We’re at Mindfield in Merrion Park, Dublin attending Social Entrepreneurship: The Acceptable Face of Capitalism.
Hosted by Mark Little, with Caroline Casey (Kanchi), Dr. Steve Collins (Valid Nutrition) and Mick Kelly (Grow it Yourself). In associaton with Ashoka
Mark Little wraps up the discussion
@MindFieldIE Caroline Casey says there are some days when she wishes she had a steady job but she never regrets being a social entrepreneur
Caroline Casey advises social entrepreneurs to plan and not be scared to move on when they feel their companies have developed as far as they can take them (if they want to)
Question: How do social entrepreneurs manage the growth of their businesses (should they pay themselves more) and what is the long term sustainability of their companies after they leave?
Mick Kelly, pay has to be managed is the way any company manages salaries and pay. If the social entrepreneurship sector is to have long terms success it needs to be competitive.
Question: can social entrepreneurship lead to exploitation?
Dr Collins, While there is a risk social entrepreneurship has the potential to do so much good that it cannot be ignored. Social entrepreneurship can deliver choice to consumers, and epsessially the poor, which just is not there at the moment.
To the audience for questions
Mark Little, “why would Ireland engage with social entrepreneurship?”
Dr Steve Collins, Ireland is a generous country and, even with the recession, the country can punch above its weight.
Mark Little: Social enterprise doesn’t create jobs, does it?
Casey & Collins, social entrepreneurship does create jobs and together they employ over 100 people.
Mark Little, What can the government to to help social entrepreneurship?
Mick Kelly, social entrepreneurship is an opportunity to create jobs but it needs to be helped. In fact, during the recession the his company has created seven jobs.
Mark Little asks is Ireland risk adverse?
Caroline Casey, I have failed so extraordinarily but in Ireland it is not OK to fail. In America it is seen as part of the course. It has to be OK to fail in Ireland, we will only create innovation if we fail and learn.
Failing is about being honest and straight with people.
Mick Kelly, business was the best way to get this running, and without Social Entrepreneurship it would not have happened.
Mick Kelly says to begin his business he just took an ad out in his local paper to ask people if they wanted to attend a meeting in his local library. The first meeting attracted 100 people and has grown across Ireland
Mick Kelly, €5bn of food is imported into ireland this year, when we could produce €3bn of the same produce. In many cases we import as much of the same produce as we export.
Mark Little is introducing Mick Kelly, a freelance journalist who founded “Grow it yourself” a business aimed to promote local produce
Dr Collins: making profit is not bad but the trick is to align the self interest in making money with what is good for people.
Dr Collins: if business realise that they can make money from “starving millions” (by promoting business and providing work for malnourished people). These companies can make money and bring long term benefits to society.
This business has the capacity to generate ~m a year and is a stable, ethical multinational.
Dr Collins: taking a professional, business approach can bring results. Dr Collins says that by setting up a company that researched into the causes of cholera (rather than a charity) he was able to identify how to prevent outbreaks at the source.
His model has now been taken up in by the UN and is used in over 70 countries around the world
Dr Collins: the charity model prevents organisations from learning from their mistakes
Mark Little is talking to Dr Steve Collins, who has developed community based therapeutic care models which are now helping the World Health Organisation
Caroline Casey, “What is a social entrepreneur? It’s a relentless passion to bring change to society”
Caroline Casey: business and media can bring real change
one of her initiatives was the O2 Ability Awards, which has now become internationalised. She says, “Disability is not weakness”
Mark Little asks why she didn’t take a political role but took a business route to promote her cause
Caroline Casey: Politics moves slowly, but business moves fast and, through help with passionate colleagues, has the power to deliver change.
“The disability market in the world is the same size as china”
She says that to be a social entrepreneur you have to have an absolute belief that things can happen.
She says she did not try to become a social entrepreneur, her drive helped her become one.
Now introducing Caroline Casey, (who is just back from Stockholm) creator of the Kanchi network, a programme designed to promote the contributions of people with disabilities to business.
She is discussing how her disability (she is legally blind) has helped her become a social entrepreneur.
Mark Little, “Social Entrepreneurship is a sustainable platform for change” it is not about charity but it about change and inspiration. ”Ireland should be a platform for Social enterprise”
Mark Little has taken to the stage to introduce Mindfield and tonight’s discussion, Social Entrepreneurship: The Acceptable Face of Capitalism.
He says we are living in a time of “disruption” and technology is bringing in “a golden age of journalism”