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Scotland, Social business and healthcare

In Scotland, there's a voluntary code for social enterprise which includes this interesting statememt:

"The aim of the code is to set a bench mark – that establishes clear blue water, between SE and particularly the private sector. This centres on the unequivocal affirmation of the defining characteristics – that SE’s don’t distribute dividends."

They ae rightly concerned that social enterprise is being eroded by reinterpretation.  As am I, because our founder died trying to leverage investment to help abused children and there's quite a distance between a code of practice and the pactitioner.

P-CED's free-to-use white paper had described such a model to the Committee to Re-Elect the (US) President

In 2004 when P-CED was introduced to the UK with a business plan to tackle poverty our founder was interviewed about the P-CED model and our work in Crimea by a diaspora leader who asked how we operated:

"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."

As founder Terry Hallman related the 1996 paper argued that business could operate entirely for spcial benefit, given a mandate to do so from its directors and stakeholders.  

From 2004 onwards P-CED's efforts returned to Ukraine and the welfare of children in institutional care became our primary focus. The 'Death Camps for Children' series of reports in which the outline of a strategy plan had been set out.


By February 2007, the 'Marshall Plan for Ukraine had been delivered to Ukraine's government then shared widely with the social enterprise community. It made the same argument for applying profit for social outcomes in the section which proposed a new faculty for social enterprise at Kharkiv National University:

' In order to understand the overwhelming critical need for social enterprise and a formal national center to facilitate social enterprise, an operational definition for social enterprise is essential.

'Enterprise is any organizational activity aimed at a specific output or outcome. Once the output or outcome – the primary objective – is clear, an organization operating to fulfill the objective is by definition an enterprise. Business is the most prominent example of enterprise. A business plan, or organizational map, provides a reference regarding how an organizational scheme will operate to produce a specific outcome: provision of products or services in a way to create profit. Profit in turn is measured numerically in terms of monetary gains, the “bottom line.”

This is the function of classic capitalism, which has proven to be the most powerful economic engine ever devised.

An inherent assumption about capitalism is that profit is defined only in terms of monetary gain. This assumption is virtually unquestioned in most of the world. However, it is not a valid assumption. Business enterprise, capitalism, must be measured in terms of monetary profit. That rule is not arguable. A business enterprise must make monetary profit, or it will merely cease to exist. That is an absolute requirement. But it does not follow that this must necessarily be the final bottom line and the sole aim of the enterprise. How this profit is used is another question. It is commonly assumed that profit will enrich enterprise owners and investors, which in turn gives them incentive to participate financially in the enterprise to start with.

That, however, is not the only possible outcome for use of profits. Profits can be directly applied to help resolve a broad range of social problems: poverty relief, improving childcare, seeding scientific research for nationwide economic advancement, improving communications infrastructure and accessibility, for examples – the target objectives of this particular project plan. The same financial discipline required of any conventional for-profit business can be applied to projects with the primary aim of improving socioeconomic conditions. Profitability provides money needed to be self-sustaining for the purpose of achieving social and economic objectives such as benefit of a nation’s poorest, neediest people. In which case, the enterprise is a social enterprise.

"In this case, for the project now being proposed, it is constructed precisely along these lines. Childcare reform as outlined above will pay for itself in reduced costs to the state. It will need investment for about five years in order to cover the cost of running two programs in parallel: the existing, extremely problematic state childcare scheme, and the new program needed to replace it for the purpose of giving children a decent life. The old program will be phased out as the new program is phased in. After this phase transition is complete, the state will from that time forward pay out less money for state childcare. Children will have a better life, and will be more likely to become healthy, productive assets to the nation rather than liabilities with diminished human development, diminished education, and the message that they are not important – the basis for serious trouble. There is no need whatsoever to give these children less than a good quality of life as they grow and mature. The only problem is reorganization of existing resources.  "

Interviewed by Axiom news in 2010, Terry Hallman described how a non dividend distributing social business could partner with an investor without compromisng its social emphasis; 

"Hallman is currently investigating the setup of a multi-million dollar fund offering split financial ROI if needed, that is, a portion to investor(s) and the remainder to P-CED.

The funds will be directed to concluding a project in the Ukraine which involves funding the training of residents to develop social businesses. Included in this work is supporting children who have disabilities, many of whom have been left to die in secretive locations. P-CED is helping to move these children to safety and give them access to modern healthcare."


By this time, the proposal had reached USAID and The British Council and had been submitted to the EU Citizens Consultation of 2008

It was in 2010 that a Social Business Tour in Budapest made me aware that Erste Bank, a Grameen Partner were soliticing social business  ideas.

In our brief exchange, they acknowledged that Grameen Creative Labs had also been approached

"As we are closely cooperating with Grameen Creative Lab currently on the so called Social Business Tour, and as I could understand from your mail you have already tried to be in contact with GCL, I think that we could potentially help you, if we would know what you want is your proposal?"

