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Social enterprises are businesses that address social, environmental problems while generating income and employment. They differ from other businesses as instead of channelling profits to owners social enterprises reinvest to support their social mission and thereby contribute to improving people’s lives.

Social Finance is an important and rapidly developing feature in social enterprise landscape. It is considered as an approach to managing money to solve social and environmental problems. This entails different approaches to creating a positive social impact: socially responsible investments, micro-loans, community investments, crowd-funding, venture philanthropy and more. Impact investing is the growing movement to invest in ventures and initiatives that will create positive impact in communities and provide a financial return.

In Sri Lanka too, social enterprises and social finance, though a fairly new concepts, are slowly gathering momentum. At present there are successful social enterprises operating across the country. In order to create awareness on social enterprises and social financing, and reflect on their potential to contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction, an international conference is organized by Lanka Social Ventures in partnership with Oxfam, National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA), British Council, Good Market and VEGA BIZ+, Lanka Impact Investors Network (LIIN) and Social Enterprise Lanka.  Lanka Social Ventures is a ‘social enterprise’ committed to promote and support entrepreneurship and innovation for social development and environmental sustainability.

The theme of the conference is: “Social Enterprises and SMEs for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction”.  This conference will be held on the 23rd and 24th of January 2017 at Hilton Colombo Residencies. The conference will bring together an assorted and an eminent collective of local and international entrepreneurs, policy makers, development practitioners and enthusiasts who believe in the potential of social entrepreneurship for sustainable development and poverty reduction.