26/07/2011 Social enterprise: The new frontier?
Dopo una settimana di lezioni, discussioni e dibattiti si è conclusa a Bertinoro la II edizione della European Summer School on Social Economy (ESSE). I 36 partecipanti, la cui provenienza principale è stata dal continente europeo (63%), ma anche da Nord America (12%), Africa e Medio Oriente (7%), nonché Sud America e Asia (4%), hanno potuto approfondire tematiche inerenti l'economia sociale, sia da un punto di vista teorico che pratico: oltre all'esperienza e conoscenza dei più autorevoli accademici nel campo dell'economia sociale, sono stati presentati casi studio nel contesto europeo ed internazionale.
Il tema guida della seconda edizione è stato Social Economy and Social Innovation, approfondito anche grazie alla presenza di Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive di NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts).
Sul canale youtube di AICCON abbiamo pubblicato un'intervista a Geoff Mulgan (> guarda il video!) , inoltre vi segnaliamo il suo contributo “ Social enterprise: The new frontier?” pubblicato sul sito di RSA Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Social enterprise: The new frontier?
While social enterprises have not been the unmitigated success story that their advocates would have us believe, they do have a role to play in public-service provision at a time when innovation is sorely needed
Only a couple of years ago, Jeremy Paxman snorted with derision when a Newsnight interviewee mentioned the possible role that social enterprise might play in public services. Surely the very idea of social enterprise was a ridiculous fantasy: how could something be social yet also an enterprise? His disbelief was disconcerting for the UK’s 70,000 or so social enterprises. But the cynics and sceptics have been largely silenced by a tide that has taken the overlapping concepts of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship into the mainstream of public life, more than anyone could have expected a couple of decades ago.
Some of the seeds of this shift were sown in the mid-1990s, when a cluster of new organisations, including the Community Action Network and the School for Social Entrepreneurs, sprang up to promote the idea of mixing business means and social ends. Little of what they proposed was entirely new. The tradition of socially focused business goes back at least to the 19th century; Britain has historically been rich in entrepreneurial charities, mutuals, cooperatives, industrial and provident organisations, and socially committed family firms. Robert Owen was one of many leading Victorian entrepreneurs who were convinced that enterprise could also have a social mission. The late Michael Young (a former RSA Fellow and recipient of the RSA’s Albert Medal in 1992) was dubbed by Daniel Bell “probably the world’s greatest entrepreneur of social enterprises” for his creation of dozens of new ventures in the 1950s.
But the climate of the 1990s was particularly propitious for social entrepreneurs. Parties of the left had lost their antipathy towards the language of enterprise, while those of the right were emerging from the extremes of Thatcherism and Reaganism. Anita Roddick had shown through the Body Shop that a mainstream business could have a social conscience and the Big Issue was a visible exemplar of social enterprise, with an ethos of self-reliance at its core.
Two decades on, the UK boasts a social enterprise sector worth more than £20bn a year, with strong and confident enterprises that range from Divine Chocolate and People Tree to Greenwich Leisure and HCT Group (formerly Hackney Community Transport). The NHS alone claims to commission more than 30,000 charities and social enterprises, and every minister (and prime minister) competes to show enthusiasm. Umbrella organisations are well funded, as have been public investment funds, and there is the prospect of a Big Society Bank that will use dormant bank accounts to provide a reliable flow of capital. New legal forms – notably the Community Interest Company, which allows social enterprises to issue shares – have been widely adopted and the social enterprise kitemark has been vigorously promoted.
> Leggi l’articolo complete sul sito di RSA
> BIO Geoff Mulgan