After they got it, our conversation ended.


Later in 2010, I was alerted by a fellow traveller in social enterprise. a practitioner rather than an academic, that the British Council were launching a social enterprise initiative in Ukraine. It beggared belief to find USAID and Erste among  their partners .

Whereas our approach was based on bottom up in collaboration with loca civic and humen rights leaders, theirs was a partnership with big business including UkraInes oligarchs, one of whom was a reputed mob boss.  It wasn't going to work, not in a million years,  As we saw, Ukraine descended into uprisings and a military conflict with a few short years.

In 2010, A faculity for social business and healthcare was opened at Glasgow Caledonian with the help of Grameen Creative Labs, 

Interestingly when I've attempted tp engage with people at Glasgow Caledonian they've been incredibly reluctant. One would inagine that id they wanted social enterprise to flourish they or indeec Grameen would welcome another centre of excellence in the world. Was I getting the 'under our banner only' palm off?


One thing that Scotland hasn't coopted into their definition of social enterprise is our 'fundamental predicate' that no human life is of less value or to be consifer disposable. It may sound like a moot point under our democracy but far from the case in Eastern Europe.  When our founder lost the battle for his own health in 2011, Local activists published part of his 2008 letter to USAID and others in US government quoting him in the title - "Whether these kids live or die is of little, if any, interest to Mafia'

Perhaps therein lies the problem. Social Business won't go where there is risk of confrontation, even though one of its prominent academics blogs under the banner of 'Though Coward Shrink'

It's a matter of moral courage to speak up when those who are vulnerable are caused harmed to, it's something even enshrined in Ukraine's writtent constitution yet social business shirks, presumably because doing otherwise it too uncomfortable for corporate partnership. How can we begon tackle child abuse and neglect if those who might be alongdside us in the trenches turn a wilful blind eye, As MLK put it, our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter


That's the name of a recent report fron The British Council describing how social enterprise and social business trading for gpod can impact the world.

I'm not surprised there's no reference to Ukraine where we put it like this 8 years ago:

"This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for "people-centered" economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority – as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine's poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a "top-down" approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first -- not secondarily, along the way or by the way.

From there, broad economic and social development can develop "upwards" concurrently with more conventional top-down approaches to economic development. Moreover, this program will not only meet initial, most critical and urgent objectives of childcare reform and poverty relief in Ukraine, it will also provide training for ever-growing numbers of specialists educated in social enterprise economic thinking with sufficient funding to put ever more well-designed projects into action as Ukrainian citizens invent them.

Due to Kharkiv National University’s international student body, education and training will be further distributed throughout the world. This is a program for the common good in Ukraine, with common ground among all political factions regardless of what differences exist otherwise. It will benefit not only Ukraine’s poorest and most vulnerable people, but also Ukraine’s overall economic development and advancement. It will further benefit the developing world as international students train in Ukraine and return for benefit of their home country.

Ukraine now stands on the brink of remarkable opportunity to emerge as an international leader in political, economic and social transformation. Nothing more than real, honest opportunity to fulfill this potential, by ordinary Ukrainian citizens, is needed for that potential to manifest and become reality. The original Marshall Plan greatly assisted Europe. Ukraine’s time has come. "


Some years ago when I lived in London, a local police sergeant cane to investingate a failed ason attempt on my next door neighbour passing the comment "I wouldn't want to live around here". Another neighbour pointed out that as a policeman, what he ought to have been saying was "If I lived around here, this kind of thing wouldn't be happening"

It had been much the same experience with the social enterprise support community, to whom social business in Ukraine had been "beyond our focus" in 2006.  I'd be told after our founder's death that "there's a lot of criiticism online about your work in Ukraine'.

There's no doubt about that, we were challenging the vested interests which profit from the misery of orphaned and dissbled children  As we told USAID, another of the Britiish Council partners 

"Although the PN reality is perhaps the absolute worst part of all things in Ukraine stemming from RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations -- ed.], it is far from the only part in the same vein. There is also the much more visible matter of kids in “regular” orphanages and kids living on the streets and in sewers. Orphanages have been another money-maker via selling “top” kids to foreign adoptions. Kids with lesser market value (over seven years old and/or serious health issues) were shunted to lesser quality, out-of-the-way orphanages. Kids with no market value were tossed aside completely, i.e., PN facilities a.k.a. Death Camps, for Children."

In the comfortable world of university faculties, conferences and papers about what should be done by others, they must have been wetting themselves.

From Martin Davidson of The British Council we learned that we'd been excluded as Ukraine partners because there was a "financial contribution" expected/  

This was neither declared in their public solicitations, nor asked for on our application . One wonders just how nuch was expected   

What we did contribute, now serves their neoliberal agenda, rather than those in greatest need.