Forefront's Eric Weinheimer Presents at Conference on Social Enterprise in Moldova

Monday, November 21, 2016

I was recently invited by the East European Foundation and the US State Dept. to share my experiences and understanding about social enterprise at the National Conference on Social Enterprise in the country of Moldova. Like a number of former Soviet countries, Moldova is struggling with high unemployment, weak infrastructure, rampant corruption and the migration of talented workers to the West. 

The attendance at the 3-day conference in 3 different cities ranged from 125 people in the capital city of Chisinau to 20 people in the southern city of Cahul. But despite relatively few attendees, the energy and interest at all of the gatherings were very strong and, quite frankly , inspiring. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and determination of the fledgling social enterprise community in this tiny country of 3 million people. Social entrepreneurs, NGOs, foundations, Peace Corp volunteers and others were organizing themselves as one cohesive community. They are a small, but mighty band, hungry for information, committed to an exciting vision, and willing to do the slow, sometimes tedious work of becoming a powerful force.

In the current climate of increasing divisiveness across the globe, I was delighted to witness another living example of Margaret Mead's sage advice:  "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."

I plan to return to Moldova in the Spring to help them develop a draft action plan and continue to build their social enterprise ecosystem.  I am looking very forward to working with and learning from these inspiring pioneers.  

Eric Weinheimer, President + CEO, Forefront