Support for social enterprises
Moscow 14 May 2014
Tripartite agreement signed in Moscow concerning co-operation in the field of support for and development of civil society
Lukoil (a company) Our Future (a fund for regional social programmes) and Panasonic Marketing (a company) have signed a co-operation agreement. The parties intend to identify and support domestic social enterprises and entrepreneurs; and develop relevant innovational initiatives and educational programmes.
The agreement is designed to combine efforts in support of social entrepeneurship in Russia. The basic task will be to popularise and promote social entrepreneurship as an institution capable of facilitating the resolution of severe social problems paving the way to positive social change. The agreement envisages the parties taking active steps to support social entrepreneurship in Russia by providing know how and infrastructure. Each of them will contribute to the organisation and conduct of thematic forums, conferences, seminars and webinars for representatives of socially oriented businesses and others who are actively committed to the approach described.
Lukoil actively exploits innovational technological solutions and from that point of view, according to Anatoly Moskalenko vice-president for personnel and organisational development, working with Panasonic is very important. He stressed that today innovation is one of the most significant elements of social entrepreneurship and that co-operative working in that regard opened up highly significant prospects.
The president of Panasonic Marketing, Sigeo Suzuki observed that his company particulary appreciated participating in socially oriented projects in Russia because of having an interest in such businesses and start ups. He said that Panasonic had taken a socially active stance from the outset (i.e. from before the second world war). It was in the company’s DNA.
Natalya Zvereva, director of Our Future, thought that the agreement opened up great prospects for the popularisation and advancement of social entrepreneurship in Russia. It was important that big business and international companies should make a commitment and be proactive.
Our Future has been developing social entrepreneurship in Russia since 2007. The fund supports projects in the field by providing interest free, earmarked loans. It also provides social entrepreneurs with consultancy support and information, and develops educational programmes and legislative initiatives. In 2013 a pilot project was launched concerned with selling goods produced by social entrepreneurs under the slogan, “More than Buying!”. As part of the project, special promotional advertisements have appeared at Lukoil’s petrol stations for such goods as Ekoklaster dairy products, soft toys from Vesely Voilok (this project provides employment for mothers of large families in Rybinsk) felt boots, transformer pillows, felt bags, tablecloths, towels from the Chernigov workshop (a revival of a Russian tradition) and souvenirs carrying the slogan ‘Helping is Easy’. 30% of the sale proceeds goes on treatment for children and adults suffering from cancer and on wares from actor Nelly Uvarova’s project ‘Naive?-Very!’ produced by people with particular mental development issues who are undergoing training in professional colleges. The fund also holds competitions for the Impulse to Kindness prize for investment in the development and advancement of social entrepreneurship. In the competition of 2014 applications for one of 9 possible nominations came from 40 Russian regions. The majority of the applications were for the Private Investment in the Development of Social Entrepeneurship category. Next popular was the Best Youth Project, introduced for the first time this year. The names of the winners will be revealed on 1 May.