Celebrating entrepreneurs who create social, environmental and economic values
The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ was coined by William Drayton, founder of Ashoka — the world’s first organisation to promote social entrepreneurship. How-ever; the concept of social entrepreneurship is centuries old and has been prevalent across the globe where we have had individuals working selflessly for the benefit of society while sustaining themselves. Social entrepreneurs start and manage innovative businesses that address social and environmental issues thereby becoming society’s change agents. They identify a problem, develop an innovative solution, and create a new pattern that can be replicated across the country, or even the globe, along with constant positive impact.
If Nepal is to move forward on the path of sustainable economic growth, there is a definite need for both economic and social development to happen hand in hand. This we believe is possible, through the definition of a social enterprise being a venture which generates income along with impacting society or the environment positively.
The main defining factor between an entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur is the ‘intention’. If the intention is profit making then it becomes a business, however if an individual develops a business model which is meant to address a problem along with generating income, then it becomes a social enterprise. The underlining factor is being able to address a problem while sustaining oneself.
Being mindful of the ordinary people doing extraordinary work, the Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award (SNASEA) was introduced last year. The objective of the award is to recognise Nepali social entrepreneurs who have been working to create social and economic value which contributes to society and ultimately the betterment of the country. SNASEA organises three different events to meet this objective — bazaar, seminar and award. These events give a platform to showcase ideas and products of social entrepreneurs and helps them get recognised.
The three-day bazaar on October 4, 5 and 6, 2012 proved a platform for approximately 60 social entrepreneurs and visitors to interact, learn, share ideas and build networks. The aim was to create an event of transaction and transformation.
The seminars which will take place on November 22, 23 and 24 will be a platform for interested individuals from organisations, institutions; businesses or general public to learn and contribute. The award ceremony on December 18 will celebrate the winners and their ventures. The event will also see business houses being recognised for their involvement in social enterprise promotion.
The process of short-listing
In order to ensure that SNASEA rewards and recognises the right candidates, the process of short-listing has been kept as stringent as possible. Amongst the 84 applications received from 13 zones and 29 districts, 77 applications were handed over to the jury and advisory panel consisting of 13 prominent personalities. Based on the evaluation scores, the candidates were then narrowed down to 27 semi-finalists. Due to insufficient documents, two of the applicants were disqualified and only 25 semi-finalists were evaluated, amongst whom the finalists were declared based on the following main criteria:
• The problem addressed
• The solution
• Social and environmental impact
The final step
To ensure deserving candidates get recognised, reality tests to all the finalists’ ventures will be conducted by the organising team from ChangeFusion Nepal. The finalists will be evaluated for the last time on the verification of the information they provided with the reality the team witnesses.
SNASEA 2011 saw five social entrepreneurs being recognised for their exemplary work along with 20 ideas being showcased at the bazaar and seminars being conducted. This year as well, SNASEA 2012’s vision is not only to celebrate the hidden heroes for their great initiatives but also to showcase individuals who have dedicated their lives to change.
(Poudel is a programme assistant, while Rana is the media, communications and programme coordinator at ChangeFusion Nepal. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)