Conservative Leader Speaks at Social Enterprise Summit: Voice09

Today was the launch of Voice09, the annual UK social enterprise conference sponsored by the Social Enterprise Coalition. The keynote speaker for the event: Conservative Party leader David Cameron.

BBC News has a rundown of Cameron's speech, which focused on modernizing the government's job training system and restoring faith in free enterprise.

However, what's most significant about Cameron's keynote is that it took place at all. In the United States, the social enterprise movement skews decidedly left, as if the only people who believe in blending business and social benefit are hippies who want to sell carbon-free vegan granola.

This diverts us from what could be one of the movement's greatest contributions: providing an operative framework for post-partisan social change. Study history carefully and you'll find conservative thought leaders espousing many of the ideas often treated as the hallmarks of the progressive ideal. Replacing grants with earned income, ending poverty through sustainable business as opposed to handouts, strengthening the accountability of social investments, replacing bureaucratic control with a culture of entrepreneurial innovation--rather than ignoring or dismissing such rhetoric when it comes from the likes of Reagan, Gingrich or the leader of an evangelical megachurch, social entrepreneurs can increase their influence by crossing the political divide.