Delegation of the European Union to Sudan

European Union: young social entrepreneurs will be able to trigger social transformation in their communities

Khartoum, 29/10/2019 - 10:02, UNIQUE ID: 191029_4
Speeches of the Ambassador

To continue the activities of the European Diplomacy week, Ambassador Robert van den Dool, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan addressed the opening session of a workshop on Climate change and the role of youth and social enterprises. The event was organized at Corinthia Hotel. It was attended by many youth enterprises, companies and organizations that work in the areas of climate change and environment. The European Union Ambassador said the following speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen entrepreneurs,

In the old days, when I was young, entrepreneurs used to be those who had an idea, started a company, and then made money. They wrote a business plan, presented it to a bank, and worked tirelessly to scale-up their company and drive profits for themselves and their investors.

Today, that has changed. Young people are as concerned with making a positive impact on the world, as they are with making money. This is why I am so happy to be here with you today and to address this important forum on Climate Change, Youth and Social Enterprise: Young entrepreneurs gathered here this morning represent the future of this country, and their social and environmental engagement holds a precious promise for that future!

It is impressive and encouraging to see such a rich representation from key government institutions, academia, private sector, implementing partners and agencies and donors, all of whom are incredibly enthusiastic about what they do for a living, because it allows them to live their passion, embracing a career with meaning. The diversity of institutions and individuals gathered here today is crucial to the exchange of ideas and the building of new networks and relationships.

Social enterprises are organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social or environmental problem through a market-driven approach. These self-funding, for-profit businesses do not only make money, they also have a mission to tackle global issues such as alleviating hunger, improving education, and combatting climate change. The main idea behind such organisations is to combine business and social objectives with environmental goals.

By providing viable and innovative solutions to economic and social issues at the local, national and regional levels, and by showcasing the benefits of social entrepreneurship to policymakers and other relevant stakeholders, the ecosystem will be strengthened, and young social entrepreneurs will be able to trigger social transformation in their communities. Thereby they contribute to sustainable development in the region.

Consumers as well have redefined themselves as citizens of the world. More and more people are interested in products and services that align with their values. Making a social market economy real entails that we create conditions which encourage socially and societally responsible and sustainable businesses:

I mean: Businesses, looking beyond short term profit maximisation, Businesses, bearing their responsibility towards their employees, their local community and the society at large, Businesses, promoting the skills and competences of their employees and building on their innovative capacities As you are aware, Climate Change is already affecting and will continue to affect the economic development of countries, delivery of public service, in other words our daily lives in all aspects.

Therefore, it is important that today's forum will show and highlight the emerging social enterprise sector in the country, in particular those promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. It will also allow knowledge sharing and networking among different stakeholders.

Ladies and gentlemen, you represent a part of economy and civil society, which has a unique and essential role in this context. You are committed to promote enterprises which explicitly aim at achieving social impact and which does not put capital or profit before people.

Like said, I am so happy to be here today and to confirm to you that the European Union recognises the huge value social enterprises bring to our economies and our societies. The EU is supporting the agribusiness in Eastern Sudan with 3M Euro to develop the initiatives and business ideas of Sudanese entrepreneurs. People from disadvantaged groups, entrepreneurs and associations will be given the opportunity to engage in economic activities along the whole agricultural value chains. Think Tanks, experts and government agencies will be involved in a coordinated action and will facilitate EU companies to invest in new business ideas. And allow me a tiny little bit of chauvinism: this programme is financed by the Netherlands Enterprises Agency.

I personally think the whole economy should be "social" and ''sustainable'', putting people at the centre of everything. And I know I am not alone. People centred development does not deny limited resources our planet has to offer. It puts sustainable and social use of them at the heart of development. That is what makes this workshop so opportune and useful today!

Special thanks to the efforts of the British Council and Landell Mills Ltd in making this event possible and for your attendance.

I wish you all very successful discussions and thank you for your kind attention.

Khartoum 28 October 2019

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