Opening Remarks at the launch of the ESCAP-BAPPENAS-British Council Report

Professor Dr. Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister of Bappenas
Distinguished guests,

It is a pleasure to be with you to launch our joint report Building an Inclusive Creative Economy: The State of Social Enterprise in Indonesia. It is a particular pleasure to do so alongside UN ESCAP’s partners, BAPPENAS and the British Council. I am grateful to you for organising this event and for the excellent collaboration between our organisations.

In Asia-Pacific economies, entrepreneurship matters. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a source of employment, economic dynamism and innovation. 96 per cent of all enterprises are SMEs. They employ over 60 per cent of the labour force and generate over 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product. They could be a valuable source of innovation to help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But this requires the right incentives for them to become “impact-driven SMEs”, or social enterprises.

Innovation is about technology but also innovative business models. Given the significance of SMEs in the Asia-Pacific, one of the most impactful innovations for the region could be the shift from entrepreneurship to social entrepreneurship. To make this happen governments have a critical role to play. The challenge is to incentivize enterprises to engrain social and environmental purpose, alongside financial return.

Recognising this, member States in the Asia-Pacific region took an unprecedented step. They agreed by resolution to support the development of enabling environments for social enterprise as outlined in the “Asia-Pacific Roadmap for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific”.

To support member States to deliver on this commitment, UN ESCAP have been working in close partnership with the British Council to promote the growth of social enterprise across the Asia-Pacific region as a means of supporting progress on the SDGs. Our goal is to provide research, analysis, training, policy dialogues. And offer guidance to support the formulation and implementation of policies fostering social enterprise.

Through this partnership, we have supported the development policy and legal frameworks, strategies, institutions and financial mechanisms. We have worked with the Philippines and Thailand in developing their social enterprise Acts. And the Government of Pakistan to design and develop their Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The Centre will support innovation and jump start social entrepreneurship in the country. In Malaysia, we have worked with the government to develop a Social Impact Exchange, an online platform linking investors to impact enterprises. And we have helped gather data on the state of social enterprise across the Asia-Pacific region.

Today, I am delighted to be part of the launch of the report on “Building an Inclusive and Creative Economy: The State of Social Enterprise in Indonesia”. The report highlights the huge opportunity social enterprise presents in a country like Indonesia where there are already an estimated 340 thousand social enterprises.

Indeed, many social enterprises in Indonesia are working to promote inclusivity and address inequality through community-based models and providing opportunities for women. 40 percent of social enterprises in Indonesia are led by women. Another 19 per cent are led jointly by women and men. The UN Secretary-General has placed a high priority on gender equality. This report shows social enterprise can strengthen the role of women as leaders in both business and society. But also increase youth engagement in sustainable development. Half our social enterprise leaders are between 25 and 34 years old. This is an opportunity for Indonesia to harness their creativity and innovation.

Very distinguished guests,

Let me commend BAPPENAS for taking on a leadership role on this forward-looking agenda. This report provides a solid evidence base to inform future policies and strategies. UN ESCAP stands ready to support the development of social enterprise as a key means of building an inclusive and creative economy. One which can drive sustainable development in Indonesia and serve as a reference point across Asia and the Pacific.

Thank you for your attention.