Be a Social Angel
Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative business solutions who are altruistic and persistent enough to tackle pressing social problems. Instead of leaving societal needs to the government or charitable organizations, social entrepreneurs generate revenue through business operation and reinvest majority of profit into the community and the underprivileged. According to the annual survey conducted by the HKCSS-HSBC Social Enterprise Business Centre, there are 457 social enterprise units in Hong Kong in 2013-14.
Ms. Jessica Tam, Senior Manager of HKCSS-HSBC Social Enterprise Business Centre, introduced to students the social mission of social enterprise (SE) in the cultural dinner held on 15 January 2015. ‘Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen is a good example illustrating the mission of social enterprise. The programme recruits 18 unemployed people between the ages of 18 and 25 each year to be chef apprentices to manage restaurants on their own and be self-sufficient, which is a life-transforming empowerment,’ she elaborated. Ms. Tam has been involved in a wide range of cross-sectoral initiatives including the inception of SEBC and two social enterprise projects namely ‘Good Goods’ and ‘ACT Social Awareness Network’. People involved with social enterprise have been facing the dilemma between business goals and social mission. In the SE landscape study she conducted, half of them are financially self-sufficient. ‘Good Goods’ is one of them which has managed to strike a balance between the dichotomous forces.
In 2012, the first ‘Good Goods’ concept store advocating ‘sustainable consumption’ was set up on the ground floor of the HKCSS Office. It encourages the business sector to practice ‘responsible procurement’ and the general public to support social enterprises for long-term socio-environmental development. S.H Ho College members, including a student, interviewed ‘Good Goods’ on their social missions like encouraging ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘responsible procurement’ on corporate level. When promoting SE products, the concept store enables the egalitarian producer-consumer relationship by educating the consumers about how sustainable consumption helps to re-write the underprivileged producers’ family stories. ‘Good Goods’ sells a wide array of SE products such as Rainforest Coffee from Taiwan. The product helps improve the subsistence of Indonesian farmers and empowers the mentally challenged in Taiwan sheltered workshops on product processing. Summary of the interview and the SE products covered were exhibited in Chan Chun Ha Hall in January to raise the public awareness on social enterprise.
To foster students’ understanding on social entrepreneurship and provide them with on-the-job training to accomplish social missions, the College is launching ‘Social Angel Internship Programme 2015-16’. Eight College students will be selected to receive training and to complete relevant tasks to promote the concept of Social Enterprise, Fair Trade and Social Justice on College and community levels. The participants will be nominated as ‘Social Angel Ambassadors’ by HKCSS-HSBC Social Enterprise Business Centre having completed an eight-session experiential learning social awareness workshop, an eight-week summer internship at an established social enterprise, and two tasks of ‘Social Angel in Action’. Throughout the programme, it is expected that the Social Angels will develop a profound understanding of social issues mainly on poverty, social enterprises, environmental protection and cultural heritage; build capacity on project management planning and implementation, and develop the business acumen and operational skills in running a social enterprise.