Calvert Forum, a St Petersburg-based think tank championing creative industries in the new east, is hosting its first international conference dedicated to social entrepreneurship today.
The event has gathered innovative grass-root projects from across Russia alongside leading academics and entrepreneurs to debate the future of social enterprise in the face of political and economic challenges.
Speakers include Alexei Kudrin, Russia’s former minister of finance and Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St Petersburg State University, Dmitry Zaytsev, Director of the Street Art Museum, and Lyubov Arkus, film director and founder of autism awareness charity An Exit in St Petersburg.
According to the speakers, Russian cities are experiencing an unprecedented boom in social enterprise and charitable giving.
“Despite all the disasters that our country has inflicted on itself in the last few years, its civic energy has been channelled into remarkable social activism,” Lyubov Arkus stated.
The conference also gives young social entrepreneurs the chance to present their projects in TED-style talks. This session features projects from a variety of regions, ranging from a Moscow-based digital startup, developing VR software for disabled people, to a charity street art festival in Yekaterinburg.
The event is taking place at the LenDoc studio, a converted 19th century equestrian ground in St Petersburg.