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Accidently, On Purpose - blowing out candles

It was a tweet that drew my attention this morning from On Purpose

"International social innovation goings on from our friends . Great to raise sights beyond the UK! "

Like so much that comes from the maketing and PR world, this throwaway line aims to create the impression that they're laying new ground.

As a UK social enterprise uperating since 2004, in Ukraine, that didn't go down too well. given the loss of our founders life "in the trenches", so to speak.

But first on the subject of purpose. It was back in 1996, with a seminal paper which began.

At first glance, it might seem redundant to emphasize people as the central focus of economics. After all, isn't the purpose of economics, as well as business, people? Aren't people automatically the central focus of business and economic activities? Yes and no.

People certainly gain and benefit, but the rub is: which people? More than a billion children, women, and men on this planet suffer from hunger. It is a travesty that this is the case, a blight upon us all as a global social group. Perhaps an even greater travesty is that it does not have to be this way; the problems of human suffering on such a massive scale are not unsolvable. If a few businesses were conducted only slightly differently, much of the misery and suffering as we now know it could be eliminated. This is where the concept of a "people-centered" economics system comes in.

This Profit-For-Purpose business model as we refer to it, was introduced to the social enterprise community in 2004.,At the time our founder was interviewed about his work in Crimea. That's the same Crimea ccupied by Russia last year. The interview opens with some prescient comments about the Budapest agreement, going on to describe the business model we'd deployed to source a community bank in Russia

"The P-CED model is not a charity sort of operation. It is business. What we choose to do with profits is entirely up to us, and we choose before anything else happens to set most of our profits aside to assist poor people. In fact, our corporate charter requires us by law - UK law, where rule of law is very well established - to use our profits only for social benefit. We cannot do anything else with it.."

On Purpose would appear to be derivative

The major thrust of our efforts, now as a UK registered social enterprise, took us back to Ukraine in October 2004, where we literally 'walked in' on the Orange Revolution

It was through our founders activism on 'Death Camps, For Children'  that Ukraine's goverment.agreed to creation of 400+ rehab centres for disabled children. This was ackmowledged with the online publication of Microeconomic Development and Social Enterprise in Ukraine, in August 2007. It called for US assistance to develop a social investment fund of 1.5 billion dollars. This was the 'Marshall Plan' for Ukraine.

As On Purpose, illustrates by example there were many attempts tp deny us. Not least the organised crime which created profit fron the misery of children in state care. Standing against us, as things would turn out would be USAID and the British Council who wanted their own brand on these efforts.

What they didn't want was to tackle the issue of children who'd become a profit making activity for organised crime.   

The existence of those we spoke up for had also been denied by a culture of being coopted into silence about things that matter.. 

Application to the British Council in 2010, to become partners, included links to the published proposal for a social enterprise fevelopment centre at Kharkiv National University  When challenged in 2013 about their hijack. Martin Davidson had told my MP that they "hadn't nicked our work".

Davidson also made an interesting remark about British Council partners being required to make a financial contribution. I can't find it on any of their solicitations, but it does explain how DTEK, a corporation owned by their most notorious oligarch got on board. A man well known by Lord Mandelson, who was behind the EU partnership that provoked an uprising last year and now civil war. Mandelson who was also Business Secretary under the Labour government, had pledged to help firms who help others at the 2009 social enterprise  His greater interest seems to be helping those who help themselves, however.

Ukraine; Where social enterprise isn't  

Out in the trenches, there weren't any marketeers when we wrote tp USAID in 2008:

"We are grossly underfunded in favor of missiles, bombs, and ordnance, which is about 100% backwards. Now, with even the US Pentagon stating that they’ve learned their lesson in Iraq and realize (so says top US general in Iraq ten days or so ago) that winning hearts and minds is the best option, I and others shall continue to think positive and look for aid budgets and funding spigots to be opened much more for people and NGOs in silos, foxholes and trenches, insisting on better than ordnance, and who understand things and how to fix them. We can do that. We can even do it cost-effectively and with far better efficiency than the ordnance route. Welcome to our brave new world. Except it’s not so new: learn to love and respect each other first, especially the weakest, most defenseless, most voiceless among us, then figure out the rest. There aren’t other more important things to do first. This message has been around for at least two thousand years. How difficult is it for us to understand?"

We didn't get it, we got a war instead and now the usual suspects want to re-invent our 'Marshall Plan' I asked where can social enterprise go for support? Certainly not the self serving social enterprise community.  

It's been said that blowing our someone else's candle doesn't make your burn brighter. 

So what the point of all this denial of other's work? It doesn't exactly align with the concept of a social economy, if indeed there is such a thing