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Funding for research on Social Enterprise in Scandinavia and Southeast Asia

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Robin Biddulph, researcher at the Unit for Human Geography and Johan Brink, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, School of Business, Economics and Law, at the University of Gothenburg, have received nearly SEK 3 million, in research funding by the Swedish Research Council Formas. Project manager is Robin Biddulph and the money will go to a research project on Social Enterprise in Scandinavia and Southeast Asia, more specifically in Siem Reap (Cambodia) and in Bergsjön (Sweden).

Social Enterprise in Scandinavia and Southeast Asia

Social Enterprise has its origins in the 1970s in USA and UK. From there the concept has spread around the world. Advocates of social enterprise see it as having revolutionary potential with the possibility of reaching more people and creating more social value than traditional businesses, the state or the voluntary sector have been able to. Critics on the other hand have doubted that social problems can be solved by businesses.

Given that social enterprises are found in different forms and different places it is critical to understand the extent to which their relationship to local contexts shapes their potential to deliver genuine and worthwhile innovation. And to understand whether social enterprises are simply a rebranding of existing organisations and activities.

Biddulph and Brink’s research examines social enterprise in two contexts with very different economic and institutional contexts. In Sweden social enterprises have been formed to tackle social exclusion in large cities, whilst in Cambodia social enterprises have sought to link impoverished locals to a booming tourist economy. By studying social enterprise in these radically different contexts they will contribute to understanding about the rapidly expanding social enterprise sector, and especially about the extent to which it really constitutes something worthwhile and new.

Pricelist in local store

Caption:”A local farmers cooperative representative who sells to tourist outlets in Siem Reap town posts market prices in his home village for other farmers to see”