London: Thomson Reuters Foundation’s second Global survey was conducted where Canada was named the best country for business leaders seeking to tackle social problems in a global poll on Tuesday while the United States fell from top slot due to political uncertainty. Australia came second in the race and France came third.
Mexico came last, but the United Nations was the loser plunging to 32nd place from Number 1, with the poll of about 900 social enterprise experts pointing to difficulties with government policy and access to investment.
The head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Mr. Francois Bonnici said over the past three years there had been “some amazing gains and some ongoing challenges” for social entrepreneurs addressing issues from climate change to refugees.
“Governments are recognizing that to meet their own agendas this is a group of citizens and entrepreneurs that actually want to improve society and the environment,”- said Bonnici.
Business entrepreneurs globally are increasingly setting their sights on social problems with ventures that can be a commercial success while addressing problems like unemployment, homelessness, mental health, knife crime and even loneliness.
But with little data on which nations were encouraging the sector, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, in partnership with Deutsche Bank, began a poll in 2016 which was repeated in 2019. Social entrepreneurs, academics, investors and support agencies in the world’s 45 biggest economies, as ranked by the World Bank, were asked their views. Iran and Saudi Arabia were dropped in 2019 as it was impossible to get the right sample.
The 2019 poll found most experts, 82%, said social entrepreneurship was gaining momentum in their countries – although this was down three percentage points from 2016. Canada, Indonesia and South Africa were named as the top countries where social entrepreneurship was gaining momentum, while Mexico, the United States and China saw the biggest falls.
Despite this, more than half of respondents – 54% – said the public still did not understand what they did which was not helped by the lack of a global definition of social enterprise. Italians were most aware of their work and Poles the least.
The rising interest of young people – under the age of 25 – was a new finding, with three in four experts saying more young people were interested in working in social enterprises.
Canada was named as the top country where young people were playing a leading role as social entrepreneurs, followed by Germany and France, as well as the top place for women leaders.