In its latest Med Brief, FEMISE analyzes the social innovation ecosystems of Beirut and Tunis alongside the challenges and opportunities available to socially and environmentally-minded entrepreneurs. The think-tanks’ researchers target the main obstacles faced by social entrepreneurs and provide applicable solutions for South Mediterranean countries !
« An approach that combines innovation, dynamism and the ability to meet social and environmental challenges ». This is how FEMISE defines Social entrepreneurship. But how ? Tallie Hausser, Dr. Constantin Tsakas and Karine Moukaddem focus on the cases of Beirut and Tunis to provide their analysis.
Indeed, Tunisia and Lebanon have launched a discussion on possible legal forms for social Business. The first challenge faced by Social entrepreneurs according to the researchers is that : « In all South Mediterranean countries, with the exception of Jordan, there is no specific legislation to govern Social Entrepreneurship ». This translates into limited access to institutions and laws supporting them , and in this dysfunctional cycle, one of the effects produced by lack of legislation is that it « makes fundraising and expanding difficult » as stressed by the researchers.
This is an issue that FEMISE has tackled on numerous occasions, including most recently at a conference in Jordan which is the only Mediterranean country to have a legal framework for social entrepreneurship, and for which the think-tank had made several operationnal recommendations as you can see in the following video :
Exchanging best practices
Among the FEMISE recommendations, one finds a plethora of relevant proposals as for example, providing more innovative financing mechanisms and funding options, building databases in the Mediterranean to increase Social entrepreneurship’s visibility or « bridging the gap » by also encouraging the involvement of « traditional entrepreneurs » of the private sector in the social innovation ecosystem.
One of these solutions caught our attention: The creation of a specific ERASMUS for social entrepreneurs. In practice, according to the FEMISE trio of researchers, it « could be a measure to allow such inclusion and cultivate entrepreneurial skills with a social impact across the Mediterranean ».
The program could include social enterprises from all Mediterranean shores and would allow new social entrepreneurs from the South Mediterranean to acquire or exchange socially innovative entrepreneurial knowledge and ideas with an experienced entrepreneur from the North or another South country. Discovering a new market, exchanging knowledge and good practices, cultivating an inclusion culture …The benefits of such a project appear numerous and trully beneficial for southern and northern Mediterranean countries.
The researchers seek to demonstrate through this new study that there are always solutions to improve the inclusion of populations in the Mediterranean. Their belief ? « A problem without a solution is a poorly stated problem ».
For more details find the FEMISE Policy Brief here.