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Welcome to Issue 9 of TrendNovation- a monthly magazine devoted to discussion of long-term technological, social and political trends in Southeast Asia. Issue 9 of TrendNovation focuses on social entrepreneurship – a phenomenon that is sweeping the region, and casting aside conventional notions of doing business. Asia is home to some of the world’s best-known and most successful social enterprises; the Grameen Bank microfinance model in Bangladesh has been embraced and adopted around the world.
Though social entrepreneurship is typically categorized alongside traditional philanthropic, social enterprises, voluntary and aid workrepresents a new class of actor, distinct from civil society/NGOs and private-public partnerships (PPPs). As a new and distinct organizational category, social enterprises will require a new institutional infrastructure: new norms, laws, regulations, practices, and of course, markets. Our contributors have tried to emphasize this fundamental distinction using examples of initiatives that utilize business knowledge and skills for social objectives.
The growing buzz over social entrepreneurship has attracted the attention of governments and the international donor community, too. Our first article, ‘Social Entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia’ by Pred Evans and Sumalee Amnuaiporn of the British Council (Thailand) provides a helpful introduction to social enterprise, including a definition of this loosely-used term and a commentary on its different modalities around the region. The authors identify three key trends in the evolution of social enterprise in Southeast Asia over the coming decade.
‘Socializing Business in Urban Asia’ by Assoc. Prof. Aida Velasco (De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines) describes the emergence of social enterprises as a response to the pressing social problems in Southeast Asia’s crowded megacities. She highlights the growing engagement of the private sector beyond corporate social responsibility, and points to the success of programs around the region to exemplify that a social mission and profits can go hand-in-hand. She concludes by pointing to the future importance of BOP actors as active participants rather than passive consumers in new markets for products and services.
In ‘An Unusual Business: Social Economy in the Rice Culture’ Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana examines social entrepreneurs from the perspective of the rice sector. He points to challenges in formalization of social enterprises and the implications for BOP in terms of livelihoods, education and empowerment.
TrendNovation this month interviews Jittra Kochdech, coordinator of the Try-Arm labor union in Thailand. She tells the story of how a labor dispute in a lingerie factory gave rise to an influential and profitable social enterprise that promotes worker rights and equity.
And last but not least, in this issue’s TrendTools section, Dr. Nathasit Gerdsri and Ronald S. Vatananan discuss another important forecasting tool: ‘Roadmapping as a Strategic Tool to Survive Today’s Marketplace’.
TrendNovation is available online at http://www.trendsoutheast.org. As always, your comments and feedback are invaluable to us.
Cover image of this issue is from http://webtreats.mysitemyway.com/social-media-grungy-watercolor-brushes