• SE Incubator

    Reflecting on the Vision of Young People vs. Social Enterprise Incubation

    We have been developing ideas on policy regarding this issue:

    I.Having consulted success stories from other countries regarding coworking space development, we established a Social Enterprise Incubation Center.
    This type of coworking space places an emphasis on low entry barriers to entrepreneurs who would like to set up operations here, as well as bringing together people from different domains with a common passion for starting new enterprises. The studio can provide open space and facilitate dialogue, communication and cooperation between participants from different fields, or can even lead to the formation of teams and task forces based on project requirements and level of flexibility.

    ‧Impact Hub (link)

    ‧Hong Kong's The Good Lab (link)

    In Taiwan, since its first appearance at the National Chengchi University Center for Public and Business Administration Education, coworking space has become quite popular. Not only have public sector entities, such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Taipei City Government, developed plans to promote coworking space, there are also quite a few private enterprises that are involved in this new endeavor, e.g. Custard Cream, changee, Makers Lab, "hun," and Happen! in Taichung.

    Coworking and incubation differ in nature and do not have entirely identical purposes. However, both involve the activation of space. What we are considering is incorporating other types of services, such as finance and consulting.


    II.Fostering social entrepreneurship competition and investment models, and identifying local social entrepreneurs.

    With respect to encouraging participation by individuals, scholarships tend to be inadequate as an instrument to persuade young people to develop a career in social enterprises. However, traditional subsidies provided by the government tend not to target "individuals" (i.e. natural persons). The reason is that "people" represent much higher risk and are difficult to control or manage. Effectiveness is also more difficult to assess or track. Government officials fear the consequences of failure, which requires them to be interrogated by legislators and ridiculed by the media, not to mention they must also face censure from the audit office. As a result most recipients of government subsidies are juristic persons, such as groups, companies and other government-registered organizations. However, with respect to social enterprises, or even social innovation, only "social entrepreneurs" can bring about change, and they are the real innovators. Apart from profitability, their companies are also concerned with social and environmental bottom line performance.

    The UK has an excellent social innovation business model, which is implemented and promoted by the UnLtd organization. Unlike ordinary support platforms, which deal with entrepreneurial teams or companies, UnLtd aims to provide assistance to potential social entrepreneurs and help them grow. Starting from the Try it Awards, which offer a maximum of £500 to winners, UnLtd utilizes this incentive that gives out small prizes but requires only simple application procedures to encourage people interested in changing their communities to try their hands at social enterprise. The next step is the Do it Awards, which is aimed at people with a clear purpose and definite implementation plans with well-defined steps. The maximum award is £5,000. Step by step UnLtd helps individual social entrepreneurs grow, thus forming a solid human resources foundation on which British social enterprises can flourish.

    In 2013 the Bureau organized the international symposium "Building Social Enterprises for Tomorrow - Dialogues between Taiwan and International Models." Members of UnLtd were invited to Taiwan to share their experiences and success models. Discussions were also held to explore the possibility of forming UnLtd TW (in Asia currently UnLtd HK and UnLtd Thailand have already been established). This has become a powerful source of support for Taiwan's social entrepreneurs.

    ‧UnLtd (link)

    ‧UnLtd Thailand/Change Fusion (link)

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    Please attribute this article to Workforce Development Agency, Ministry Of Labor.