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The Korea Productivity Center and APO Secretariat organized a three-day workshop on Innovation Ecosystems and Social Entrepreneurship, 27–29 March 2023. The workshop was attended by 28 participants from 11 APO members, including government officials, policymakers, private business and SME leaders, NPO personnel, productivity practitioners, and consultants from the public and private sectors. It was facilitated by four resource persons, two from the ROK, one from Malaysia, and one from New Zealand, who helped participants explore innovation ecosystems and understand their role in developing practical solutions to complex social problems.
The online workshop focused on the development of an innovative ecosystem to encourage social entrepreneurship, which can turn obstacles into innovative ideas for business creation and community development, and subsequently scale up productive, sustainable practices. The workshop was a step toward achieving the APO Vision 2025 of more inclusive, innovation-led productivity growth through business dynamism and innovation ability, and social entrepreneurship is seen as a driving force behind this growth.
The resource persons provided an overview of the definition of innovation ecosystems and social entrepreneurship and shared insights into designing sustainable social businesses. They also discussed the nuances of starting, managing, and scaling up innovative businesses and the nitty-gritty of financing social entrepreneurship. The participants learned about strategies and policy programs for encouraging innovation in the social sector, and how markets, policies, culture, finance, and infrastructure are crucial elements of an innovation ecosystem. The workshop also highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts to resolve complex social and environmental problems. The development of a well-functioning innovation ecosystem, which includes people, knowledge, networks, role models, and mentoring, is essential for driving entrepreneurship and business creation. The innovators who develop new ideas and transform them into value-adding goods and services are one of the most vital elements of innovation ecosystems.