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Amy Carter

The Influencers Column: Amy Carter

Irecently had the pleasure of attending a presentation from four millennials talking about social enterprises here in Christchurch. The future leaders were excited to share their findings with the baby boomers and gen Xers. After all, in their minds, social enterprise is a relatively new concept, largely driven by their generation.

Amy Carter
The Christchurch Foundation Establishment Chief Executive

 

Those of us with laughter lines and natural ‘highlights’ in our hair openly questioned if it was a new concept, or just the re-labeling of an existing model?
Currently there is no nationally agreed legal definition of what a social enterprise is. The Akina Foundation, the Government-funded entity charged with growing social enterprise, defines them as purpose-driven originations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact. Akina also references that they use commercial methods to be financially self-sustained.
Based on that definition, I’m sure we could all draft a list, including many larger long-established charities, that have developed commercial products to underwrite the social or environmental services they deliver.
Christchurch has been informally recognised as a hotspot for social enterprise since the 2010/11 earthquakes. Last year we hosted the Social Enterprise World Forum because of this.
I have certainly seen an increase in entities popping up that want to make a difference, largely driven by impressive younger talent. However, our own Kilmarnock Enterprises was established in 1958.
I don’t believe social enterprise is a new concept. What we call it is largely immaterial; what is important is the amazing work they do and what can be achieved by taking this approach.

Amy Carter

The Influencers Column: Amy Carter

Amy Carter: The Christchurch Foundation Chief Executive
Amy Carter: The Christchurch Foundation Chief Executive

New Zealand was recently named as the most prosperous country in the world by The Legatum Institute. The London based think tank has recently released its annual global Prosperity Index for 2018, a huge survey that ranks the most prosperous nations.
New Zealand now outranks Finland – a country we are often highlighted as performing poorly against. Since the index was first founded in 2007, our lowest place was fourth and we have taken out the top spot seven times.
Given recent newspaper headlines outlining our childhood poverty statistics, the housing crisis and rivers we can’t swim in, this came as a surprise to me. So, I did a little more research and thinking on this topic.
The Legatum Institute doesn’t view prosperity as being just the amount of money that a country has. It compared 104 variables in developing the rankings, including personal freedom, natural environment and social capital.
Further reading of their website provides more detail. It’s well worth a look – just visit ind.pn/2Ex2S0j.
When reviewing these results, it seems to me that all of us have a role to play to ensure that our collective prosperity is spread more evenly. We are doing ok, but we can do better.
Smart central government policy and investment are obviously key, but these wheels take time to turn. In contrast, a nimble, grassroots-engaged, fact-based charity or social enterprise can make an impact quickly, if it is well supported.