Red Ochre shares experience of social enterprise in Chinese Healthcare

Red Ochre and partner organisation the Future Healthcare Group (FHCG) UK have been quoted on social and elders healthcare  in the recent China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) report Enabling Business Opportunities For UK Companies In China’s Elderly Care Markets.

On page 32 Robert is quoted:

Social Enterprise – the “front-lines” in community focused public private partnerships

UK company Future Health Care Group (FHCG) and Red Ochre, a leading social enterprise consultancy based in London, are pioneering an innovative “social enterprise” model for developing and delivering quality elderly care training services in China.

CBBC: Could you outline what you are doing and what you hope to accomplish?

Robert Foster, Co-founder and Senior Consultant of Red Ochre, and Andrew Cowen, CEO
of FHCG: First, some background. Social enterprises (SE) are organisations that use commercial models to address social issues. Opportunities for social enterprise typically lie within the mainstream economy where the market is failing, or is not functioning at an optimal level. SEs generally tend to be set up by driven individuals who see a problem relevant to them, and work hard to solve the problem in the fastest, cheapest and best way they know how – by creating agile, innovative micro and small to medium-sized enterprises. While national and multinational companies position themselves to provide for the top end of the market, provision for the mid-tier community elderly healthcare sector is usually relatively under-developed. In China, this is especially so at the community or neighbourhood level and also outside Tier 1-3 cities. Traditional businesses would not see a significant financial return in these segments. However, an SE that is concerned with solving a pressing problem and doing social good while making money on a commercial basis would certainly see these marginal areas as opportunities. Typically, SE start small and local, working with local government and communities to solve a pressing need. The value of SE initiatives is not just in the delivery of care services, but also in the information these service platforms create and hold. Harnessing this market – by which we mean the SE’s local community of care givers and receivers, who may number in the tens of thousands – means vast potential. Scaling microrevenuesor identifying and addressing new service needs dictated by data mining and analysis, for example, canspearhead exceptional spin-off potential.

CBBC: How are you going to do this?

Foster and Cowen: The concept of person-centred care combines knowledge and skills, research, experience and training. The situation in China is fragmented with too many companies each trying to do a piece, but proper person-centred care requires a holistic combination of all of these elements. The concept is not properly understood, and therefore the capability is not there and it is hard to develop. Study tours in the UK, exchanges in the UK and China and pilot training courses in China through local institutions are all part of a well-balanced programme. It requires time, planning, funding and the collection of required skillsets for training, management and in-community delivery. FHCG’s goal is to instil this concept and to improve elderly care through better standards, qualifications and training for elderly care workers. Red Ochre’s goal is to instil best practice through the SE model. That’s why we are here, working together with local governments in the community, academic
institutions, non-profit organisations and like-minded business partners in China – to let social enterprise lead the charge.

Published: January 20, 2014. Categories: China, News and Robert's Blog.

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