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On March 23-24, 2017 Lviv hosted a round-table discussion on social entrepreneurship and its support by local government, organized within the framework of PLEDDG Project.

The goal of a two-day event was to introduce the potential of social entrepreneurship for solving pressing social issues, familiarize participants with relevant Canadian experience and Ukrainian best practices of creating and running social enterprises, as well as develop an action plan for cooperation between a local government and social enterprises aimed at urban development. Among the participants there were representatives from PLEDDG partner cities responsible for development and implementation of SME programs, representatives of local business associations, successful Ukrainian social enterprises as well as representatives from international technical assistance projects that provide support and help develop social entrepreneurship in Ukraine.

Participants were greeted by Oleksandr Kucherenko, PLEDDG Project Director, and Kadie Ward, PLEDDG Senior Governance Advisor, who emphasized the importance of developing social entrepreneurship in Ukraine as a response to pressing social issues. The discussion that followed was moderated by Valeriy Kokot, PLEDDG Senior Expert in Business Development, and Valentyna Smal, PLEDDG social entrepreneurship consultant. Participants discussed social innovations and development of social enterprises in Ukraine, identified social issues that could be solved in PLEDDG partner cities through social entrepreneurship. Olena Tykhomyrova, PLEDDG gender equality specialist, spoke about promoting the idea of gender equality in context of furtherance of social entrepreneurship development.

Canadian experience of social entrepreneurship was presented by Michelle Baldwin, executive director of Pillar Nonprofit Network, and Lore Wainwright, Director at Innovation Works of Pillar Network, who came from the city of London, Canada. They described how local government in Canada supports social enterprises as well as presented the activity of Pillar-Non-Profit network. Canadian experts stressed that social entrepreneurship is an effective tool of solving pressing social issues, in particular those of social and economic integration of vulnerable social groups.

Apart from Canadian experience, the participants could learn more about Ukrainian best practices of social entrepreneurship. The best examples appeared to be a Lviv NGO “Tourist and sports club “Manivtsi”, which organizes training courses, hiking camps for children and youth, sports and cultural events, corporate events and training courses in Lviv; a pizza restaurant “Pizza Veterano” – a social enterprise which helps ATO veterans, who took part in military operations in the east of Ukraine, adjust to a normal and peaceful life: 10% of all income generated by “Pizza Veterano” goes to meet the needs of ATO veterans and their families. Another success story is the first Anti-cafe “CHAS YE” (There is time) in Berdyansk, which is an open creative platform for cultural and recreational activities, get-togethers and work. Part of organization’s income is used to fund social and many other projects.

At the end, participants discussed an action plan for development of social entrepreneurship in PLEDDG partner cities.