Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Social entrepreneur 1.0

While the ‘digital divide’ makes computer technology an elite domain, a ‘cognitive divide’ may hinder local socio-economical development and eventually, the success of any local initiative. Should social entrepreneurs start bridging the cognitive divide?

Just a note: the United Nations today announced the launch of a new Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Development which will bring together a wide variety of interested participants as part of broader international efforts to harness technological advances for use in the fight against poverty. It aims to help integrate ICT into national policies in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

But is this the idea behind social entrepreneurship?

In the 'shifting involvements' between private and public approaches to governance and economic management, nations have tried different versions of capitalism and different versions of socialism, debated market failures and government failures, coming sooner or later to some form of mixed economies.

Attention has lately focused on the third sector, the nonprofit/NGO sector. The public, private, and the NGO sectors thus constitute the institutional map within which policy makers and others are looking to solve mundane as well as urgent social problems.

But is there a fourth sector, the social enterprise sector, which happens to be situated within the overlap or the shared space among the three traditional sectors mentioned above. Efforts to enlarge that sector, to support social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in that sector, must be based on a theory about who a social entrepreneur is or what social enterprise management is.

And what role does the digital revolution play? ICTs? Technology of a broader reach?

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