The III International Conference on Inclusive Business Development: on the way to sustainable financing hosted by PLEDDG took place in Ivano-Frankivsk on 22-23 November. The city was not a random choice as it successfully supports the idea of inclusive business and creates favorable conditions for its further development.

It has become an annual tradition in PLEDDG to gather representatives of embassies, authorities, public, entrepreneurs and experts in order to draw attention to social entrepreneurship issues in Ukraine. During the Conference the participants focused their discussions on sustainability of social business and implementation of inclusive approach in private, municipal and public sectors. They also had an opportunity to take a closer look at the examples of social entrepreneurship in Ukraine as well as successful local initiatives, get familiar with practical cases and discover best practices of inclusive business models implementation.

The event took place in the innovation center Promprylad.Renovation which works within the frames of impact investing model. Moreover, the Center is a prominent example of cooperation among government, business and public.

“Any business might be worthwhile. It is a controversial issue but we are convinced that it is more than just a global trend. It is the need of Ukraine. Every entrepreneur has to think about their place in the society. Being successful is no longer solely about profitability. Inclusivity is an instrument that helps to solve problems of local communities by involving everyone. We very much hope that the examples of existing inclusive enterprises in Ukraine will be the impetus for other businessmen’’, Oleksandr Kucherenko, PLEDDG Director said in his opening remarks.

During Panel discussion How does an NGO launch a social business? speakers addressed the role and motivation of local authorities in the field of inclusive entrepreneurship development. Raphael Costa, Manager, Business Center in the City of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada presented Canadian experience of municipalities and social business representatives’ cooperation.

“Relations between local authorities and business, more specifically social business, do not work on the basis of hierarchy. It is a mutually beneficial cooperation which allows governments that provide citizens with services to solve those social problems, where authorities are limited in their resource. It is the main reason we should consider social enterprises as the opportunity “, said Raphael Costa.

Encouraging women entrepreneurship is an important factor of improving living standards in any country. The issue was broadly discussed at the Impact of Women’s Entrepreneurship on Economic Development panel.

“Central authorities cannot cover all of the demands emerging at a local level. That is why the municipalities play a key role at the stage of a problem analysis. This applies to specific community needs as well as to the needs of women in it. Such approach allows to direct financial resources correctly and keep the focus on really important projects with respect for the principles of gender equality. This makes the process economically feasible and excludes the waste of money “, noted Nisha Manocha, economic development officer, City of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.

The owners of successful social enterprises in Ukraine also shared their vision of the inclusive business development in country.

“Favourable conditions for the successful development emerge from the sustainable power-business-public dialogue. Self-governing authorities have to identify positive market trends and create basis which will allow to foster the sphere of social entrepreneurship “, Yurii Fyliuk, Manager, Warm City Platform, Ivano-Frankivsk emphasized in his speech.
“The phenomenon of inclusive business is unique as it addresses particular issues of particular society. Social entrepreneurs don’t talk about defending human rights. Social entrepreneurs don’t talk much about reduction of poverty. Besides, they do much more than those organizations, that declare such values “, Petro Darmoris, Executive Direcor of Ukrainian Social Academy added.

The support of social entrepreneurship in Ukraine is an important issue on the national agenda. The development of business where the owner is not only concentrated on the income and profitability but solves specific social problems can foster economic growth. PLEDDG emphasizes this sphere by spreading best practices and providing methodological recommendations for the development of inclusive and social business.