【Philanthropy Forum】Social Enterprise and Innovation

Learning and Efforts Along the Da’an River -12 Years of Organizational Growth

The DDU, in collaboration with the Center of Civil society and Local Governance of National Chengchi University, invited Mr Jay Hung, the CEO of Zhi-Shan Foundation (ZSF) to deliver a speech titled “Learning and Efforts Along the Da’an River -12 Years of Organizational Growth” at the National Chengchi University on the afternoon of November 22, 2011.

The speaker first described the project in Taichung. In 1999, The ZSF initiated a project for reconstruction of 921 earthquake affected areas, 6 Atayal tribes along Da’an River in Heping, Taichung. In 2001, the “Da-an River Valley Reconstruction Center” was founded with a three-year grant from the Taichung County government. Due to the grand ended in 2004, the Center was renamed as “Da-an River Villages Work Station” fully supported and operated by ZSF. In 2006, the Taiwan Indigenous Dmavun Development Association (TIDDA), a grass-root NGO organized by local residents and heavily supported by the ZSF, was founded. In 2008, the Da-an River Villages Work Station was officially handed over to the TIDDA. Nowadays, the TIDDA provides services covering local caring, after-school learning support, and vocational training. In addition, the TIDDA is shifting towards a social enterprise by means of selling local agricultural production and handicrafts.

In the end, Mr Hung outlined four key beliefs that underpinned ZSF’s service to aboriginal communities in the case of TIDDA: First, respecting tradition while looking forward. Second, community empowerment. Third, self-subsistent and self-sufficient. Fourth, from service-providing toward community development. In addition, Mr Hung highlighted the reasons for the success of TIDDA: localising staff, diversifying income, strengthening management capacity, and expanding services.


Social Enterprise and New Entrepreneurial Opportunities

This speech was given by Dr. Hsu Hung Huang, the chairman of SUNNET and deputy director of CSR & SD Research Center of Tsinghua University (Beijing).

Beginning with a discussion of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Dr. Huang explored the concepts of government failure, market failure, and the rationale behind capitalism. By reviewing key statistics, Dr. Huang then highlighted that the economic and social significance of the Third Sector in the United States and some major predicaments faced by Taiwan’s NGOs.

After that, Dr. Huang defined social enterprise as “a company aims to solve social problems using business methods”. Illustrated with case studies from around the world, he pinpointed that innovation is the core business competency, although social wnterprise varies from country to country. Utilizing the concept “monopolistic competition vs. altruistic economy”, Dr. Huang explored that Web 2.0 trends and characteristics leading the collaborative business model stand for an exciting opportunity to “online social enterprise”. Dr. Huang further outlined his research with reference to two key features of “online social enterprise”. One is information capital. The other is community impact.

Dr. Huang also briefly explained how an enterprises use idle or surplus assets to improve their performance by introducing new information and communication technology. Then, he concluded that the revolution of information and communication technology leads new paradigm not only for commercial business, but social enterprise as well. In the end, Dr. Huang remarked repeadly that only innovation is the crux of entrepreneur.