The Social Enterprise Clinic (SEC) is designed for students who see themselves helping businesses flourish, including cottage, small and medium-sized businesses and cooperatives. We refuse to accept that ‘business is war,’ and invite our students to engage their legal skills and creativity towards helping idealistic and socially-minded entrepreneurs build sustainable business models in communities across Bhutan.

Gross National Happiness (GNH) requires simultaneous progress in all four pillars of the GNH paradigm, the first of which is sustainable and equitable socio-economic development. Bhutan’s quest to maximize GNH will succeed only if Bhutan’s economy continues to diversify, and continues to be a boon for living standards across all segments of civil society. No sector is more important in this regard than small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those dedicated to a vision of business contributing to GNH in different ways. The SEC provides crucial legal support to SMEs that otherwise could not afford to secure legal advice, thus ensuring that this generally under resourced segment of the population nonetheless benefits from the available legal protections.

The clinic is directed by Mr. Adrian von Bernstorff (adrian.von.bernstorff@jswlaw.bt).

SEC students work as lawyers and as business planners, helping small business owners optimize their business strategies and navigate the complexities of the bureaucratic and administrative apparatus. Students learn to elicit from entrepreneurs their vision for their businesses and to help them issue spot and overcome potential administrative hurdles. Students will help clients develop business models and practices that benefit not only the entrepreneurs, but also the wider community as a whole, including employees, suppliers, customers, communities, and shareholders.

Students will work with policy makers to highlight systemic issues that may impede the success of small business entrepreneurs in Bhutan. Currently, the SEC has an agreement with the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan to jointly develop an agenda for social entrepreneurship in Bhutan, including the development of a legal framework for Impact Investment Funds. 

Students will enter their careers with valuable experience supporting entrepreneurs in the realization of their business ideas. Learn more about student experiences in the SEC in the For Students page.

Clients and partners of the clinic can expect a high level of sophistication from students and their faculty supervisors. Students and their clinic supervisors bring not only their substantive insights but also their collected experience working with numerous small business entrepreneurs across Bhutan. For more on the types of projects done by this clinic, please consult the Project Work page.