This thesis discusses the contribution of social enterprises in the Latin America and Caribbean countries. It focuses on their facilitation in different aspects such as education, poverty eradication and overall economic development. The prime objective is to go back down history lane and recount the development systems in Latin America and Caribbean countries. Based on the paper, the study draws its conclusions about the roles society, authorities, and government programs play in streamlining the economy towards positive change and promotion of social enterprises as new organizations. Upon completion, the study will focus on the comparison of the features of some of the policies set in place by these two countries to formulate and guide the social enterprises.
Keywords: Social enterprises, Latin America, Caribbean countries, economy, policy.
There is an increasing global responsiveness of the need to enhance positive change among youth in areas of financial literacy and economic practices (Barbero, & Dávila, 2009). Such awareness emerges from the different factors like low financial literacy rates and economic downturns that have had adverse effects on various countries Various Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) such as the Global Changemakers that supports skilled young entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. These regions should encourage reforms in their education sectors targeting their young population (Barbero, & Dávila, 2009). The programs should aim at enhancing sustainability, local growth paradigms, supporting small enterprises to global value chains, and promoting expenditure on infrastructure.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) aims at helping Latin America and Caribbean nations to realize sustainable progress through these reforms. Various reform programs in these countries have partnered with OECD to facilitate sharing of effective policy practices and promoting regional networks (Barbero, & Dávila, 2009). The growing need for social enterprises such As Global Changemakers is because it has managed to attract many youth through different networks towards positive change. By providing the required skills, learning facilities and knowledge on good practices, the members are ready to go and improve not just their lives but give back to their communities. The guiding aspects for the research include the definition of the young people’s right to education access, training of reformers, and linking the education to income-generating activities or ideas. Similarly, the aspect of this research will entail the appreciation of the cultural diversity, which may contribute to sustainable development and the reduction of poverty.
Social entrepreneurship refers to a group or movement that aims at promoting social change. The term is not defined clearly, and various researchers have preferred the use of various approaches to give its meaning. The underlying view is that of projects or initiatives that aim at bringing solutions to economic and social challenges. This is why the term is connected to innovation as a huge determinant factor. There are numerous Non-governmental organizations and community groups that have their primary existence reason to be implementing social change. According to Reiser (2011), social enterprise is not related to a non-profit because it’s self-financing and socially driven.
The study refers to online collaboration as interactions among different social entrepreneurs, giving each other technical, networking, consultancy and financial support through the internet. There is a growing need for the online networks to generate more collaboration between these entrepreneurs. There are vast benefits of young entrepreneurs’ contribution in towards sustainable development in an economy (Delgado & Humm-Delgado, 2013). Additionally, such participation encourages responsibility and molds them into effective leaders in their communities. Not to forget, citing Global Change Makers (2016), the goal of Global Changemakers is to enable youth gain confidence and more self-esteem from the employability skills they get through community participation. Once trained, the Global Changemakers can request for funds or capital to start their businesses. The benefit of the organization is that it not only funds but monitors and conduct follow-ups of the new initiatives to see if they are on the right track and if the need for consultancy arises.
With the advent of technology, youth find themselves accessing information primarily from the internet. Now they can connect globally, share ideas, collaborate and in the process learn new things. According to Global Change Makers (2016), social media revolutions including Facebook and Twitter have accelerated interactions among people. Attention given to youth by the Global Changemakers is not surprising because about fifty percent of the population in the world consist of people under age of 25 (United Nations Population, 2016). The proportion of youth in developing countries is really high. This situation may be viewed as an advantage to the economies that are growing, but it may be a risk in cases where their energy, abilities, and knowledge are not fully utilized and misdirected towards unnecessary programs that result in unsustainable consumption. However, with the easier collaborations through online platforms, the young people have created movements attracting the attention of media houses. Jamasb and Pollitt (2011) state that with the concern of climate change on the rise, several mitigation strategies have been put in place, but this is at the local levels. Therefore, significant development usually happens where the locals are willing to invest their time and resources towards supporting these strategies.
With the rising usage of internet, young people are realizing their potentials and the huge mass they can attract with their ideas. Participation in projects aimed at enhancing social entrepreneurship from the youth targets their shaping of the society even engaging in activities not supported by the government. The emergence of innovative communication techniques has accelerated young people’s initiatives. Social media allows for raising concerns to other platforms not accessed by local community members to understand their shared needs. It means that technology in a way has enabled local activism to penetrate international platforms (Tetloff, & Griffith, 2008). Allowing for the growth of social enterprises such as Global Changemakers to international levels would need uplifting young people morale and capabilities so as to encourage their participation. Even with the influence felt from the social media platforms, the youth need to be motivated through other effective ways.
