By: Bushra Humaira Sadaf & Rasha Gobaco
As selfless as the cause of social entrepreneurship sounds, it is gaining experience, exposure, and funds that may sometimes challenge it to reach and maintain success. Nonetheless, probably unbeknownst to start-up social entrepreneurs, are the great avenues and opportunities available to them to achieve their goals. These events can help them learn, innovate, and scale up.
Here is a list of some great opportunities and possible partner organizations for social enterprises around the world to help them go beyond their limits and achieve success:
Based in Singapore and supported by non-profit organizations Temasek Foundation Ecosperity and Eco-Business, The Liveability Challenge calls for social entrepreneurs to submit their solutions to problems faced by tropical urban communities. Looking for feasible yet innovative solutions to issues of energy consumption and sustainable economies, the competition boasts of prizes such as funding of up to $1 million, mentorship opportunities, incubator programs and the like, for winners. Finalists will be pitching their projects to esteemed business leaders, investors, and sustainability experts in numerous fields.
GSVC is a global network of universities, organizations, mentors, and investors founded by business students in UC Berkeley in the United States. Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, GSVC holds their yearly Future of Social Ventures Conference with their highly anticipated competition, the GSVC Global Finals. The competition focuses on asking its participants to present re-invented business models in order to fully address social problems using “technology for good.” Winning enterprises will receive cash prizes, mentorship, and exposure. Interested enterprises can also partner with GSVC to market, promote, and facilitate outreach programs to reach more audiences.
PhilSEN is a non-profit and non-government organization that concentrates its efforts to empower Philippine social enterprises to help them reach their full potential. From topics like market studies and business planning, to microfinance, this organization has reached out to hundreds of Filipino entrepreneurs in line with their mission to “build a critical mass of social enterprises and people’s enterprises in the Philippines.” PhilSEN’s two current projects dwell on (1) communication with locals to establish productive work environments and (2) economic rehabilitation for farmers, fishermen, and other members of rural communities affected by the Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Since its inception in 2017 by UNDP and Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to bring together youth through the common agenda of acceleration and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to aid in solving the most pressing social challenges of the world. It has so far held 11 national dialogues, social innovation challenges, and a regional summit across Asia and the Pacific. It has also trained 1700 young people about survival skills and has served and launched more than 140 social enterprises.
SBYA works as an incubator to emerging social entrepreneurs as they help out businesses by listening to their ideas, learning from them, and helping them design better solutions.
Social Business Youth Summit is one of SBYA’s key initiatives where it gathers youth across borders to learn from and interact with leading social business professionals. Social Business Champ, a social business plan competition, is another program of SBYA that is designed for university level students to showcase their entrepreneurial skills to generate solutions to social problems.
Thought for Food is a global agrofood startup pitch competition which encourages people from around the world to bring sustainable solutions to pressing problems in food and agriculture. They aim to empower and encourage the next generation to innovate and collaborate as they support them in navigating the critical early stages of their ideas.
Makesense is also a worldwide community that hones and incubate innovative social projects. They provide a space and resources to incubate, fine-tune and maximize ideas, concepts and strategies, and to make an idea into a reality. Makesense also hosts fast-paced workshops and events that will make your brainstorming more fun, engaging, and challenging.
The seeds of ideas always start in fertile ground where it can grow and prosper. Competitions, summits, and different opportunities work as arable land for social entrepreneurs to learn, network, and put their new ideas to the test. These ideas showcase innovation as managing any business is a constant process of improvement for which social entrepreneurs strive to achieve every day. From the multiple opportunities available to them, entrepreneurs have numerous chances to exceed their boundaries to explore and build a sustainable future for incoming generations.