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December, 2012

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Social Economy for Poor Communities – Asian Experience

Social enterprises play a vital role in addressing social and environmental challenges in developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.

With a significant number of people living in extreme poverty in Asia and the Pacific, social enterprises, i.e., organizations that pursue social goals through commercial strategies, serve as a vital link to narrow the gap in the region’s income disparity.

…Social enterprises harness the power of the market to tackle social and environmental problems in a sustainable, scalable fashion. They may be set up as a nongovernment organization (NGO) or a small business, but they operate like a business rather than a charity while pursuing their socially oriented mission… (Bart W. Édes, Director of ADB’s Poverty Reduction, Gender and Social Development Division).

Asian Development Bank (ADB) supports sustainable and scalable models that combine private sector impact with the goals that are traditionally associated more with operational NGOs.

Impact on Asian poverty

Success stories involving social enterprises abound in Asia and the Pacific. For example, in Cambodia, thanks to Sahakreas Cedac Ltd., five thousand farmer families learned technologies to improve their rice production and build their cooperatives, providing them with links to markets where they can sell their produce. As a result, they are starting to earn higher income and can now afford to send more children to school.

Such stories were shared in the first annual regional Impact Forum held in Singapore in June 2012. The Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX), also a social enterprise, organized the forum, while ADB supported some sessions to highlight outputs of an ongoing study on the creation of a platform to connect social enterprises with impact investors to benefit poor communities.

Ideas meeting investments

The power of social capital markets lies not only in having great ideas but the ability for the ideas to meet investments. The Impact Forum presents the platform in which innovators can meet with investors who are inspired by the social enterprises’ vision and bring this vision to a larger scale,” said Professor Durreen Shahnaz, founder of IIX and Shujog, a Singapore-based, nonprofit sister organization of IIX that helps social enterprises around Asia to improve their organizational and fiscal accountability and enhance their governance in order to improve their attractiveness to potential investors.

Harnessing the power of the markets, ADB continues to collaborate with partners to strengthen the promotion of social entrepreneurship and impact investing for the benefit of the region’s poor.

Source - adb.org

The project “Free Debut”

The project “Free Debut”

The Russia’s only operating theater in which the actors are released prisoners.


Project “Free Debut”

Project “Return” 

The project team:

It consists of 4 highly professional and creative people:

1) Manager – Arkadiy Baranovskiy

2) Assistant Psychologist – Alex Kushnir

3) The director – Anastasia Yablokova

4) Coordinator, columnist – Irakli Bezhashvili


This project was born in the late 2010 as a part of the project of rehabilitation of released prisoners-Jews «Return». Initially, the project was conceived as a «workshop» where in the spec. training groups participants gain lost during the «imprisonment» social communication skills for future successful integration into the family and society. During six months of training the workshop formed a group of our permanent wards of 10-15 people. This workshop led them to decide to try themselves as professional actors. And this was a completely unique theatre for our country «Free debut».

The theatre gave a premiere musical composition «From letter to letter» six times, including the theater directed by Mark Rozovsky «Nikitsky’s Gate», at WW II memorial complex (Poklonnaya Hill) at Moscow House of Public Organizations, at Jewish Cultural Center in B. Nikitskaya and other places.

Competing organizations:

This project is unique (in Russia and Eastern Europe), so the organization has no competitors.

The main purpose:

We want (and we have all the abilities) to create a full repertoire of performances, which let the theater reach the financial sustainability and to tour around the country, participating in various art festivals and competitions.

Social focus of the project (mentioned in the media):

1) The «PROnas» (TV «The first channel») – The projects «Return» and the theater «Free debut»

2) The program «PrimeTime» (TV «Russia Today») – Theatre for ex-cons offers chance of return to life

3)  «The Moscow’s News» –  Photo session «From the prison on to the scene»

Business plan:

1) The vision of the project for within the next seven years (in Russian)

2) The model of social business (in Russian)

3) The business plan, budget, risks (in Russian)

Additional Information:

1) The presentation album – project “Return”

2) The presentation video with English subtitles – project “Return”

3) Recommendations and letters of honor can be reached – here 


Potential of media capacity of the project:

Very high, with appropriate capital investment project has the potential to get international recognition.

The ratio of the budget, and social impact of the project (from «0» to «10» degrees):

The highest degree (10).

Financial Statements:

The organization has financial reports, starting from the end of 2008. All reports are available here

Strong sides of the project:

The organization has very high level of professionalism, creativity and «mobility» of the project.

Weak sides of the project:

The organization has not own space for rehearsals and performances.

The main challenge to date:

To date, the main challenge –is  to save this unique project and for the opportunity to develop and transform the studio into a «full-enterprise» theater with all the necessary attributes: his own space, professional stage, sets, costumes, equipment, repertoire, and most importantly – the ability to conduct regular public performances, including for a fees.


1) Long-term loans at low interest rates to achieve financial sustainability.

2) Investments on the following conditions (as agreed between the parties):

- Acquisition of a share in the future profits of the theater;

- Advertising in the place of performance, at official meetings, media news etc.

3) Charitable donations.


To implement the business model as organization that should register a commercial company or should have appropriate commercial partner-organizer.

Contact information:

1) +7-964-500-64-86 (Arkady)

2) +7-903-716-26-56 (Alex)