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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Ukraine

24th January 2012

Social entrepreneurship in Ukraine?

On a deeply snowy winter’s morning I visit Pushcha-Vodytsya, on the outskirts of Kiev, to address the participants of a week-long training course on social entrepreneurship.

The idea of most business activity is to earn profits which can be paid to the shareholders who invested in the enterprise in the first place.  The difference with social entrepreneurship is that the profits from the initial start-up capital are ploughed back into local communities.  Such enterprises go back to 1844 in Britain after the industrial revolution, when the first co-operatives were founded in the mill towns of Lancashire in Northern England.

Today, social enterprise is, literally, big business in the UK, with around 55,000 enterprises employing more than 650,000 people and generating £8.4 billion for the British economy every year.  Social enterprises are seen as a way of delivering services to communities, and to those in need across society, which is both cost-effective and inclusive. The purpose of the seminar at Pushcha-Vodytsya is to explore what British experience may be relevant to Ukraine – a society which has been going though major changes over the past 20 years.  There is no “one-size-fits all solution”.  But the idea of helping people to take the initiative in tackling social issues, rather than waiting for the state or charities to do it, must make sense in every society.

The training is organized by the Renaissance Foundation, working in partnership with the British Council and the East Europe Foundation and supported by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Erste Bank (itself a social enterprise) and the Ukrainian Fund for Support of Enterprise. You can read more about the event here, here, here and here.

If you are interested in finding out more about social entrepreneurship and how it can work for you, please contact: Lyudmila Tatsenko, Project Manager British Council Ukraine, at lyudmila.tatsenko@britishcouncil.org.ua

Participants of training on social entrepreneurship

1 comment on “Social entrepreneurship in Ukraine?

  1. As a social enterprise we’ve been active in Ukraine since 2002 and in December 2008 were told in an email from the FCO that both they and the Embassy in Ukraine were aware of our activities Earlier in 2008, following a public USAID solicitation to apply for funding, we were informed by USAID in Ukraine that they had no budget to support our efforts in aid of “retarded” children.

    We applied to partner with the British Council introducing our work and were disregarded. A letter to my MP would reveal the eligibility criteria included the need to make a financial contribution. The British Council still advertise for partners with no such criteria declared.

    This is surely a corporate showcase, One which has failed spectacularly when one considers the current social unrest in Ukraine.

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.