Around the world Social Enterprises and the Social Entrepreneurship structure is generally taking off as a regular market term. Social entrepreneurship programs provide private, non-profit and government organizations the opportunity to assist with social, financial and community development services for disadvantaged groups.
These projects tend to target small communities, with the purpose of providing access to finance, education, health, clean water, renewable energy and food among other things.
Many of One Eleuthera Foundation’s (OEF) projects and partners are based on the social enterprise model and are seeking to be a pilot for initiatives and social projects with an innovative business approach that can be scaled up, thus effectively providing basic services throughout The Bahamas.
OEF has a unique solution to the socioeconomic issues faced on Eleuthera. It serves as an intermediary that connects individuals, organizations and communities to resources such as funding, expertise and training to execute innovative projects in areas of culture, education, environment, health and economic development. To date, the organization has brought health awareness to tens of thousands, advocated for the protection of several historical sites, employed more than 100 people who were without jobs, launched the island’s only credit union (One Eleuthera Cooperative Credit Union), established a new education and skills training institution (Centre for Training and Innovation), helped to provide food security through locally grown produce (Eleuthera Community Farms), and delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources to local partner organizations to assist them in increasing their capacity.
Today, persons are becoming more concerned with their impact in the world and using their recourses to benefit a cause. Because of this trend, social enterprise has taken off as a new business model in many parts of the world, including the Caribbean region. For example, the UK has about 68,000 enterprises and £24 billion (USD $36.8 billion) in revenue as well as currently employing 800,000 people. (Source: “A New Alliance for Global Change” Harvard Business Review, 2010)
The goal is to create projects that can help to tackle real community issues such as hunger, lack of education and other global issues.
Mr Shaun Ingraham, CEO of OEF, had the opportunity to be the key note speaker at The IDB Barbados Civil Society Forum hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank. This workshop was hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank for NGO leaders to network and gain knowledge to strengthen their various orgnaizations. Mr Ingraham described social enterprise as “the successful combining of business acumen, innovation and skill to address more sustainable solutions for social needs”. During the forum he also focused on innovative strategies to raise funds for the sustainable management of nonprofit organizations.
Here are some of the main reasons why social entrepreneurship is the new business model.
1.It keeps you motivated.
Jobs where there is a benefit to an impactful cause usually results in solving big problems and creating employees who are highly self-motivated. When persons are able to realize their potential of direct impact to children, members of the community and society at large, then their push to reach success is one of self-motivation.
2.It connects you to a purpose.
Social enterprises often allow for the perfect mix of business as well as philanthropy coming together to make the world a better place to live and creating social impact.
3.It provides sustainable solutions to social problems.
In today’s economy, there are increased concerns about effectiveness of traditional governmental and charitable approaches in meeting social needs and there has been a hope for more sustainable solutions and outcomes-based approaches for social problems.
To continue to achieve these goals social enterprise organizations such as OEF will need to have the support of companies and individuals whom might fund specific programs and partner with governments or other entities at both a local or international level.
To find out more about social enterprises on the Eleuthera, keep up to date with OEF Facebook page: www.facebook.com/oneeleuthera. For more information on how you can support OEF in improving the society in which we live through social enterprises, please visit www.oneeleuthera.org/donate.
Written by: Embri Stuart