According to Aldenmyr et al. (2012), a universal conclusion that applies to this proposal is the fact that if individuals feel they can make changes, they are most definitely persuaded to do so. Similarly according to (Tetloff, & Griffith, 2008) if a cause needs to be undertaken, it must allow individuals to take action. This is in regards to the young people targeted by social enterprises such as the Global Changemakers. To internationalize its operations, the organization has to engage the youth in worldwide actions to address, for instance, the case of climate change. This way, the youth will feel they are being involved and therefore, fuel the growth of social enterprises in international markets (Markowitz, 2012). Knowledge leads to modification of attitudes towards positive change. It is known that providing sufficient information to the growing young people population will enhance understanding of their issues and help in solving them. Where the youth programs aim at encouraging volunteering and projects linked to international changes, such have been undertaken by adult-run entities that do not give the young people chances to play huge roles. However, recent years have proved to alter this way of thinking, and the young people are seen as responsible and capable citizens. This is opposite to the way they were perceived as a demographic that needed mitigation. Governments are asking their young people to identify concerns in their communities (Markowitz, 2012). As opposed to the national officials solving the issues, social enterprises are encouraged to become lead stakeholders and design effective solutions. Today, the rising appreciation of the youth’s problem-solving skills and critical thinking spearheads the growth of Global Changemakers and encourages expansion of such social enterprises to other countries (Global Change Makers, 2016).
The study will use a survey done in 2013 using a sample of social entrepreneurship fanatics from different social settings in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia. A convenience sampling method will be used to determine the fittest case or persons who will undertake the survey. This investigation is required to solve the complex issue of getting in-depth information about the LAC. The most recommended way of collecting this information is through the survey. There are different ways to access the information. First, the research would determine the respondents’ socio-demographic details, their needs towards social entrepreneurship, and their relations with other entrepreneurs (Madsen, 2013). Additionally, the study will focus on aligning some of its findings with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring Survey.
The case study of the chosen countries provides the broadest research information. The presence of HUB will highly influence the findings is the three countries and how the governments support them through favorable policies in their social entrepreneurship ventures.
The HUB is an internationally recognized company of social entrepreneurship (Haar & Price, 2008). This is the reason, the scope of generalization of the findings will be limited. It still appears to be a multi-case research since its more than one country and this will allow comparison the connections or variances. Furthermore, it will be possible to get comparative conclusions about the internationalization of social enterprises in the LAC and draw more generalizable results (Bucher, Jäger & Cardoza, 2016). Determining the best approach to answering the above questions will depend on the one that allows more access to detailed information. Changing the research questions often among the three countries will help in assessing the best process to use.
Global Changemakers focuses in developing skills and offering support to young people with promising prospects or talents. The company was first established in 2007 and utilizes approaches that best identify and nature talents, and providing needed facilities to help in their initiatives. The organization bases its existence on the number of youth who join it and who want to participate in Changemakers initiatives (Lepoutre, Justo, Terjesen, & Bosma, 2013). There are more than 130 thousand individuals across the world that follows this organization through social media platforms. According to OECD (2009), the increasing number of members or followers is also accredited to the international training programs where approximately 4 million people have gained more insights of its projects and internationalization of such Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Due to the movement towards the new millennium, there is the need to educate young Latin Americans and Caribbean to certain economic processes. With the growing population, the need for social services such as healthcare and social security is on the rise.
Education of the youth to conserve the environment is a positive and promising move towards generating a productive generation (Lepoutre, Justo, Terjesen, & Bosma, 2013). This is an objective of the global change makers, to equip the youth to become more visionary and impact their communities. Climate change is a major challenge to the European Union member countries, and it is this reason that the youth should be educated on the preservation of the natural resources.
The alarming rate of youth in the world is a call for more sustainable consumption of their knowledge, abilities, and time; otherwise any negative motivations will result in underdevelopment. In case young women or men are not engaged in political processes or are not well represented in any institution, they are likely to feel frustrated (OECD, 2009). Despite the mobilization efforts to bring youth together the challenge of their age still lingers since they are not included in most decision-making platforms.
