The Pacific Alliance Blog chatted with Ulf Thoene and Roberto Garcia Alonso about their original and interesting article on Social Entrepreneurship in the Pacific Alliance and the factors that could facilitate this type of entrepreneurship.*
Ulf is a lecturer and researcher at Universidad de La Sabana in Bogota, Colombia. He holds a PhD and a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Warwick; a Graduate Diploma in Economics from the University of Nottingham; and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History from the University of Sheffield. His research interests are business ethics; informal employment; and regional integration. He has previous experience in socio-legal research and competition policy in regional contexts.
Roberto is a lecturer and researcher at Universidad de La Sabana in Bogota, Colombia. He holds a PhD in Political Science and Public Administration and a MA in Democracy and Government from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid; a BA in Law and a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from the same university. His research interests are international relations.
How did you become interested in the topic of Social Entrepreneurship, particularly in the Pacific Alliance?
Social Entrepreneurship has become an effective alternative to address social issues worldwide through innovation as a means of creating sustainable social value. It enables empowering people to take ownership of their development; hence, requiring enhanced capacity-building efforts. As a result, Regional integration has become an effective development strategy as it fosters joint capacity building actions between countries to reduce inequality gaps. Specifically, the Pacific Alliance, recognising the region’s relative backwardness and potential in Social Entrepreneurship, devotes significant spaces and actions to entrepreneurship and innovation.
What opportunities do you see for Social Entrepreneurship in the regional context of the Pacific Alliance? Is it feasible to see regional Social Entrepreneurship growing in the medium-term?
Although the region exhibits dissimilar development paths, the PA’s interdependent regionalism offers flexibility and legitimacy in its decision-making, evaluation, discussion, and approval processes. The PA promotes cooperation, economic growth, consensus, and participation as a means to overcome inequality.
This backdrop offers meaningful possibilities for Social Entrepreneurship (SE) as a bottom-up strategy embedded within the PA’s framework. SE combines diverse actors, including local organisations, NGOs, governmental institutions, and the private sector, while promoting cooperation systems. This environment creates a unique opportunity for social innovation based on actor’s common objectives and experiences. This is especially true for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which contribute to job creation and economic growth.
SE can be extrapolated to all the region and adjusted to each country’s specific characteristics thanks to its local foundations and PA’s common cooperation goals. Under the current pandemic context, we will likely see a growing digital-based, and innovative SE as entrepreneurs find new ways to create businesses seeking to safely reach consumers while generating social change, sustainability, and growth through inclusiveness, environmental protection, and income generation.