International conference on Social Enterprises and SMEs for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction organized by Lanka Social Ventures, 23 & 24 January 2017, Colombo.

Social enterprises are businesses that address social, environmental problems while generating income and employment. They differ from other businesses as instead of channeling profits to owners social enterprises reinvest to support their social mission and thereby contribute to improving peopleโ€™s lives. Furthermore, social enterprises also integrate marginalized groups to become stakeholders of economic development and reduce poverty. While introducing an alternative perspective to businesses, social enterprises contribute towards reforming the way in which business is usually conducted. Today, social enterprises are emerging as a prominent economic and social force in both developed and developing world.Social Finance is an important and rapidly developing feature in social enterprise landscape. It is considered as an approach to managing money to solve social and environmental problems. This entails different approaches to creating a positive social impact: socially responsible investments, micro-loans, community investments, crowd-funding, venture philanthropy and more. Impact investing is the growing movement to invest in ventures and initiatives that will create positive impact in communities and provide a financial return.

In Sri Lanka too, social enterprises and social finance , though a fairly new concepts, are slowly gathering momentum. At present there are successful social enterprises operating across the country. In order to create awareness on social enterprises and social financing, and reflect on their potential to contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction, an international conference is organized by Lanka Social Ventures in partnership with Oxfam, National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA), British Council, Good Market and VEGA BIZ+, Lanka Impact Investors Network (LIIN) and Social Enterprise Lanka. Lanka Social Ventures is a โ€˜social enterpriseโ€™ committed to promote and support entrepreneurship and innovation for social development and environmental sustainability.

The theme of the conference is: โ€œSocial Enterprises and SMEs for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reductionโ€. This conference will be held on the 23rd and 24th of January 2017 at Hilton Colombo Residencies. The conference focuses on the following topics:

  • Building enabling ecosystems for social enterprises and SMEs with positive social impact.
  • Unlocking the potential of alternative finance and social investment.
  • Experience and good practices of successful social enterprises at local and global level.
  • Social finance providersโ€™ experiences and good practices.
  • Key messages and lessons for Sri Lanka.

The conference will bring together an assorted and an eminent collective of local and international entrepreneurs, policymakers, development practitioners and enthusiasts who believe in the potential of social entrepreneurship for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

This conference will be an excellent platform for networking and sharing ideas and experiences on global themes of social entrepreneurship, social innovation, sustainability and poverty reduction etc. For more details about the conference, visit or call 076 3011188.

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