How do you combine earning money and helping the community? Well, one answer is: social entrepreneurship. The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ is one mostly familiar to those working in the charitable world. Conferences and seminars within the small but steadily growing non-profit sector here are increasingly discussing examples of the development of social entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan and trying to learn from best practice in developed countries.
For many, the concept of ‘business that benefits society’ is one that doesn’t make any sense. But if you were to ask, ‘is it possible to start a business not with the goal of self-enrichment but for helping your country or solving urgent problems in your city?’ then the answer is, ‘yes, of course!’
In October we prepared and gave some training on the theme of social entrepreneurship for the staff and volunteers at Salem Social Village. Representatives from the social village were also invited to the youth non-conference ‘Zhascamp’, organised by the charity MISK, the young people’s information service of Kazakhstan, in the northeastern cities of Semey and Pavlodar, so that they could present this topic to Kazakhstan’s young activists, most of whom are involved in the ‘third sector’.
At Salem Social Village, we are leading a conversation within Kazakhstan about how social entrepreneurship can be successful. The profits from our revenue-generating English courses and the Salem Social Cafe are used to support other charitable activities at the social village within our Volunteering, Care, Training Centre and Humanitarian Aid projects, as well as various other charitable events and initiatives.
Started as a response to an obvious need within the city many years ago, these entrepreneurial projects have become an example of how quality services in the field of education can be provided which also benefit the city and society as a whole. And where we’ve seen success, we want to help and inspire others to begin doing the same.