Social Entrepreneurship Summit Participants Unite in Next Steps for The Sector



    Leaders address issues of: Finance, Business Model, Mentoring, Diversity,
    Policy and Education

    TORONTO, Dec. 5 /CNW/ - Over 250 participants attended the Canadian
Social Entrepreneurship Summit, an interactive gathering of non-profit,
academic and social thought leaders from the social entrepreneurship sector in
Canada. Participants convened today for a full day to share and engage on
experiences, build cohesion and collaboration, and develop specific
initiatives addressing some of the most significant social, economic and
environmental issues facing the country.
    At the inaugural event, local and international leaders from business,
non-profit, education, and government sectors attended a day-long series of
discussions. Participants took stock of the country's successes and explored
ways to address its challenges, including how to attack unmet social needs
through innovation that is both sustainable and scalable.
    Social Entrepreneurship Summit Chair, David Pecaut, opened the event by
helping to frame the context and definition of social entrepreneurship.
    "It is enormously heartwarming to see so many leaders from all parts of
our varied community speaking the same language, referring to the same
concepts and having an advanced understanding of what social entrepreneurship
really means," said Pecaut. "Canada has a long and rich history of social
entrepreneurship, and in addition to addressing how to move the sector forward
there is a lot to be celebrated."

    Ideas discussed at today's event included:

    
    The International Stage:

    -   Canada brings its own individual strengths as a leader in social
        entrepreneurship. Learning from abroad, and form ourselves, are
        important to further strengthen the work in Canada but it is
        important to recognize our important role internationally

    Finance

    -   Innovative funding mechanisms are crucial - they need to have a
        tolerance for failure and the ability to tap larger pools of capital

    Business Model:

    -   The power of social entrepreneurship is in the hybrid and flexible
        nature of the model
    -   Social entrepreneurs should not feel restricted by a pure charity,
        non-profit or for profit model but rather be creative in the
        development of their business models
    -   Tension between economic and social goals is natural and should be
        embraced. Often working through this tension is at the root of
        innovation and impact
    -   All levels of government in Canada are looking to social innovation
        as a way to solve intractable problems
    -   True innovation isn't perfect, and the hybrid model is reflection of
        that reality

    Mentoring:

    -   There is great potential and a big appetite for corporate Canada to
        engage in mentoring - not just in leadership roles but in functions
    -   The emphasis on mentoring, especially at this stage of development of
        social entrepreneurship, will necessarily be on skills transfer
        rather than direct experience
    -   Social entrepreneurs can create opportunities by match-making
        services to pair expertise with their objectives

    Diversity and Inclusion:

    -   Diversity is and will continue to be an integral part of social
        entrepreneurship
    -   Diversity of leadership amongst social entrepreneurs, not unlike
        other leadership gatherings, continues to be a challenge
    -   Although there are still unanswered questions, the sector should take
        the opportunity to translate their experience to help address these
        problems

    Policy and Role of Government:

    -   There is a strong need to encourage government to procure goods and
        services through social enterprise
    -   Social entrepreneurs must continue dialogue in order to determine how
        government can contribute
    -   A national task force could be one way to address the gap in national
        coordination
    -   Through a national task force, continued and unified discussions can
        continue to develop ways to get levels of all government to
        contribute

    Education

    -   There is an opportunity to instill social entrepreneurship much
        earlier - one recommendation being to coordinate high school
        competitions focusing on social entrepreneurs and business ventures
    -   Social entrepreneurship needs to start young to reinforce it as a
        career path for the youth of this country
    

    Comprehensive full day findings from the day Social Entrepreneurship
Summit will be posted on December 14, 2007 at
http://www.marsdd.com/socialentrepreneurshipsummit.html.





For further information:

For further information: Dorenda McNeil, Counsel Public Relations,
dmcneil@counselpr.ca, Tel: (416) 961-5898 x 216

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SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMIT

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