Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (YSHHB), An-Nur Harapan and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) will be looking to learn innovative practices in developing social enterprise models by attending the ASEAN+3 Conference on Social Enterprises in Thailand from March 6 to 8.
The conference, organised by Thailand’s Department of Social Development and Welfare in collaboration with the Social Enterprise Thailand Association and the British Council, will focus on existing and upcoming developments in the social enterprise ecosystem of ASEAN.
The role of social enterprises in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – which tackle 17 areas including poverty, health, education and prosperity – will also be deliberated.
Social enterprises are organizations that engage in commercial activities to maximise improvements in the social, environmental and financial well-being of the population. Social enterprises’ self-sustaining capability contrasts against more traditional non-governmental organizations that rely on donations and grants to tackle societal issues.
YSHBB’s participation in the conference comes after it set up a working committee help Brunei’s social enterprises tackle unemployment and poverty in the Sultanate. An-Nur meanwhile has successfully piloted the first cycle of UnikLearn, a vocational training programme to provide autistic youth with employment.
“The conference is a great way for us to network and learn what is being done in other countries and see what we can do, especially in the area of providing funds for social enterprises in Brunei,” said YSHHB officer Mohammad Ali Awg Besir.
Project Coordinator at An-Nur Pg Nur Afni Ryini Pg Haji Hamdani said with UnikLearn about to begin its second cycle, learning the region’s best practices would hopefully help improve their model.
“We’ve had a 100 per cent success with the five participants that joined the 6-month intensive pilot program; we helped them gain gainful employment and moving forward, we want to expand it to other differently abled adults,” said Pg Nur Afni.
As Brunei’s national body for businesses, DARe’s participation includes jointly introducing Brunei’s social enterprise landscape with YSHHB while also networking with potential partners and documenting key developments to present to stakeholders back in Brunei.
As part of the conference, participants will also conduct visits to Thai-based social enterprises in the field of tourism, technology and agriculture who are also helping create employment opportunities for former prisoners and disadvantaged women.