Beijing: everyone a (social) entrepreneur?

So the SSE blog is on tour at present in China. Having acclimatised a bit to Beijing (first lesson: ‘lane discipline’ doesn’t translate; second lesson: the green man doesn’t necessarily mean you are safe to walk), I met up with the good people at the Fuping Development Institute (currently in Chinese only: English version coming soon). Big thanks to Jaff and Hu for finding me in a taxi by a bridge looking lost, and for a good chat about what they do at FDI. Looking at their work with migrant workers, grassroots NGOs and environmental leadership (to name but three projects) is enough to induce a healthy batch of humility and not a little wonder. To achieve all this in a country moving so fast, which is raising so many problems and challenges…and to do it retaining a sense of normalcy and humour; inspiring stuff.

Their work, and that of other local organisations they support, embodies the attitude of the social entrepreneur who sees an opportunity for change where others see a problem or obstacle. There’s also an amazing buzz and dynamism about the place, with hutongs full of small stores and cycles packed with fresh fruit and vegetables being pedalled (and peddled) along the way. Harnessing that entrepreneurial spirit and determination, and seizing the opportunities amidst the change could mean social entrepreneurship has a big part to play in the future here.

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