Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Unrepresented? Become a social entrepreneur

Government and opposition ministers alike continually bark on about supporting unrepresented groups such as women and ethnic minorities in getting involved in enterprise but often their actions don't seem to back up their words. Alistair Darling for instance in his budget earlier this year focused on boosting female entrepreneurship - great - but announced the governnment is investing a paltry £10m to do it. A tiny amount in the scheme of things.

As a result, it seems these unrepresented groups are taking their backs on the authorities' limited efforts and doing it for themselves. Happily, given the subject of this blog, it's social entrepreneurship they are turning to.

New research from the excellent Social Enterprise Coalition shows black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have higher levels of social entrepreneurship than their white companies. In addition, while women are only half as likely as men to be mainstream entrepreneurs, they are equally or more likely than men to be social entrepreneurs, the report revealed.

The findings demonstrate the power of social enterprise and its ability to allow individuals who have struggled to get on the business ladder using traditional methods are able to do so by setting up a company which benefits society.

It is this which ministers should be focusing on. If they really want to promote entrepreneurship among all, boost the way social enterprise is supported and developed. As Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said: "This data shows the prevalence of social entrepreneurship across the population and re-affirms that social enterprise is a sustainable business model essential not only for positive social change, but for the UK's economy."

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