The 'Empowering Chinese Social Entrepreneurship Leaders' Commitment aims to help enable Chinese young people to play a positive role as social business entrepreneurs. ECSEL will provide Chinese youth with connections to businesses addressing social and environmental issues, both in China and around the world, as well as the capital to help realize their business ideas. ECSEL will do this through implementation of two distinct projects: CGI-U 2010 travel scholarships and fiscal support for the Sustainable Innovation Student Competition (SISC).
CGI-U 2010 Travel Scholarships:
To connect Chinese young people with peers in the United States and organizations from around the world tackling global challenges, ECSEL will bring up to 30 exceptional students from leading Chinese universities to attend Clinton Global Initiative University 2010. While in the United States, additional meetings will be arranged between these students and leaders in the social business and impact investing sector in order to broaden their exposure to the work being done in the U.S. and around the world and to allow them to bring ideas back to China.
Implementation of the CGI-U 2010 Travel Scholarships component will be carried out as follows:
- A call for applications will be sent to the top business schools and universities in China.
- Applicants will be asked to submit their business plan for their proposed social enterprise as their CGI-U Commitment to Action. For these purposes, ECSEL will define a social enterprise as a a for-profit entity whose core product or service helps to address a challenge such as pollution, climate change, or poverty.
- ECSEL will select up to 30 applicants and provide those students with full travel scholarships to attend CGI-U 2010 as well as assist them through the visa process.
- Those attending CGI-U 2010 will remain on site for an additional day of meetings with leaders in the United States on social enterprise and impact investing.
Fiscal Support of the Sustainable Innovation Student Competition (SISC):
To promote aceess to capital, the Schoenfeld Foundation commits to provide 330,000 RMB (50,000 USD) in prize money for the first annual Sustainable Innovation Student Competition (SISC) lead by the Chinese NGO 51SIM. SISC was launched in 2009 as a CGI Asia Commitment to Action, which seeks to spread awareness about the power of green entreprenuership to mitigate climate change and to provide fiscal support and media exposure for the best approaches.
As China emerges as an economic superpower, the course taken by its economy will have profound impacts on global climate change and sustainability. In this burgeoning market economy, creative Chinese young people have a leading role to play in developing the pathways for economic growth that will result in positive environmental and social outcomes.
Social entrepreneurship harnesses the power of the market while simulatenously addressing major global challenges, and these for-profit approaches to change can produce tremendous impact. Even so, there are many hurdles that Chinese young people face on the path to becoming a social entrepreneur, including: a lack of institutional and educational supportStructural economic and employment factors that make it difficult to take the risks of entrepreneurship; difficulty in accessing investment or philanthropic capital; and lack of knowledge of examples of effective social businesses.
Despite these difficulties, the first seeds of a social entrepreneurship movement are starting to blossom in China. Young people have taken the initiative to form partnerships that connect Chinese students with international business plan competitions, and Chinese students studying abroad are making efforts to bring lessons of entrepreneurship back home when they graduate. With these efforts, creative young people and social innovators are bringing China up to speed with the global movement towards solving global challenges through for-profit and innovative non-profit means. This commitment aims to tap into this social entrepreneurship movement, with the hopes of catalyzing further progress by Chinese youth.
SISC was launched on June 5th, 2009 and will come to an end Decmber of this year, with the prize distributed shortly thereafter. The prize money will be awarded to the three winning teams of four individuals each, with each team being awarded an equity stake investment of 110,000 RMB. This component of the commitment will connect strong ideas and exceptional young Chinese entrepreneurs with the capital to get their projects off the ground by providing seed financing to the winning business plan ideas submitted by students in the areas of renewable energy, green transport, and energy efficiency. In doing so, ECSEL aims to provide both incentive and support for Chinese young people creating businesses that impact climate change and pollution. For more information on the competition, visit http://sisc.tom.com/.
The ECSEL project will be the first project of the Schoenfeld Foundation, a Hong-Kong based entity currently in the process of formation.
Current partners in this project include:
-Ron Cordes (Cordes Family Foundation)
-Calvin Chin (Qifang)
-Daniel Foa (51SIM)
University of the Pacific
Youth Business Development China
Foundation for Youth Social Entrepreneurship
Peter F. Drucker Academy
The Social Entrepreneurship Business Competition (SEBC)
As THE Schoenfeld Foundation continues to develop the various activities that fall under the ECSEL umbrella, it welcomes a variety of partners to assist its efforts. These include:
-Outreach support: China is huge, and social enterprise there is relatively undeveloped and geographically fragmented. Any organization with significant networks in China would be a welcome partner.
-Implementation: While the 2009 scholarship trip consisted solely of CGI U, it was expanded in 2010 to include 3 days at the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship in California, through a partnership with CGI-member Ron Cordes and the University of the Pacific. The Schoenfeld Foundation is open to further expansion of that trip, as well as the creation of new joint initiatives in the field of social enterprise space.
-Financial Resources: ECSEL hopes to provide seed capital for social enterprises in the near future. It welcomes co-funders to be part of that activity.
-Best Practice Information: Social enterprise is much more developed in other parts of the world, such as the US or UK. ECSEL would welcome any advice from CGI members who have participated in the field, particularly those who have run competitions or provided seed funding.