Social entrepreneurship: an urgent need to start a dialogue


Our diplomatic model for achieving progress through national strategic priorities is defined by the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), a joint product of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State.

The State Department said in 2015 that the QDDR “provides a blueprint for advancing America’s interests in global security, inclusive economic growth, climate change, accountable governance and freedom for all.” The last QDDR in 2015 was conceptualized as a foundation to harness today’s technology and innovation to advance diplomatic and development progress.

The State Department today still shows strong promise to ensure continuity of this work despite the perceived turbulence, including the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Summit, co-hosted by the government of India on the theme, “Women First, Prosperity for All.”

Invitees are selected from embassies around the globe who are engineering the women’s entrepreneurship movement in the venture field and shaping our global progress in gender equality. The three-day event is expected to feature a series of mentoring and networking sessions to ensure the vibrancy women’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What surprises me, however, is the missing dialogue around social entrepreneurship. True, it was curated to promote inclusion of formerly marginalized groups with perceived external social impact on prospective local economies and communities, but when a social panel was pitched at the forum, it was quickly rejected.

I began to wonder whether the concept of social entrepreneurship is misunderstood by the diplomatic community.

I began to wonder whether the concept of social entrepreneurship is misunderstood by the diplomatic community. When I asked why it was denied to the stakeholders, I was asked what a social venture was or what impact investment meant.

For me, it simply constitutes harnessing the greatest forces in achieving the State Department’s QDDR: Investing in technologies and ideas to provide systematic solutions to prevent violent extremism, conflict, and to advance inclusive economic growth and capacity building for open democratic societies.

Appealing to the current US administration is paramount. However, I do believe our goal, first and foremost, continues to be improving today’s state of the world. As long as we are party to the United Nations, where we together fund the most crucial underlying economic activities, such as international commerce, I still think we have a responsibility towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals deadline.

Sustained and inclusive economic growth through investing in social initiatives can provide more opportunities, reduce income inequality, and advance our national security objectives and US economic interests.

By taking the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, smart impact investing based on environmental, social and governance analysis with proper diagnostic and analytic tools, the State Department can most effectively implement shared prosperity and advance American interests.



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