Asia’s Social Innovations, Enterprises, and Public/Private Partnerships

Posted by Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal on June 11, 2018

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Dear Reader,
“Private donors — many of whom have gained unprecedented personal wealth in recent years — dread the endless cycle of fundraising pitches. While they might aspire to do world-changing work through their philanthropy, there isn’t a ready market for breakthrough ideas that they can tap into. So, it’s no surprise that many with the means and the heart to give big end up doing less than they dream of doing. And it’s why some of the world’s best-positioned change-makers, both doers and funders, feel forced to give up on their biggest dreams, and the possibility of creating truly audacious change is left underexplored.”

The Audacious Project

Across the globe there has been a rapid rise in the number of social sector innovators and entrepreneurs who want to find innovative ways to solve or move the needle on society’s problems. They are increasingly deploying the methods of business and private capital, if that helps them to do so. However, as stated by Joy in the Deal Share article “despite the growing interest and commitment by stakeholders, there exists a gap between funders and Social Purpose Organizations (SPO) . . . the common feedback is a struggle by funders to identify the right SPOs.”

In Asia, “while governments have a vital role to play, it is increasingly the private sector that is stepping up to tackle the challenges of inequality and poverty.” To address these challenges, AVPN’s Deal Share (link to article) is leading a regional strategy, and national trend, by convening a diverse group of social investors and providing them with a platform to foster collaboration. We find this strategy confirmed by other international markets that are creating spaces of encounter for academia, government, the private sector, and civil society dialogue to enable collaboration and the creation of new cross-organizational investment models. Internationally, we see the need for new spaces led by social enterprises that seek a community of practice with their peers to share sector-based knowledge concerning evaluation, finances, funding and sponsors, hiring and diversity, and mentorship from those enterprises that have achieved scale and offer transparent spaces to share their models with interested investors.

In addition, actors in the Social Innovation and Enterprise industry are concluding that social innovation and social enterprise, while achieving better social impact goals, need to engage in the world of public policy and systems change. Although social innovation and enterprise are sparking change, large-scale change often can only be achieved through national, state, and local policy changes that embrace innovation and new social sector models. Social Enterprises need to be Social Capital Agents as they are motivated by social good and are there for the long-term. They foster, formulate, perform, and evaluate society’s policies that are in the furtherance of public good.

The current status is evident, and though difficult, a path forward has been laid out. By creating spaces of encounter for academia, state, the private sector, and civil society the next steps towards more sustainable and innovative models and necessary policy change are crystal clear.

We hope you read the articles in this edition to gain a sense of the promise and future of ASIA’s evolving Social Sector.

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