The Debate: Philanthropy vs Social Enterprise

Our CEO Danish Farhan was invited to host a panel last night for Acumen Fund–one of the world’s most innovative non-profit venture funds that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. Entitled ‘Social Entreprenuership & Philanthropy: Synergies for Change’ the panel at DIFC’s Capital Club examined the sharp contrast and collaborative potential between the two schools of thought, in their mission to address poverty. Provoking debate with regional examples, governmental barriers and global best-practices, Danish invited each panelist to weigh in, ending the panel with the collective desire to work in tandem and support both forms of giving, sustainably.

The Panelists

  1. Jacqueline Novogratz - founder of Acumen Fund
  2. Leena Al Olaimy - CEO of 3BL Associates
  3. Masood Razak - founder of
  4. Clare Woodcraft - CEO of Emirates Foundation

Panel Moderator Notes

  1. Are we witnessing the demise of philanthropy?
  2. The notion that ‘charity is bandaid, philanthropy the medicine, and social ventures the factory manufacturing them both’
  3. The global debate on whether 1) charity, 2) philanthropy and 3) social entrepreneurship are all just evolutionary steps of the exact same organism.
  4. Entrepreneurs creating social impact as a by-product versus philanthropic organizations evolving into entrepreneurial ventures for survival. Role reversal or just different viewpoints.
  5. The taboo of profitability in the the realm of caring, helping and giving.
  6. CSR as 90% marketing fluff and 10% real impact.
  7. The global practice of Zakat as a catalyst for successful philanthropy.
  8. ‘Microfinance’ as charity or social investment.
  9. Opportunity for collaborative capacity building and greater net impact
  10. Key challenges regionally for both philanthropy and social entrepreneurship.

Twitter Conversation

The local Twitterati were at hand to weigh in and report the proceeding and reactions from the ensuing panel discussion. A glimpse of the buzz last night can be seen below.

A quick thanks to the wonderful Dubai For Acumen team including Natasha D’Souza, Mahrukh Shaukat, and Sophia Ahmed for inviting us to be a part of the success story that is Acumen Fund. Follow the Dubai chapter on Twitter and keep up with more events and initiatives via their Facebook Page.

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