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The International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, which was held for the first time in Sri Lanka, came to a successful conclusion recently by fulfilling an essential requirement of creating a global platform for establishing a much needed drive towards social entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka.

Though the first of its kind, the participation at the conference was encouraging with a collective audience comprising academia, scholars, students,  policy-makers, researchers, entrepreneurs and business communities from around the globe, participating in discussions and sharing real-life experiences in this specialized field.

“Social entrepreneurship is emerging as a business trend around the globe at present. It will definitely take the place of CSR in another 5-10 years from now. In essence, social entrepreneurship talks about a business model that has an ingrained mechanism of making profit simultaneous to adding value to society. Thus, such businesses – unlike those with tactical, alienated initiatives under the guise of CSR – have a genuine approach towards social responsibility from the inception itself,” said Dr. Nishreen Nisham, Co-chair of the ICSE conference.

The discussions were categorised under thirteen different streams to cover a broader perspective regarding social entrepreneurship, its relevance and execution.  Topics such as Green entrepreneurship, Social enterprise: the next generation of CSR, Effective strategies for sustainable business through Social enterprise, The role of educational institutions in fostering SE amongst youth, and women in social enterprise were discussed with other topics in the agenda to enlighten the audience and encourage ideation and contextualization, of each specific topic.

An Associate Professor, Julie Ross, who presented her paper under the title of “The use of traditional Biomass fuels for running a glass furnace, to create a micro enterprise for low income rural communities in Sri Lanka”, sharing her thoughts, highlighted the need of focusing on ‘Sustainability’ element when initiating CSR or Green projects. “Through business, one must be able to make a lasting impact on key elements of sustainability: environmental, social as well as economical, to be successful in social responsibility,” she opined.

International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship-2016 was organized by the Colombo School of Business Management – a young organization with interests in developing leaders within South East Asia through hands-on, practical programmes. The Academy for Global Business Advancement-Sri Lanka Chapter, Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies of the University of Kelaniya, Asian Institute of Technology – Thailand and Colombo Internal Nautical and Engineering College (CINEC) also collaborated. It was held at the CINEC Campus-Malabe over two days with the participation of a larger audience rich with firsthand experience in nurturing Social Entrepreneurship in numerous ways.