Social Business Camp: Designing solutions for Social Impact

Dec 1, 2016

Dili, 16-18 November, 2016 – The United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister organised a three-day Social Business Camp for Timorese youth. The aim is to encourage and equip participants with skills and confidence to start their own business.

 “With this Camp, UNDP is responding to the request by the government of Timor-Leste to support the development of a thriving private sector,” said Claudio Providas, UNDP Country Director in the opening. “We stand ready to work in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister to tackle youth employment in innovative ways.”

On the same occasion, keynote speaker, Vinay Mathor, Managing Director of Heineken, shared his insights on how to build trust with clients and investors and highlighted the importance of being able to take risks. “It’s all about seeing challenges as an opportunity, not a problem,” he said.

During the three days, the participants brainstormed and identified societal problems, missions and visions of their business, designed solution for the problems, identified key resources and partnerships, and worked on developing a pilot launch. They also learned about scalability and sources of funding to launch their business. The event culminated in a pitching of their business ideas to a panel composed of big players from the private sector, who gave them real life advice and feedback on their proposals.

Tony Jape of Timor Plaza Group encouraged investment in the well-being of the Timorese people. “Social business should not be limited to social enterprise. Investing in the well-being of the Timorese people makes business sense.”

Emphasizing the importance of women entrepreneurship, Clarissia Lay from the Jacinto group motivated young women to take their destiny into their own hands. “Young people are the most valuable resource of Timor-Leste especially young women. You have to find and explore existing opportunities and develop partnerships. Knock on the door, and the door will open to you.”

Recognising the power of youth, Mr. Knut Ostby, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative encouraged youth to be job creators. “Young people have the power to be the agents of social change. Youth can become job creators and not job seekers. In UNDP, we are committed to promote entrepreneurship and business skills development for youth, and also for others in Timor-Leste.”

Mr. Ostby also encouraged the private sector and development partners to support youth entrepreneurship. “UNDP is ready to support you in this journey to become social entrepreneurship and I would like to encourage the private sectors and other organization to do the same for the achievement of SDGs in Timor-Leste.”

About 50 participants, including a group from Oecusse, either aspire to set up business or are doing business participated the Social Business Camp. The following are some feedbacks from the participants.

“The Camp is useful to start our business in order to benefit ourselves, other people as well as our country. I have learnt how to plan my business according to international standard. I am inspired by the international entrepreneurs who gave me motivation instead of only theory,“ said Justaquio Fabiano Lasi, a student from UNTL who is planning to start his scuba diving business.

Maria Fatima da Costa Soares, a young lady who has a dream to create a community bank in Oecusse region, is also inspired by the training. “Before I had no motivation to go forward in realising  all the plans I have made, but after the training I decided to take actions to make life better for myself, family and the world.”

UNDP will continue to work with young entrepreneurs by providing advisory services, management oversight support, forums, and monitoring and evaluating support to incubated business. UNDP is also establishing an Innovation Hub to support aspiring entrepreneurs, with physical infrastructure and technical support, develop innovative business solutions to address social challenges. The second Social Business Camp will take place in January 2017.

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