One of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs, Peter Holbrook – CEO of Social Enterprise UK, is on a two day visit to Lebanon, his second to Beirut and the region.
Mr. Holbrook held a series of meetings with Lebanese Ministers of Finance and Economy & Trade, the Central Bank, the Chamber of Commerce, bankers and officials aiming to raise awareness of social enterprise and demonstrate how social enterprise makes a difference. By assisting Lebanon in thinking of creative ways to opening up markets in the private, public and social sectors to social enterprise, this could pave the way for further social justice through job creation and social good.
Similar to its support for the UK Lebanon Tech Hub, the British embassy in Beirut is investing £1.1 million in the social enterprise sector as part of its job creation umbrella, with a social good and impact. The SoUK.LB project aims to strengthen and promote this unique and growing sector by supporting enterprises that seek to create transformational social or environmental change for the benefit of society.
Mr. Holbrook also held an interactive session with over 50 people and met with the budding social enterprise winners of SOUK.LB programme. The finalists of the programme were announced at a reception – each finalist received $15,000 to $40,000 along with training and mentorship as part of the UK funded project.
At the event Ambassador Shorter said:
It is a great pleasure to welcome Peter Holbrook CBE from the UK. It is not often we receive a visitor whose mission is transformational social change, especially one that aims to also create jobs and generate income! What a great combination! The social enterprise sector contributes to more than £24 billion to the UK economy. I can see the huge potential of bringing into the mainstream a new Social Enterprise sector in Lebanon, using mainstream commercial funding to support together Lebanon’s entrepreneurs, who have a huge capacity for generosity. In our bid to further support Lebanon’s economy and resilience, we believe that social enterprise will be another sector with great potential that Lebanese companies and individuals can thrive in. I am very proud that SoUK.LB is already demonstrating the huge potential of this model. Jobs and making a social change: if this isn’t in the true spirit of Lebanon’s vision for its “Knowledge Economy”, and the true definition of Social Enterprise, I don’t know what is!