Social Entrepreneurship:New stream of development for economic and social progress

Currently, both developed and developing societies continue to confront complex and varied economic and social problems.These problems exist not only at the individual level ndash; unemployment, indebtedness, child abuse, child labour, drug abuse and local crime ndash; but also at the regional, national and international level ndash; widespread poverty, absence of basic educational and health systems, human trafficking, and racial and prejudicial conflict.
Although many attempts have been made to address these problems, by governments, commercial sectors, communities and social organisations, such attempts have often been thwarted by limitations imposed by the strict and rigid laws and regulations of the governments, laws which are difficult to change.They may also been ineffective because of conflicts of interest in the commercial sector where the goal of business is usually focused on making as much profit as possible.
For many years, the governments, business sectors, communities and social organisations have failed to tackle these problems, to confront the difficulties suppressing positive social progress at local, national and international levels.It is proposed that, by drawing on the combined strengths of these groups, a coalescence of these could compensate for the weaknesses of the individual sectors and provide possible solutions to this problem.Extending this idea, the concept of social enterprises and social entrepreneurs, currently becoming main-stream in the international arena, could be encouraged to expand and to be utilised in taking part in solving such economic and social problems, underpinned by their strength in creativity and with appropriate governmental support.Promoting social entrepreneurs to take a critical role in solving economic and social problems could become a strategic path towards the resolution of economic and social problems in this century.
Social entrepreneurship is expanding and becoming influential in resolving economic and social problems.There is a huge increase, worldwide, in the number of citizen organisations evolving, Social Entrepreneurship programmes in universities of high repute are rapidly expanding, and many countries are affecting changes in their laws and regulations to encourage and support social entrepreneurialism.
The increase in citizen organisations, and the attention afforded them by their governments, implies that those organisations and governments recognise that the successful approach to addressing the economic social problems of the world demands the participation of the citizen sector.In developing countries there has been a massive increase in the number of such organisations:Indonesiarsquo;s have gone from a solitary one to 2,000 over the last twenty years; India has more than 1,000,000; in Bangladesh, the majority of the countryrsquo;s development work is handled by 20,000 citizen organisations; in the 1990s, Brazilrsquo;s number of registered citizen organisations jumped from 250,000 to 400,000, an increase of 60 percent.In developed countries the increases reflect a similar pattern.Canadarsquo;s number of citizen organisation registered has increased by 50 percent since 1987 to the current 200,000.In the 1990s, France had an average annual increase of 70,000 groups established.During the past ten years, the number of public service groups registered with the Internal Revenue Service in the United States rose from 464,000 to 734,000. As one scholar put it, lsquo;More people give, than vote, in this countryrsquo;.The number of international citizen organisations registered rose from 6,000 in the 1990s to 26,000 today. Numerous international non-governmental development organisations (INGOs) such as Oxfam, Care, Plan International, Ashoka, Youth Venture and many others, were instigated as small non-profit groups in developed countries and are now very evident and well recognised across the world.Globally, there are thousands of citizen organisations and millions of people engaged in economic and social development work.
Social Entrepreneur programmes are now firmly embedded in the curriculum of many internationally renowned universities such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins and Oxford.Harvard has established the Social Entrepreneurship Collaboratory (SE Lab) where, in class, all students are taught to think and create projects to resolve real economic and social problems.Real problem solving, rather than addressing theoretical problems, is regarded as an intrinsic aspect of these projects.Stanford University has more than 300 students enrolled for its Social Entrepreneur course, the number growing each year and having more than doubled over the last four years ndash; 59 students in 2000 and 153 in 2003.The Course Series motivates students to create real change through these projects, one having raised eighty-thousand US dollars to fight HIV/AIDS.
Some developed countries have been very active in encouraging their people to participate in this work.In the early years of his administration, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a speech to emphasise the significance of social entrepreneurialism.He furthered this by appointing a Minister to oversee and support volunteer work and to encourage British citizens to become involved with the work of non-governmental organisations.Many approved social development projects received governmental funding.
The concept of social entrepreneurship has been advanced in diverse working units and organisations across many nations, especially within developed countries.In the latter, the trend has been for the people to encourage and expect the citizen organisations to resolve economic and social problems, to become volunteers and to make financial contributions, donations, to these organisations.The results are networks of strong social structures, foundations to support the social work within these countries.
Concluding, it is evident that social entrepreneurship is rapidly becoming the main effective method of addressing economic and social problems internationally, nationally and within local communities.Thailand needs to consider this concept, this way of resolving our Societyrsquo;s problems.The Government needs to be encouraged to support social entrepreneurialism. We all should encourage and support those who want to participate as social entrepreneurs by creating educational facilities for studying this methodology, by building educational Centres of Social Entrepreneurship.This is a way forward to effectively influence the many social problems that Thai society faces today.
Bangkok Post