Forum promotes visibility in these organizations. Entrepreneurs ask for the support of the State for their projects.
One of the challenges of social entrepreneurship in Colombia for the next few years is to achieve a sustainable ecosystem. According to Recon, NGO which has the support of Sweden and United Nations, there are more than 2000 social entrepreneurships in the country. Of these 500 took part in the poll which delivered the result that 85% of initial resources come from personal savings and that 91% of founders a consider it a non-profit affair. Of this amount of polled companies 11,7% are developing their projects in seven departments of the Colombian Caribbean.
The Social Entrepreneurship Forum, organized by Recon goes round the country promoting a “bet on the development of the country”, passed through Barranquilla to inspire the entrepreneurs and show some of the realities which these companies face with their projects. These initiatives come to the communities, generate employment through education, art, sports the environment, culture of peace, technologies and communications.
Una Gota Verde de Vida is one of the social entrepreneurships established in Usiacurí Atlántico where they promote care, preservation and environmental sustainability with education and leadership with local promoters. Jully Orozco, manager of the organization, says they operate not-for profit and are in the phase of “establishing”; they generate six indirect jobs, impacting 300 single mothers and they created a business line to sell crafts through e-commerce.
“We have overcome the fear of knocking on doors” admits Orozco, adding: “The challenge we have had is acquiring the resources to develop projects. The State must guarantee that these initiatives take place”.
Samuel Azout is one of the references in social entrepreneurship. He took part in the conference to share some of the achievements of Fútbol con Corazón. The social entrepreneur said that the big financing funds in the world are available to non-profit companies, and that social companies must have the vision to transform. “In Fútbol con corazón we want to become a for-profit, because there is more money for companies with a social perspective. There is an ecosystem of impact investment financing, funds which are there with money from governments and privates to finance projects of social companies”
The Recon poll was made between April 17 and June 13 of this year. It shows that 35% of social entrepreneurships are developed to generate employment, 16,8% do it with initiatives that promote art, sports, education and culture.
An inspiring case is that of Idelfonso Meza, teacher in Ied San Isidro, school located in the municipality of Salamina, some 18 kilometres from Montería, Córdoba. There the professor teaches children drawing and art with resources from the local environment such as chicken feathers and other casaba refuse.
“In Colombia it is hard for us to value what we do. Approval is the first obstacle”, says Idelfonso Mestra, as he shows on his mobile phone the handmade brushes which the community has made and assures that he has taken them to Brazil and France. The professor also took part in the forum and said that they must look for opportunities. “We have a school where there is no infrastructure, which has been a victim of conflict and believe in art as a generator of peace. Promoting a community through art to heal. Art can form good human beings”.
Andrés Santamaría Garrido, director of Recon, said that they wanted to identify initiatives in the country, where they are being developed and specifically in those places where there is inequality and social problems.
In La Guajira, Arauca, Caquetá, Guainía and Guaviare the participation is still small.
The forum also defined challenges beyond sustainability and how corporations such as the Chamber of Commerce could commit to this ecosystem. Furthermore, there was support of the Governor of Atlántico in ideas of cocreation and innovation and of joining more companies of these characteristics in their economic development programs.
One of the aspects is making social entrepreneurships visible. The participants agreed that there must be rules to achieve the prizes. The line between a foundation and a social company does now allow differences. But performance affects one and the other. Not fulfilling the projects and resources and not showing results generates an impact in the fabric of social entrepreneurships, as pointed out in the forum.
Jennifer Colpas, entrepreneur, proposed that a series of social entrepreneurships be created. “There is no competition as there is in for-profit companies. The Government must articulate with accelerating entities and incubators to promote growth.”
From: El Heraldo
By: Nilson Romo
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