SPD Public Seminar: “Social Entrepreneurship Tackling Grand Challenges in our Food System”

On 5 May 2021, Dr Bob Doherty from the University of York in the UK gave a public seminar, enjoyed by 64 participants, a mixture of social entrepreneurs, organizational leaders in social innovation, academics and students from Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and the UK.

Dr Doherty is the co-founder of the hugely successful Fair Trade Social Enterprise “Divine Chocolate”, Professor in Marketing at the University of York in the UK and an advisor to the UK government (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA).

Recently Dr Doherty was successful in gaining funding of £6m from the UK government for research on “Transformations to regenerative food systems” and will be leading a consortia of 6 top UK universities in rolling this out over a period of 5 years. Dr Doherty has also been involved in many research collaborations with Thailand, especially with Thammasat University, holds a Bualuang Chair Professorship at Thammasat and brings a wealth of experience in social innovation and social enterprise.

Participants were treated to a full and fascinating presentation on how social enterprise and social innovation are playing a key role in changing and developing our food systems, with colourful and engaging examples provided of Divine Chocolate in the UK and Akha Ama Coffee in Thailand, to name just a few.

Dr Doherty’s talk covered the main challenges of power imbalances, capacity building, access to credit and markets, gender equity and livelihoods, how to create business models that deliver more inclusive approaches and the process of social innovation involving co-production, collaboration, empowerment, changing structures and processes, in addition to changes in power relations.

Dr Doherty left us with the inspiring message of the importance of seeing these grand challenges as an opportunity.

This lecture is one of a series of webinars which we are holding throughout the year, bringing in experts in the field of social innovation, social development and social policy, to share their knowledge with us and to take our questions. We are looking forward to seeing you at our next SPD webinar!

Check out the recording of the public seminar here

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