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Social Entrepreneurship: Tackling unemployment

Tuesday, November 18
To address unemployment in rural regions, people need to have access to start social enterprises and establish links with businesses, said Thomas Reynolds, Vice President of the Program, Partnerships, and Learning & Advocacy at CARE USA.

Reynolds focused that when they financially supported people who had a vision of a more equal society, they were investing in justice as much as the social entrepreneur’s business idea.

"The social enterprise is the key strategy being employed. I’ve lived in Georgia, travelled to every region in the country and reflected on rural poverty and its root causes. CARE Caucasus’ new model is responsive to the needs of rural communities and offers lessons for the rest of the world,” Reynolds said.

Meanwhile, senior director of Social Enterprises, CARE USA Francois Jung-Rezenfarb believed social investments were not traditional investments that looked for short term return.

"These are people that are really willing to support. We expect to have low returns but we are really excited not just about giving money but to invest in solutions and especially investing in entrepreneur of the country,” Jung-Rezenfarb said at the press conference.

Social enterprise ideas collected through specially trained "opportunity scouts”. CARE also allowed and encouraged direct submissions of initiatives through its website.

"The ideas are selected and filtered to reduce the risk of investments on the one hand and protect the needs and interest of people on the other,” said CARE International in the Caucasus director George Glonti.

CARE International in the Caucasus (CIC) has recently invested around $50,000 USD in three enterprises (supporting 13 entrepreneurs) with a clear-cut purpose of bringing social benefits to the wider communities in Georgia and Armenia.

In addition, CARE USA provided a funding match of $100,000 USD to support social entrepreneurs in agricultural cooperatives identified under the ENPARD Georgia program – an EU-funded European Neighbourhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development program. This was made possible as a result of a new business model of CIC, which promoted bottom-up initiatives to reduce poverty and social injustice across the region.