Exploratory meeting on social entrepreneurship for food security
On February 27, 2015, a group of 35 enthusiastic social entrepreneurs and impact investors discussed the role of social entrepreneurship for food and nutrition security. During a lively ‘Pop-up Friday’ meeting, enabled by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP), practitioners and academics explored the practical and strategic challenges that social entrepreneurs face and how to address these. The discussions gave a good insight into the topics and questions that should be included in the future knowledge agenda on social entrepreneurship for food security.
A report of the meeting including the list of participants, can be found here. The meeting was the first of a series of ‘Pop-up Friday’ events that focus on social and sustainable entrepreneurship that the Utrecht Centre for Entrepreneurship will organize with Droomzaken. The first ‘Pop-up Friday’ about Food Security was enabled by the Platform: the mix of business case presentations, lively interactions and contributions by participants in roundtable discussions, together with creative, inspirational outdoor sessions with unconventional finger food, made the event a success.
During the plenary sessions, three cases were presented. The first was an entrepreneurial case, Dadtco, whose aim is to initiate a cassava revolution across Africa with mobile processing units. The second case was that of an investor, Aqua Spark, investing in aquaculture. The final case presented was also an entrepreneurial one, Verbos Business Development, which is working on a business model to re-use the wastage of cities for soil fertility.
The discussions in four roundtable sessions shed light on the constraints that social entrepreneurs face, but also on how to deal with them, including the opportunities and solutions there are to improve the impact of social entrepreneurship. Discussions addressed how to add value to local communities by working on local processing methods, and explored the potential of setting up special funding for SMEs and social entrepreneurs. Key questions addressed were how research and partnership programmes can be more inclusive for social entrepreneurs, and how universities and social entrepreneurs can work better together. Participants stressed the importance of being involved in local networks and of a proactive role of Dutch embassies.
Conclusions and follow-up
The F&BKP co-organized this meeting with the aim to explore the different knowledge questions of social entrepreneurs and impact investors, and to explore how this group of entrepreneurs and investors can be included in further activities of the Platform.
With the outcome of this meeting the F&BKP in cooperation with the Centre for Entrepreneurship will now explore further how the questions raised in this meeting can be the topic of follow-up sessions, research, as well as how they can be integrated with other knowledge trajectories in which the F&BKP is engaged.