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Social Enterprises and Disability: Promoting Inclusion, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in ASEAN

Nicola Crosta, Allison Sanders, Giulia Ajmone Marsan, and Lina Maulidina Sabrina



This policy brief highlights the role of social enterprises in promoting social impact and inclusion for people with disabilities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. It explains how the disproportionate number of people with disabilities are still lagging behind in society and how social enterprises can foster innovation for promoting disability inclusion and rights. Despite the benefits that social enterprises offer, some existing challenges remain to expand their social and economic mission. This calls for a framework of action involving multiple stakeholders. This policy brief is based on the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia research project report, ‘Social Enterprises and Disability: Fostering Innovation, Awareness, and Social Impact in the ASEAN Region’.


Download the report here :


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Key Messages:


• It is estimated that one in every six people live with a disability in Asia and the Pacific. Boosting their economic inclusion represents a significant social and economic opportunity.


• Social enterprises are businesses focusing on social benefits in addition to financial benefits. They are a recent and growing phenomenon across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


• Social enterprises have emerged as key actors to develop innovative solutions to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities.


• Most of these social enterprises are led by young social entrepreneurs, many of whom are persons with disabilities themselves.


• Public–private partnerships and collaborations amongst key stakeholders (policymakers, social enterprises, corporates, investors, non-governmental organizations, and philanthropies, etc.) are crucial for fostering the economic inclusion of people with disabilities.

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