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SHA says social enterprises have developed steadily in Hong Kong
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     The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, today (November 3) attended the opening ceremony of the Social Enterprise Summit 2014. In his opening speech Mr Tsang said that ever since its launch in 2007, the Summit, along with the concerted efforts of the various sectors concerned, has established itself as an important annual event for Hong Kong's social enterprise sector.

     He also said that a solid foundation has been laid for the development of social enterprises (SEs) in Hong Kong. The Government would continue to join with different sectors to help SEs develop into a platform that encourages mutual assistance and promotes social innovation and development.

     "The SEs in Hong Kong have been developing steadily in both quantity and quality. The number of SEs has increased from 260 six years ago to more than 450 now. The scope of their services and service targets has become more diversified, earning wider recognition from the community," said Mr Tsang.

     Mr Tsang also elaborated on the results of a research study on the current landscape and development of Hong Kong's SEs by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service íV HSBC Social Enterprise Business Centre. Commissioned by the Social Enterprise Advisory Committee (SEAC) last year, the study was conducted through public opinion polls, a survey on SEs, focus group discussions and desk-top research carried out from the second half of 2013 to the first quarter of this year.

     The study showed that about 80 per cent of respondents were familiar with SEs, and about 70 per cent of them said that they would procure services or products provided by SEs. With the support of different sectors, the number of social enterprise platforms and supporting organisations already exceeds 30.  

     Meanwhile, about 60 per cent of the SEs surveyed said that they were able to break even or even make a profit in 2012. Thus, they were able to realise their social objectives and develop a businesses in a steady manner at the same time.  

     The Government's two SE funding programmes, namely the "Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme" and the "Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise' Project", have created over 3,200 job opportunities for the socially disadvantaged. According to research conducted by the Fullness Social Enterprises Society last year, for every dollar the Government spends on supporting the development of SEs, 4 to 7 dollars' worth of workfare for the socially disadvantaged can be generated in return, revealing the high social benefits created by the SEs.

     Following in-depth discussion, the SEAC and the Government have agreed on the strategic directions proposed in the study to further promote the future development of SEs. They include:

(1) to adhere to the principle of SEs being community-driven with the support of the Government, and to maintain the diversified development of SEs;

(2) to support SEs to continue performing their major function of "assisting employment of the socially disadvantaged", which is in line with the objectives of the Government's population policy;

(3) to encourage innovation by SEs to achieve more diversified social objectives; and

(4) to focus efforts on boosting the development of SEs, including strengthening support services, enhancing talent training and capacity-building, promoting cross-sector partnership and encouraging social participation.

     The relevant research study report can be downloaded from the dedicated SE website under the Home Affairs Bureau: www.social-enterprises.gov.hk.

     The annual Social Enterprise Summit was organised by non-governmental organisations. During the Summit, seminars, expert talks, workshops, visits and competitions were held for SEs and other groups, as well as for students and the general public. The purpose of the Summit is to encourage exchange and co-operation, and promote the development of SEs and social innovation. More than 50 local and overseas speakers and more than 2,000 people are expected to participate in this year's Summit.

Ends/Monday, November 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:19

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