Social Entrepreneurship : Communication Garners Guarded, Mostly Positive Reactions

Article excerpt

The participants in the conference on social entrepreneurship in Europe, held on 18 November in Brussels, welcomed the new European Commission communication and suggested a few new ideas. "It is unbelievable that man has walked on the Moon but cannot reduce unemployment or end poverty," said 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. "We must urgently review the way we think about economy and ensure a balance between the human side and the technological side. My societies were founded on altruism and I am delighted that the European Commission is attentive to this principle," he added.

Yunus is from Bangladesh and in 1983 he founded the Grameen Bank in his country, a bank whose particularity is granting loans to vulnerable persons and adapting them to their specific situation as well as teaching them a few principles for healthy finances. The Commission's communication on social entrepreneurship, published on 25 October, aims to encourage just this type of initiative, via a three-part objective: increasing the visibility of social entrepreneurship; facilitating the access to private financing for these companies; and improving their legal environment. Thus, the Commission has presented a short-term action plan (11 key actions) for companies "whose foremost finality is explicitly social and/or environmental, who reinvest their benefits to this aim, and whose internal organisation takes societal objectives into account". …