More firms involved in social entrepreneurship: Experts
Social entrepreneurship is key in dealing with growing social problems in Indonesia, where a widening social gap within the growing middle-class is becoming increasingly obvious, experts say.
Sandiaga Uno, a prominent businessman and founder of Indonesian Social Entrepreneur Association (AKSI), said that in order to help cope with social problems, it would be important for entrepreneurs to incorporate business models that are both socially responsible and economically viable.
According to him, there is now a growing number of companies and individuals involved in social entrepreneurship, a business concept that recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to help society and at the same time make a profit.
However, they still face many challenges as they often find difficulties in enhancing and expanding their business, said Sandiaga, adding that 80 percent of social enterprises in the country are small-scale enterprises.
“The challenge now is to have them grow to the point where they can reach a significant portion of the population that needs their assistance,” social entrepreneurship lecturer from French-based business school INSEAD Hans H. Wahl told The Jakarta Post during an international conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Sandiaga addressed the issue by suggesting Indonesia’s social entrepreneurs collaborate with each other. “They often don’t want to share their secret sauce,” he said.
Hans also said that the biggest problem for Indonesia’s social entrepreneurs is that they work in isolation because there are not enough experienced people in the field to be role models and not enough resources for them to tap into.
In spite of mounting challenges, social entrepreneurship in Indonesia has flourished over the last 10 years, becoming the epicenter of a social entrepreneurship movement across the world, Sandiaga said.
“There are many social entrepreneurs who have become role models for the world,” he told the Post.
He cited the example of Butet Manurung, the founder of the renowned informal school, Sokola Rimba, which teaches remote tribal people how to read, write and count.
Another social enterprise which contributes to education in Indonesia on a larger scale is the Putera Sampoerna Foundation, one of the largest nonprofit foundations in the world established by a family company.
“I see an emerging trend where the young generation is merely seeking instant success instead of making an impact on society,” Sandiaga said.
A survey conducted by Bina Nusantara (Binus) Business School indicated that social programs were perceived as mandatory corporate action by 89 top managers from 31 national and multinational companies in Indonesia.
However, most of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs were not effectively implemented by mid-level managers, the survey indicated.
“Our survey participants are top managers from business sectors, such as mining, energy, agriculture, insurance and healthcare, which require active company participation in CSR programs,” Binus International executive dean Firdaus Alamsjah said.
Despite lacking effective programs, companies in Indonesia have wide space in contributing to people compared to firms in European countries, INSEAD’s Hans said.(han/yps)