Globalization, technological progress and the increase in social and environmental challenges have prompted the business sector to change their traditional operational framework. Worldwide, more economic systems sought to find an alternative to thrive and expand while addressing the major development challenges. Consequently, social entrepreneurship became a form of social and solidarity economy that provides new economic opportunities while serving sustainable economic and social goals. In this context, a social enterprise is a mission driven, focused on social impact rather than making profit.
Since January 2020, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has been implementing in partnership with the Social Development Center in Qatar (NAMA), a new project that aims to empower young Qatari men and women and prepare them to become social entrepreneurs who understand their communities’ needs, and possess the knowledge and skills set required for innovation and change. The project also aims to enhance the capacities of youth in designing and executing local development projects that have a sustainable impact.
In the first phase of the project ESCWA carried out a comprehensive survey to assess the gaps and opportunities in the area of social entrepreneurship in Qatar. The results of the survey contributed to assessing the training needs of Qatari youth and building the overall framework of the training curriculum on social entrepreneurship. Moreover, ESCWA prepared a detailed report on the main learning and pedagogical approaches on social entrepreneurship adopted at the global and regional levels and produced short stories of successful initiatives and effective practices in social entrepreneurship policies and programs from the world and Qatar, highlighting their strengths, ecosystems and impact.
In the second phase of the project, ESCWA used the survey results and the literature produced and developed a comprehensive training package to enhance the skills of young men and women in Qatar on the four stages of the social entrepreneurship journey and tailoring the curriculum to the local training needs, context and culture. The training package also includes a manual to train the trainers who have graduated from the first set of training courses/workshops in addition to the selection criteria for trainees and trainers.
The third and fourth phases of the project, or the training stages, take place on October 3, 2021 and continue until 13 January 2021. They include eight capacity building workshops targeting around 100 young men and women who were selected based on specific criteria. The workshops series will enhance the knowledge of participants on the concept of social entrepreneurship and build their skills in the following areas: (1) identification of the problem and solution; (ii) the business model; (3) project growth; and (4) promoting or disseminating the solution.
The workshops focus on learning the necessary skills for social business planning, feasibility planning, financial modeling, how to establish an enterprise, team building, setting up a regulatory framework, entering the market, increasing investment, impact measurement, and other issues relevant for the design and management of social entrepreneurial projects.
In the final phase of the project, ESCWA and NAMA Center will evaluate all the training workshops in order to review and improve the training package in light of the participants’ feedback and integrating their comments in the final version of the package. It is anticipated that the project will support the initiation of a group of young men and women who possess the required knowledge, skills and tools to become active agents of development and social change in Qatar, capable of finding innovative solutions, organizing work, leading and implementing local development projects and training their peers in this field.