Thursday, February 11, 2010

SE Tales and One Man's View [4 of 4]

SE Tales and One Man's View -
Social Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong


Prospects of SE Development in Hong Kong

In presenting these three SE tales, my simple message is that for any SE initiative to make a real difference, we have to combine compassion with out-of-the-box thinking, so as to explore creatively destructive means of solving intractable problems in local and regional perspectives.

The development of the three SEs is not a simple reaction to public policy or the result of available government grants that lure existing NGOs to develop social businesses. One thing in common to all of them is the presence of young social entrepreneurs who witness from their own positions something suboptimal or even unbearable, and they take it upon themselves to try to make a difference. In doing so, they challenge existing norms, work against existing practices, and attempt to set in motion new social and cultural tides that work for a better future.

The SE tales also give us a good illustration of the possible reach of Hong Kong's SE sector. NVPSS is confronting a local problem at the neighborhood level; it is fighting a war at the frontline battlefield, one clinic at a time. SVHK, on the other hand, is focusing on developing social infrastructures for supporting the proliferation of social enterprises in Hong Kong. CNEX operates across a much wider territorial border while utilizing Hong Kong as one of its strategic operation bases. While varied in size and reach, they all face difficult challenges and one's work would not be any easier than the others.

It should be clear that the above SE case stories are not in any sense representative of the local scene, nor could we expect rapid proliferation of similar ventures in the near future. Hong Kong's SE stratum is still dominated by work-integration social enterprises (WISE) many of which are set up by existing charities in response to preferential government policy. For the SE sector as a whole to make a real difference, we need to institute social entrepreneurial thinking to these social enterprises and turn them into a genuinely collective new approach for eliminating social ills.

See also:
Tale of 3 enterprises in HK:

[4 of 4]

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