Social Enterprise Seminar 2012.
Held at the Creekside Community Centre Vancouver in Fall 2012, the seminar attracted a group of Rose Charities enthusiasts and supporters with wide interests and areas of involvement. Rose Charities organizers believe very much in sustainability and local support and involvement for all projects and one way to achieve this is to incorporate social enterprise components wherever possible.
The meeting spanned initiatives both at the donor end as well as the field project end, as well as those which bridged both. Moderated by Rose International Members, Linda Roberts and Will Grut, the keynote speaker was Margaret Mason of Bull Housser who outlined some of the basic and most important aspects of social enterprise projects.
From the Vancouver end, the ‘Lot To Give‘ and ‘Give Group‘ programs were presented by Laura Benson and Kris Roberts respectively In principle these are based around the concept of supply of a service either online or through other sources or retail outlet with significant focus on charitable donation. With Give Group this is through real-estate transactions.
From the field, projects presented included Rose Vietnams paper flower making at Than Thien Village, a centuries old historic art which Rose Vietnam has been helping to revive. Beekeeping in coordination with the Bee World Organization in Zambia and Cambodia, brickmaking in Uganda with Dr Andrew Macnabs Brighter Smiles group, and volunteer tourism and elective student field experience trips in Cambodia. Lawrence Keenan, continually one of the main project instigators and supports in Sri Lanka, outlined the current social enterprise initiatives there, including the amazing Rose Sri Lanka microcredit program and other initiatives embracing health and food distribution.
Janine Vertone’s initiative (Ukama Arts) of import and sale of Zimbabwe sculptures , with much of the proceeds being returned for Zimbabwe school support is a project which links both the field and the donor end. The honey projects mentioned above also fit into this category as the Honey Bee Centre in Surrey will, if possible, purchase and import any honey not sold locally through its international projects. Finally Malambo Grassroots in Zambia also has several womens groups who produce handicrafts, some of which are sold in Vancouver
Following presentations were discussions on some of the challenges the projects faced, how they were planned and established as well as future projections. Interchange of ideas was beneficial and interesting and groups came away with new ideas for further development of plans for their areas.
Refreshments were kindly supplied by some of the participants (thank you Linda Roberts) and there was general agreement that the seminar was both beneficial and interesting, and should be repeated in 2013.