A dynamic group of 30 emerging social entrepreneurs from Asia and Europe participated in a workshop “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” in Yangon, Myanmar (21-23 May 2012). ASEF collaborated with the British Council to host this workshop. This was ASEF’s first initiative in Myanmar which was supported by the Government of Japan and the United Kingdom. Besides representatives from Myanmar, social entrepreneurs from Denmark, Indonesia, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand and Vietnam were part of the workshop.
“There’s a growing business community here (in Yangon) that has prioritised societal needs over profit,” remarked Sol Iglesias, ASEF’s Director for Intellectual Exchange department. Sol was one of the representatives from the organisers who participated in this event.
The three-day programme included networking, in-depth discussions, group activities and field visits within the city and outskirts of Yangon. Participants were divided into four groups as they visited a few local social enterprises in the fields of public health, education, environment and tourism and heritage. Shwe Minn Tha Foundation was one of the organisations visited by the participants in the public health group. The Foundation was set up in 2008 and works towards sustainable development for people with disabilities. “The Yangon city development authority is willing to mainstream disability. Such positive changes will enable inclusive social development,” shared Mr Myat Thu Winn, President of the Foundation and Director of Shwe Minn Tha Enterprises.
This workshop created a space for Asian and European social entrepreneurs to connect with each other, sharing knowledge and ideas. This dialogue exchange will facilitate future business opportunities, cooperation, capacity and learning how to develop policies to encourage and promote social enterprises.
The next workshop will be in Hanoi, Vietnam (18-20 June 2012).