Ashoka China Interim Representative Patrick Cheung informs us that the organisation’s latest newsletter focuses on Ashoka’s global programmes as well as events organised by the Ashoka China Team and aspects on recent developments in Social Entrepreneurship.
Ashoka’s youth programme “Youth Venture” centres on the passion and dreams of young people (aged 15-20) into real action to solve social problems on their own. Youth Venture has enabled over 70,000 young people in 14 countries to take part in lasting youth-led ventures to improve society.
Now Ashoka are kick-starting this programme in Hong Kong in co-operation with the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture. Their goal is to nurture young changemakers in Hong Kong and China, thereby creating a future generation of Social Entrepreneurs.
The programme’s innovation is the self-permission and ownership it gives to its young participants.They realise their ideas to improve society on their own; mentors only play a supporting role by guiding them. Participants, who are granted 5,000HKD to launch their venture, meet in regular workshops where they learn project skills and are connected to a strong supporting community of changemakers.
“We believe that the experience of making positive social change early on in one’s life will equip that person with the courage and confidence to change society for the better for the rest of his or her life,” Patrick explained. “Some might become social entrepreneurs one day, but no matter what path the participants take the confidence and skills acquired will help them to succeed in life.”
During the recent holiday season two teams of 15 year-olds in Hong Kong already conducted their first mini venture in a one-week project. One team raised 1,000 HKD by selling holiday cards showcasing stories of homeless people who were interviewed by the team. These cards were also sent to over 100 government officials.
Coming up in 2010:
Throughout 2010: At least four Ashoka Fellows will be invited to China.
January: Kick-Off of Ashoka’s Youth Venture programme;
March: Study trip to Ashoka Fellows in India ;
Summer: Begin election process of first Chinese Ashoka Fellows;
August: Final presentation of first batch of Youth Venturers;
Fall: Study trip to Ashoka Fellows in Thailand;
November: Social Enterprise Summit 2010.
Ashoka Roadmap in China
The Ashoka China Team was launched in July 2009. Through support from many enthusiastic individuals as well as corporate supporters, the China Team defined their approach to the region, successfully built partnerships with many foundations and organisations involved in promoting Social Entrepreneurship, and organised opportunities for our Fellows to share their work at conferences and seminars.
Looking forward, Ashoka hope to raise enough funds to kick off their Fellow election programme by Summer 2010. They are scheduled to invite at least four world renowned social entrepreneurs to the region to share their experience this year. In addition, they plan to organise tours for key social entrepreneur participants in the region to have face to face exchange opportunities with Ashoka Fellows. Finally, they selected Hong Kong for the kick-off of the Youth Venture programme. After accumulating more experience, Ashoka hope to expand the programme into mainland China and Taiwan.
Ashoka will continue supporting their university partners, the translation of more social entrepreneurship books into Chinese, educational seminars and conferences, as well as the exchange of experience in promoting social entrepreneurship.
Supporting the growth of Social Entrepreneurship is their key role. Only in co-operation with local organisations will Ashoka achieve their mission in the region.
Social Enterprise Summit 2009 – A Growing Interest in Social Enterprise
The Hong Kong Social Enterprise Summit was held for the second time in November 2009. The interest was so overwhelming that despite having 350 participants (including 80 representatives from the mainland, Taiwan and Macau), 100 applicants could not get in. This reflects the growing interest and participation in the Social Enterprise movement in Greater China. Ashoka co-organised the summit, which is an ideal platform for facilitating lively exchange and mutual learning between practitioners. Here are some highlights:
A business plan competition was held with representatives from four social investment funds in the jury. The winner of 50,000HKD: Dr. Grooming, who founded a pet grooming and health care service to help former drug addicts to reintegrate into society.
Mr. Tsang Tak-sing, Secretary of Home Affairs of the HKSAR Government, emphasised Social Enterprise as an important movement to teach new values of being a responsible citizen rather than maximising profits.
For more information visit www.ashoka.org