Global pro bono report to be presented at World Economic Forum 2006,…

Global pro bono report to be presented at World Economic Forum 2006, in Davos

LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Linklaters this week publishes a report identifying barriers to social entrepreneurship and offering practical solutions to help it flourish. The study, the first of its kind, is being presented at the annual World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, on 25-29 January 2006. It is the product of a year-long, multi-jurisdictional pro bono project, in partnership with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The report identifies, for the first time ever, the legal, regulatory and taxation obstacles that are currently hindering social entrepreneurship in six selected countries across a broad geographical and economic spectrum: Brazil, Germany, India, Poland, UK and USA. The report also advises how to overcome these problems and highlights the opportunities which could encourage social entrepreneurialism. Key conclusions include:

consideration of tax exemptions or tax subsidies for social entrepreneurs
consideration of a commonly recognised and standardised model of social entrepreneurship in each country, somewhere between a charity and a full profit company
tools to deal with the effect of bureaucracy and regulation, which is in some cases heightened by a lack of standardised models
improved access to finance, whether it be debt or equity funding
information and awareness for social entrepreneurs
The vital role played by social entrepreneurs around the world – particularly in the education, healthcare and environmental protection sectors – has been increasingly recognised over recent years. Just as business entrepreneurs create and transform whole industries, social entrepreneurs act as change agents for society, seizing opportunities that others miss to improve systems, invent and disseminate new approaches and advance sustainable solutions that create social value.

For example, Isaac Durojaiye is transforming Nigeria’s deficient health and sanitation system by manufacturing, installing and maintaining thousands of public toilets through a franchise system that provides job opportunities to members of youth gangs who oversee the daily maintenance of the facilities and keep 60 per cent of the profits.

Anthony Cann, senior partner of Linklaters, will speak on the subject at a session at the annual World Economic Forum, in Davos, on 27 January 2006. The World Economic Forum brings together leaders from business, government, international institutions, non-governmental organisations and universities to address the key global challenges facing the world.

Anthony Cann, senior partner of Linklaters, said:
“The part played by social entrepreneurs in improving society around them is huge, both in the developing and developed world. We are therefore proud to have worked with the Schwab Foundation to identify barriers currently being faced by these people and offer solutions that will help their work to flourish further in the future – bringing real improvements to people’s lives.”

He added:
“This report is the culmination of a year-long project involving more than 50 Linklaters lawyers around the world, building on our Community Investment theme of encouraging enterprise. It is a pro bono initiative that can be called truly global in its reach and we hope it will stimulate interest in how governments and companies around the world can engage in this area to promote development and effect change.”

Pamela Hartigan, Managing Director of the Schwab Foundation, said:
“These highly unconventional capitalists are solving some of the world’s great economic, social and environmental problems, but the systems that are in place to oversee and regulate organisational practice haven’t caught up with these new hybrid models. Why should a social enterprise – that buys certified organically grown produce directly from 2,700 poor Bolivian indigenous farming families, while providing them with technical assistance to develop their products for that market, credit to buy the threshers and other appropriate equipment needed to harvest, dry and store their produce – be paying the same taxes as Carrefour?”

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