Social entrepreneurship achieving social change in Ukraine
The international conference #SocialBusinessInUA took place in Kyiv, Ukraine last week as a final event of the projekt ‘Social Entrepreneurship: Achieving Social Change at the Bottom Initiative’ run by SE Forum’s Ukrainian partner; Ukrainian Philanthropist Forum. SE Forum was invited to speak at the conference to share an international perspective on social entrepreneurship.
Because of the pandemic, the conference was held online and virtually gathered owners of social businesses, supporting organisations, educational institutions and other parties interested in social entrepreneurship and innovation. The conference included local and international speakers from countries such as USA, Ireland and Latvia with discussions focusing on current issues of social entrepreneurship development in Ukraine in the context of the pandemic and on effective anti-crisis tools and opportunities for further development of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Our Impact Analyst Svitlana Pinchuk took part in a panel discussion to share insights and learnings from our recent report on collaborations between traditional businesses and social enterprises, as well as to discuss where the world and Ukraine are moving and what the future for social entrepreneurs could look like.
Social entrepreneurship developments in Ukraine
A White Book for social entrepreneurship in Ukraine was recently presented for experts to discuss. The document, which describes possible ways to support and develop social entrepreneurship in the country, will be presented to the Ministry of Economics and will hopefully become a basis for the development of state policy for social entrepreneurship in 2021-2023.
Whilst the paper is an important step in building the ecosystem and uniting all the actors under the shared vision for the development of the sector, there are still questions and issues for the sector in Ukraine to deal with. The definition of social entrepreneurship is one as the White Book mainly considers non-profits as the most appropriate legal form for a social enterprise, which could be a limiting factor for those organisations and enterprises that do social good but use a different legal form.
Crisis leading innovation
As many other countries, Ukraine is also facing a lot of challenges due to the pandemic with a complicated economic situation making it more difficult for social businesses to stay financially viable. However, the conference presented discussions and further ideas around the possibilities of using an innovative and agile approach alongside cross-sector collaborations to increase the success rates for social enterprises. And the large amount of inspiring projects that have come up with creative solutions during the pandemic is a sign of positive things happening in the sector.
The developments over the last few years and the presentations at the conference last week have showed the improvements in the social innovation sector in Ukraine and it’s great to see the potential in how social entrepreneurship can play a part in developing the country.
For those of you interested in finding out more about the conference and the developments in Ukraine, you can watch the full recording (in English and Ukrainian) here.