Limited resources to fund this SME internationalization process is the other hindrance. Such organizations require enough funds to take advantage of key infrastructure that will accelerate its promotion in international environment. Scarce knowledge by managers of SMEs makes them less recognized because the Internationalisation process is slow.
There are vast opportunities for the Global Changemakers organization to create awareness of its projects and have more followings. Firstly, modern youth are very aggressive and it is this nature that makes the catalysts that come up with better and effective business plans or ideas. The organization is able to tap more talents through showcasing already incubated talents and how they have improved and now make meaningful contributions across different parts of the world (Global Change Makers, 2016). Growth opportunities for such an SME are the motivation for its Internationalisation.
Expression of growth enhances the possibility of international recognition; it acts as stimuli (Madsen, 2013). The advancement of science and technology has been welcomed well by the Latin American and Caribbean countries. This is the reason education systems have changed to accommodate youths with talents and ability to use technology in productive ways. More of these countries are beginning to realize the significance of technology to compete in the international markets (Prieto, et al., 2015). The introduction of technology learning facilities in the countries has positively impacted research and development facilities which are types of social enterprises.
Many young people today cannot access internet connectivity which is very vital since information sources happen to be the internet. Therefore, this poses as a threat to Global Changemakers since their aim is to reach the unprivileged communities. Also, the governments, policies, institutions, and norms challenge youth participation in any Global Changemakers projects. Reluctance by these factors to act on the ability of the young generation causes low expectations and restricts involvement. Corruption is another threat facing the economic development. It is a vice that leads to mismanagement of public funds that should be used in promoting youth programs, uplifting slow sectors and providing social amenities in the regions (Prieto, et al., 2015). Thus, many organizations in the regions are not meeting their fool potential due to limited funds or support from the governments.
Accessing funds to locate international partners who can champion the Global Changemakers projects is important. Since international contacts might be a barrier to internationalization of firms, programs suited to tackle these issues are in place. Favorable political, social and economic policies should be ensured so as to achieve the firms’ goals. Technological concern is not a problem since advent of social media platforms has made communication much easier. SMEs can post their content on their websites and this can be viewed by every internet user who visits their pages.
In a social context, collaboration of the Global Changemakers with other related SMEs, results in credibility of the program. However, a challenge may occur for instance, a Changemakers in the Philippines did a national monitoring initiative that aimed at promoting the education system and eradicating any form of corruption. The team developed a crowd-sourced database which shows the budget allocated for education and how these resources are utilized in the learning programs (Global Change Makers, 2016). However, the initiative is conducted in conjunction with the Department of Education. The major challenged they faced was the time wasted waiting for approval from this department and other stakeholders. This is a clear indication of the poor support government bodies offer the youth who have agendas that are really crucial and need not waste time. It is an urge to any country that it should set aside funds and an independent organization that deals with youth affairs especially project-related as this will accelerate youth contribution in the society.
What skills are needed to overcome the barriers faced by youth in gearing towards sustainable development? There is a need to go past this investigation and conduct further analysis of the topic to solve this question sufficiently. Involvement of young people in community projects has been named ‘underdeveloped field of study’. International recognition of the need to empower youth and come up with strategies that result in maximum outcome has been experienced (Terjesen, Bosma, & Stam, 2015). Empirical studies and findings have been used to explain some of the strategies. However, a better whole terminology or theory should be created to bring together all facets that constitute youth participation and strengthen collaboration. The most important recommendation is undertake further investigation to the barriers to sustainable development and remedies to this problem. Most crucial factor is the contribution in terms of thoughts and opinions of young people in such studies.
Todays’ world population is entailed by youth taking a very high percentage. Young people shape the future organizations and policies; therefore, there is need to empower them through initiatives that advocate for social change. The Global Changemakers which is an SMEs founded on the grounds of the functions of social enterprises ensures that youth with extraordinary abilities and ideas be given opportunities to grow into successful entrepreneurs.
The research will look at the spread of such SMEs in the global environment using the interests and socio-demographic features regarding social enterprises in Colombia, Chile, and Brazil. Despite the sample not representing in any way the general population, it would be prudent to note the emerging patterns in the study for further research. The paper shows the responsibility that governments have in providing that allow easier connectivity among these social entrepreneurs. Any national body that has interests in making the Global Changemakers prosper should focus on first providing information sharing platforms. The study shows the need for further work on the topic which should include other countries in the LAC and find out if there are any similarities among them.
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