RECON, a non-profit which identifies, promotes, supports and strengthens social entrepreneurships and peace building in Colombia, the Governor of Atlántico through its Secretary for Economic Development, held the forum “Social Entrepreneurship: A Bet on the Development of the country.”
150 social entrepreneurs went to this event, in which Andrés Santamaría, director of RECON, presented the results of a report about the state of social entrepreneurship in the country, based on a poll of 500 social entrepreneurs of all regions. He highlighted the conditions of violence which inspired 34% of social entrepreneurships of the country and that 83% consider they support peace building.
Furthermore, Santamaría pointed out that 70% of entrepreneurs are professionals and have an academic background but that 66% of them receive less than a minimum salary as monthly income and that only 34% of social entrepreneurships of the country are profitable and sustainable.
The governor of Atlántico, Eduardo Verano de la Rosa, pointed out that “we understand that social entrepreneurships are a philosophy of life and organizations such as RECON bring us the experience to institute social entrepreneurship in the best way possible.”
During the forum there was space to listen to social entrepreneurs of the Caribbean Region, who shared their experiences and exposed the difficulties and challenges in setting out towards a model of social ventures in Colombia, where there are not adequate conditions to ease profits or the sustainability of these projects.
Jennifer Colpas, social entrepreneur of Tierra Grata of Cartagena, Bolívar, stated that “One of the opportunities for social entrepreneurship is the network generated to work. The government should not only move the economy but also promote entrepreneurship. If I am a social entrepreneurship I should have benefits because I am different”
Idelfonso Mestra of Casabe al Arte of Montería, Córdoba, said that: “Peace is built through social equality, these youths are away from art, have no family, but through art they may do catharsis and reduce gaps of inequality.”
Jully Orozco, social entrepreneur of Usiacurí Atlántico and Pedro Meza of the region of Montes de María, agreed that what is important is to call on the Government to formulate public policy to generate guarantees and improvements for social entrepreneurs.
Likewise, the forum analyzed the institutional vision of social entrepreneurship. Heidy Tejera of the Chamber of Commerce of Barranquilla assured that “we are putting together an effort to recognize social entrepreneurship as a type of venture which is different to the commercial, we expect results for next year.”
Gerardo Angulo Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the University of Magdalena, “For us at the University of Magdalena, all entrepreneurships must be sustainable and we do not distinguish between a type of entrepreneurship or other in this sense.”
The special guest in this space, was the recognized entrepreneur and social entrepreneur Samuel Azout, founder of Futbol con Corazón who said that “Social entrepreneurship mixes the best things of three sectors: public, private and social.”
He stated furthermore that the biggest problems of humanity: poverty, environment and violence have not disappeared and have increased. Social entrepreneurship uses the force of the market to make it sustainable and generate a high impact.
Azout, recommended: “social entrepreneurs beware of falling in love with the product, we must fall in love with the problem, with the client to see how we may create a link between the product and the market.”
This forum was organized by RECON and the Governor of Atlántico with the support of the Secretary of Economic Development, the Swedish Embassy in Colombia, the United Nations Program for Development PNUD, Tierra Grata, Chocolate Montes de María and Una Gota Verde de Vida.