NDIS: Social Entrepreneurship: Corporate and Community Engagement
Prepared by Kelly A Hutchinson 17 August 2011
I come from an association background and bring an international development and perspective and linkages and believe in collective action to support the ICT sector was a good way to contribute to economic and social development
As the roll out of broadband and uptake of ICT by the community sector increases social enterprises will become new drivers of economic growth providing opportunities for new models of business to bring benefits to communities.
Today I’d like to provide a snapshot of this vibrant sector that has the potential to harness technology to deliver both business and social development goals.
This comes from my research into the gap between the rhetoric of the ‘promise of e-business’ versus the dynamics of enactment and impacts of ICT in practice in the social enterprise sector.
I will give an overview of some of the issues and then give examples and then hopefully bring it all together to show how through technology social impact can be achieved.
A lot of activities in Australia that may not at first appear to intersect but when you put a framework overlay you can see the nexus between social entrepreneurship and ICT for development
I’ve always been interested to see how technology can assist the delivery of service and increase impact of social mission, lead me to research the area.
Based in the developing economies of Southeast Asia I was working on projects across the region that gave me an opportunity to see an unfolding landscape where technological and social innovation addressed long standing as well as new issues.
I know Cambodia may seem an odd place to talk about when we're here considering digital inclusion in an Australian context but surprisingly there are a lot of similarities
Community Development [slide]
Regardless of OECD rankings there are still disenfranchised, marginalized, excluded and underprivileged people who can benefit from being connected
- Remote communities of artisans that require support to get their products to market.
- Agricultural cooperatives that wish to connect with others to identify what they can learn and share
- Micro enterprises that have an idea that they need mentoring to get off the ground
International development and community development are similar in that they seek to address common issues whether it’s a remote hill tribe in Vietnam or an indigenous community in the Kimberly.
Local communities that cannot connect and participate in the larger and increasingly global Online community are becoming increasingly marginalized because of that. So where Urban development with its focus on buildings and physical infrastructure was once viewed as a primary path forward to community development, development of computer and online infrastructure and access, and the community enablement they support have to become central areas of focus moving forward.
ICT for Development [slide]
ICTD as an area of research and practice can inform a lot of what we will need to do in Australia to ensure the digital divide does not increase as the NBN rolls out.
According to a recent Finnish study
From ICT towards information society - Policy strategies and concepts for employing ICT for reducing poverty (Hannes Toivanen)
Regions, countries, organizations, communities and people differ greatly in their capacity to create, adopt and use new technology. Economic, social, cultural and technological factors determine to a great degree how people can access and shape new technologies and their applications. These varying factors are well identified in literature on development of ICT in Sub-Saharan Africa, but less attention has been given to how hierarchically organized ICT ecosystem, consisting of technological, economic and social elements, shapes these opportunities. So there is still work to be done in this area
Corporate Social Responsibility [slide]
AIIA and industry shows a keen engagement and there is definitely more to be done
Social Enterprise [slide]
Creating new business models
Social enterprises generate revenue to support their social mission, as well as providing employment for often marginalised people.
Social enterprises do business with an explicit social mission–helping poor and marginalized people to participate in sustainable business opportunities. For these groups, social enterprises can be an important source of jobs, income, training, business mentoring, and technical input.
Measuring Social Impact [slide]
Social enterprises, like all development programs, have direct as well as indirect impacts.
Social enterprise impact measurements and corresponding indicators. These were adapted to identify the outcomes (benefits) of ICT to social enterprises and in particular to assess the impact (attributable to ICT) of social enterprises in the target community.
Intersection of ICTD and SE [slide]
Within the frame of the dual mission we can see a unique opportunity for ICT to deliver benefits. My thesis stands that social enterprises provide a unique space. That through access ubiquitous high speed broadband Australia has an opportunity to lead in the space of ICTD-SE.
Throughout my research I have to pursue a number of areas of thought and let them coalesce to see where the gaps are and the opportunities that looking at the nexus of ICT and SE.
In Australia with the roll out of the NBN and the current initiatives for digital hubs and digital enterprise within DBCDE it reminds me of initiatives when the Internet in it's basic form was identified in international development agencies to be a new form of connectivity that was to become a basic human right.
This lead to initiatives to get people online and some that come to mind that we can learn from today.
Community Information Centres Asia Foundation US for Cambodian elections
UNESCAP GMS eBusiness for SME
Now to the Australian Context [slide]
The question that I had today was do I talk about Cambodia this is where my initial research was conducted and I find it amazingly relevant to the Australian context where a number of factors are coming together.
These organizations all exist to support the development of the social enterprise sector and foster social innovation in Australia. I know a few are represented today and I hope this is just a beginning of the conversation.
All these organizations utilize ICT in their operations and provide a mechanism for cooperation, engagement and networking, taking the first steps into an ICT enabled world and the next generation of technologies and business models that these entrepreneurs will develop in response to community needs.
What we’ve seen to date is incremental change that has brought about change that social entrepreneurs are able to deliver but what lies ahead will represent the most comprehensive change.
We are at a tipping point now with the exponential increase of user access to technology and the equality that broadband offers. We must harness the opportunity for equivalent growth in the reach and scope of social entrepreneurs in the digital economy.
So how does this all fit in to Australia?
That's the challenging bit I will now try to pull together these seemingly disparate elements into the initial proposition.
That through access ubiquitous high speed broadband Australia has an opportunity to lead in the space of ICTD-SE.
- We have an entrepreneurial spirit
- We have a committed social sector
- We have traditional issues that need new approaches to solve
- We will have the infrastructure
- We have government commitment to leverage the investment
- We have your interest to ensure that no one gets left behind
Mapping the Dynamics of Social Enterprises & ICTs in Cambodia
A study of perception, use and benefit of ICT in development of the social enterprise space. Thesis for Master of Business Kelly A Hutchinson
2007 RMIT University. Kelly Hutchinson
From ICT towards information society
Policy strategies and concepts for employing ICT for reducing poverty Hannes Toivanen