Jake Hyman advises both organizations and corporations seeking to become more socially aware and new social entrepreneurs wanting to start up.
Regarding funding there are frequently mental barriers. New young social entrepreneurs often question and lack belief in themselves. He gave the example of a US venture which made a profit on quirky gifts and then sold the company for significant profit. He argued social entrepreneurs need to look at how to build sustainability, and profit making models.
Indeed, he asked, is social enterprise purely a business that makes money and then gives some profits to good causes, or is it purely based on a certain type of work?
So we need to look at new ways to think of this whole frame. He reported work in the US with Peaceworks, an organisation aiming to get populations in areas of conflict to work together to sell produce; they deserve the right to make some money.
He also spoke on the philosophy of social enterprise. Some people are of the view that you can’t hold a dual motivation of making money and putting money back in. Jake believed otherwise.
He used the example of Global Ethics, a consumer goods company, selling bottled water. 100% of profits go towards ethical living and so far they’ve given around three million to charity. In other words, they give money away to get a competitive enterprise.
Another social enterprise he works with is Future First. This works in schools, getting young people to become role models, start thinking about what they might do and providing them with experiences of social enterprise.
Jake noted that social enterprises are effectively no use if they don’t make money, they might as well just be charities. That’s why you need dual areas of profits and social awareness. The current trends in the market gear towards companies working on issues around disabled, elderly and importantly for this debate, young people.
On the issue of financing, over of half of them rely on some kind of grant donations. This model is unsustainable with many effectively acting like charities, and only 42% rely on this type of income, with no full time staff. Donor industries effectively props them up.
He stated that social enterprise is just a vehicle for an organization. Once you’ve hired the first few people, people won’t be as bothered once they’re in work. Jake believed that they can also be a means to provide services.
Regarding fighting youth employment, he believed social enterprise is not the answer. The difficulties all around and subsidising volunteering is fine but not a solution. We need to focus on solving problems.
Jake suggested shifting focus to concentrate on franchising on existing ideas and businesses, to get things spread and done in communities.
Want to get involved in our campaign on youth unemployment All Doled Up. What will you pledge?
1. Join the campaign
2. Come to our events
3. Tell us your idea
The countdown’s started. We need your ideas – it could be yours, so get involved.