Alfred Vernis (@alfredvernis) Instituto de Innovación Social de ESADE Business and Law School.
Over the last few years, the Momentum Project has supported numerous companies that create “jobs with a social impact”, offering work to especially vulnerable groups of people. And, surprisingly, these Momentum companies have continued to create jobs despite the ongoing economic crisis. For this reason, we would like to share a few reflections with you.
First, we need to better assess the role that these companies play in building “sustainable communities” as well as in contributing to society’s wellbeing. Social enterprises take care of people and make them the focus of their actions. How these social enterprises are managed and how they work with people provide abundant guidance and recommendations for the future.
Second, we cannot forget that these companies need to be able to access financing when being launched or beginning to expand. Creating and consolidating a truly supportive ecosystem for social entrepreneurship is extremely important. In this respect, the Anglo-Saxon concept of “patient capital” is key, that is, the return on investments in companies with social impact is much slower than investments in traditional firms.
Third, social enterprises need well-thought-out business models to obtain economic returns that will not only allow them to operate in a competitive market but also finance their creation of social value. Supporting and guiding these companies is also important, because the market is highly demanding and professional support is very useful for them.
Last, to truly value and appreciate social entrepreneurs’ work, we need to develop measurement systems to track the social impact these firms have. We’ve already seen the important role social awareness campaigns have played in changing people’s minds regarding differently-abled people.
Companies like La Fageda, La Tavella, Batec Mobility, Moltacte and others are certainly helping to change this mindset. But this makes it all the more necessary to help to scale similar social entrepreneurship efforts. The greater the number of successful examples in the market, the stronger and clearer the message that differently-abled people can contribute equally or even more than others to help to develop society.
Article published in “La Vanguardia” on April 23, 2017