Entrepreneur website launched

Sixty social enterprises across the world joined forces on Monday to launch a website that will allow aspiring entrepreneurs to share new ideas.

The Social Innovation Exchange is the result of a partnership between the Young Foundation and a host of other organisations, including the Global Ideas Bank and the School for Social Entrepreneurs from the UK.

Other partners are the Tallberg Foundation from Sweden, Mondragon from Spain, Emude from Italy and Kaosopilots from Denmark. There are also members from further afield, such as Honeybee in India.

The website is designed to increase the flow of innovation across sector and international boundaries. It will rely on labour being supplied by each of the member organisations.

Geoff Mulgan, director of the Young Foundation, spoke yesterday on the barriers to innovation at the opening ceremony of the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, held at the Said Business School at Oxford University.

Mulgan told Third Sector: "The message is that there has been strong growth in the social entrepreneurship sector, but not in innovation.

"People from cities and businesses and technology sectors each have their own networks, and there is very little cross-sector innovation or learning. We need a new generation of tools to work across these sectors."

The website will include features such as news, blogs and suggestions of how innovative ideas can be shared more effectively. Mulgan hopes the new facility will help move social enterprise beyond the confines of the third sector.

"Social enterprise should not be limited to the voluntary sector, but must occur across all sectors," he said. "A lot of organisations with the same fundamental ideas are moving in the same direction and coming to similar conclusions, but there are no shared experiences or practical tools.

"The flow of ideas will be in all directions across the world. We need to be open to learning about projects from Europe, of course, but also from places such as Brazil and India too."

The website's work will be backed up by a series of meetings across the world to establish which topics should be the subject of collaborative research.

The site can be viewed at www.socialinnovationexchange.org.

- See Newsmaker, page 13.

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