Universities have always had a strong social mission. They work extensively within and with external parties to support their local communities. More recently, universities have been seen to play a prominent role to support and develop social enterprises, which could be through development of a specially tailored social enterprise academic modules, student placements in a social enterprise, university staff procuring or providing services to social enterprises, or even students establishing their own social businesses.
Whatever the form, social enterprises provide students, graduates, academics and university staff the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills or develop solutions for the benefit of their communities. Additionally, social enterprise experience can give students a taste of an alternative career path in a growing sector, a chance to develop the skills that all businesses look for, and even inspire them to start their own business.
We hope that this AKEPT-WIEF Social Enterprise Forum will encourage active dialogues as well as highlight some of the good work already happening within universities, look at areas to strengthen the relationship between universities and social enterprises as well as explore opportunities to support the development of social enterprise in universities.