Social enterprise is a movement that is showing rapid growth across global boundaries. The business sphere has been redefined by entrepreneurs who are creating social value in parallel to profit. The British Council is a leader in developing social enterprises across the world. In March 2014 they hosted ‘FUTURES – social innovation forum’ in Colombo, which brought together over 150 participants from the public sector, private sector, not-for-profit organisations, consumer groups and young entrepreneurs, to explore innovative solutions to Sri Lanka’s social issues.
In collaboration with the global legal network, iProbono and as part of the follow up programme to FUTURES, the British Council hosted an evening talk on ‘Creating legal frameworks for social enterprises’ at their Library on 17 December 2014. The event focused on developing new legal frameworks in Sri Lanka to support the development of a thriving social enterprise sector.
The panel of speakers was made up of Upul Jayasuriya – President, Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Aritha Wickramasinghe – Sri Lanka Representative of iProbono, Selyna Peiris - Director Business Development, Selyna Handlooms and Dr. Amanda Kiessel – Board Member, Good Market.
The discussion evolved in to an interesting debate on how NGOs in Sri Lanka are looking at ways to adopt social business models, and how the current laws may not be sufficient to accommodate the associated needs, such as ownership structures and tax incentives. With the rapid growth of social enterprises, countries like the UK and USA have introduced new company models such as Community Interest Companies (CICs) and B-corporations (B-corps). Similar structures for Sri Lanka were discussed.
iProbono is a non-profit online network connecting civil society organisations and social businesses in need of legal assistance with lawyers and students who want to use their legal skills for the public good.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.
We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.