PKB was interviewed by UDN TV from Taiwan as a part of a story exploring the success and growth of social enterprises in the UK. We were chosen as a successful social enterprise by the CEO of UnLtd, whose vision and support has been extremely beneficial to the growth of the company. Speaking of our own CEO, Dr. Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, Cliff Prior said:
He had lived since the age of ten with a long term medical condition, which meant going from one clinic to another clinic to another clinic. He invented this because of the problem he has solved. It is now going international. It’s a major export project. It will probably become the world’s standard for personal healthcare information.
With UnLtd Foundation for Entrepreneurs as the world’s largest social enterprise platform, Taiwan as well as 9 other countries are using it as a model to build their own social enterprise sectors.
The full English translation and transcript are below.
When our team came to interview Barriere, an important scholar in the field of social entrepreneurship in Cambridge, UK, he was hosting a seminar with a group of young entrepreneurs from Mainland China. This group and many like them have visited this country in recent years to learn how social enterprises have flourished.
Of the many factors, one is the support of the government. Besides tailoring laws for firms, the government has provided funds, tax breaks, and supported training institutions that facilitates entrepreneurship such as UnLtd Foundation for Entrepreneurs, the world’s biggest platform for entrepreneurs. Next, let us take you to visit a company called Patients Know Best, founded by a British doctor Al-Ubaydli, to understand the key to the success of British firms.
The gentlemen in a black suit, who is opening the webpage and projecting it to the TV, is the founder of Patients Know Best, Al-Ubaydli.
“The information about the patient is owned by the patient. So nobody can see the information until the patient can see the information. Then, when we show the information, we explain it to the patient and we also allow the patient to consult with all their doctors and nurses to get further support.”
Al-Ubaydli is taking out his smartphone and explaining that the Patients Know Best system enables us to download medical records to cell phones. The records are encrypted such that patient privacy is protected. Patients can also share their medical records to a doctor, nurse, or family member, which makes it convenient for patients to discuss with doctors or nurses when they get transferred to another hospital. This feature also saves patients from the pain of repeating medical examinations. Al-Ubaydli is not only a doctor but also a programmer. He has developed this app due to his personal experience.
The CEO of UnLtd, Prior explains,
“He had lived since the age of ten with a long term medical condition, which meant going from one clinic to another clinic to another clinic. He invented this because of the problem he has solved. It is now going international. It’s a major export project. It will probably become the world’s standard for personal healthcare information.”
Prior, who has helped 20,000 entrepreneurs start up their own businesses, applauds Al-Ubaydli as one of the most impressive social entrepreneurs. UnLtd awarded him a prize of £5,000 three months into the launch of his business.
“[T]he £5,000 was very small relative to the amount of capital, less than 1%, but the signal was so important – that this work is very important.”
This belief and support enabled Al-Ubaydli to overcome many difficulties. Now, there are 30 British hospitals and 9 countries that have adopted this system. Al-Ubaydli says that UnLtd provided help at various stages including advising, funding partnerships, and providing media exposure, all of which have been extremely beneficial to his company. However, a success story such as this was not expected to come out of a training institution like UnLtd.
“The biggest challenge has been awareness and belief. And now 12 years on, this is public knowledge and it’s started to become a mainstream part of the culture.”
Decades ago when most people didn’t know what social enterprises were, UnLtd awarded prizes to young people with only ideas and no plans. Fortunately, they were funded by UK Lotto Fund in 2000 so that they could constantly test the market and hire excellent social entrepreneurs, who are determined to change the world. With more and more success stories like Patients Know Best, the UnLtd pattern has been gradually recognized. Now they are working on a “Social Influence” investment plan with eight of the greatest industrialized countries. Their system has been introduced in more than 10 countries all over the world, including Taiwan.
A member of Social Enterprise Insights says,
“What distinguishes us from the UK is that we have used big data in iLab.Through iLab, we have learned the difficulties that one faces in the startup experience.”
Prior further explains,
“We offer our model to be adopted but we encourage it to be adapted. Every country has a different set of circumstances and it is in those adaptations that new innovations come out. “
Prior encourages young people in Taiwan to make bold attempts and take action, which has been their success story. Entrepreneurship has become a well-known field of study. One in five entrepreneurs in the UK hopes to start up a social enterprise. The proportion of young people who would like to set up a social enterprise is as high as one out of four and the government’s support is key to this change. In 2012, with funds from inactive depositors and the Big Four Banks, £600 million (more than 30 billion Taiwanese dollars), established the Big Social Capital (BSC).
O’Donoghue, CEO of BSC, explains,
“First of all, our function is to champion social investment; so to encourage more people, more institutions, more individuals to use more of their savings and investment portfolios in social investments rather than normal commercial investments. Our second function is to invest our capital; to use the money that we’ve received to invest principally through intermediary organizations into frontline charities and social enterprises.”
BSC is the first social enterprise investment bank in the world. The CEO, O’Donoghue, says that many social enterprises have not been invested yet. But the UK government’s investment in social enterprises have long since exhibited its effect.
With a modern feature drawn with the simple line, this green building located in the north of Cambridge is a training institution and the future center of enterprises. The sun shines through the skylight and scatters its rays throughout the atrium. New entrepreneurs at their start-up stage can not only enjoy this sunshine but also the desks, chairs, and wifi. The large and small meeting rooms can hold lectures and business meetings.
“Future Business Center provided me originally with a mentor and a coach. He helped me think through what my options were. I arrived at Future Business as an investor with no idea quite what I wanted to do.”
Bettifer started up a training enterprise. Other companies doing gene research, 3D printing, and businesses related to clean energy are fulfilling their dreams here.
“The Future Business Center is very much about supporting people with great ideas, and those individuals [plan to] make a great impact on society whether it be through a social business or environmental business.”
Other than the European Regional Development fund, the future funding source for the enterprise center also includes the UK government such as the Cambridge municipal government and social enterprise Allia, which are supported by a subsidiary of UK Lotto Fund, SIF. Furthermore, the Judge Business School of Cambridge University will provide educational resources. The UK social enterprises have made their impacts in fields of environmental protection, clean energy and medical care. Entrepreneurs and investors have gradually changed their attitudes.
Barriere tells us,
“The new generation of wealthy people seem to want to know that the money they invested in many cases is not only invested to make financial return but they want to know it is also doing some good.”
Barriere points out that since April 2014, angel investors, who have invested in start-up social enterprises, can receive a 30% tax exemption at most. There are also mechanisms through which investors who lose money would get back 40% of their investments. Such tax reductions plus support from UnLtd and Big Society Capital set up an ideal environment for UK’s development, helping social enterprises flourish and deliver a more lively and socially caring United Kingdom.