social enterprises are emerging as a prominent economic and social force in both developed and developing world.
Social finance is an important and rapidly developing feature in social enterprise landscape. It is considered as an approach to managing money to solve social and environmental problems. This entails different approaches to creating a positive social impact: socially responsible investments, micro-loans, community investments, crowd-funding, venture philanthropy and more. Impact investing is the growing movement to invest in ventures and initiatives that will create a positive impact on communities and provide a financial return.
In Sri Lanka too, social enterprises and social finance, though fairly new concepts, are slowly gathering momentum. At present there are successful social enterprises operating across the country.