United Nations adopts resolution in support of social entrepreneurship
Break out the bubbly in every country, in any language. Here comes a New Year’s Resolution that will resonate with all CausePlanet readers. We can collectively raise our glasses and toast! By a vote of 129 to 31, The United Nations just adopted (Dec.7) a resolution on “Entrepreneurship for Development” that will encourage all member states to increase support for entrepreneurial endeavors by reducing financial, policy and regulatory barriers that inhibit the growth of small and mid-size businesses worldwide. For entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs everywhere, this is great news.
The resolution recognizes what many of us live and breathe every day: the important contribution entrepreneurship can make toward sustainable development by creating jobs and driving economic growth and innovation, while in many ways, it improves social conditions and confronts environmental challenges. Importantly, it stresses the positive role entrepreneurship plays in driving job creation and expanding opportunities for all, including for women and youth. Sensibly, it urges a coordinated and integrated approach, involving all stakeholders, including civil society, academia and the private sector, while recognizing the importance of partnerships with the private sector. Entrepreneurship was acknowledged to play an important role in generating employment and investment; developing new technologies and innovative business models; and enabling high, sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth. Ultimately, it was recognized that non-governmental stakeholders (like us!) are the main drivers of entrepreneurship.
My perspective on the resolution—social entrepreneurship
I was invited to address the merits of the resolution from a social entrepreneurial perspective. I chose to illustrate the need for support, nurturing and empowerment of the social side of the equation by explaining (and showing a video of) the work of Albina Ruiz. Albina is a Peruvian who built a community-based solid waste management system that plays an increasingly important role in improving sanitation and health conditions in Peru and other countries in Latin America. I specifically chose Albina’s story because every stage of the waste management cycle has created a network of employment and income-generating enterprises that integrates business and social value throughout the entire process, exactly what I thought the resolution’s intent should address. I was very familiar with her story because I included her story in a chapter in my book, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Around the World (Wiley, April 2012).
Near and dear to my heart, the resolution also focuses on the value of teaching entrepreneurial skills at all levels of education, ensuring the full and equal participation of women and girls, and encourages entrepreneurship education through skills development, capacity building, training programs and business incubators. It goes one step further and acknowledges the role of entrepreneurship in enabling youth to turn their creativity, energy and ideas into business opportunities that help facilitate their entry into the labor market.
Now that’s a resolution that really rings in the New Year!
For additional information about the resolution and what it hopes to accomplish, read my article that appeared in the Opinion section of CNN.com on December 6.