Forty leading global organisations have joined together to launch the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs today at the World Economic Forum. Some $75 million in funding has already been mobilised by members of the Alliance, which will be used to amplify support for social entrepreneurs during COVID-19, as well as provide general relief to those working to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
‘Social entrepreneurs and their community partners have been working for years to solve market failures and demonstrate more sustainable and inclusive models. These front-line organisations now face bankruptcy and severe constraints while they also innovate and respond to this global pandemic,’ said François Bonnici, Director and Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum. ‘Through this Alliance, members are committing support for social entrepreneurs to protect decades of work in the impact sector.’
Members in the recently launched Alliance currently support more than 15,000 social entrepreneurs that reach 1.5 billion people in over 190 countries. These groups work to serve the needs of excluded, marginalised, and vulnerable populations – many of which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs will coordinate support in four key ways:
- Assessing and highlighting needs across the members’ social enterprise portfolios.
- Amplifying and expanding available financial support under a joint Alliance dashboard, and helping social entrepreneurs to raise additional money to expand their work.
- Coordinating non-financial support provided by companies and intermediaries,such as social procurement, legal services and technological support.
- Advancing joint communication efforts to advocate for appropriate fiscal and policy interventions relevant to social entrepreneurs.
This initiative will also feature a searchable database of emergency funds available to non-profit and for-profit entrepreneurs during COVID-19. Covidcap.com, the database developed by the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University, contains global capital relief offers worth over $1 trillion.
‘The economic fallout from COVID-19 could push half a billion more people into poverty. Social entrepreneurs are the de-facto social net in many emerging economies. We need to intervene to help them, before it’s too late,’ said Saskia Bruysten, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yunus Social Business.
The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs will be supported by a secretariat hosted at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organisation of the World Economic Forum. The development of the Alliance is supported by the GHR Foundation, and is operationally supported by Yunus Social Business, who have been co-developing the initiative.
‘This pandemic reminds us that our differences in faith, culture or politics are superseded by what we have in common,’ said Amy Goldman, CEO and Chair of the GHR Foundation, which is helping underwrite the Alliance.
‘And whether someone is a social entrepreneur or a member of a faith community or both at once, we all share a deep desire to alleviate suffering, support human dignity, and help people build a better future. This Alliance is going to help people do exactly that.’
The growing list of foundations, sector organisations, multilateral organisations, private companies and non-governmental organisations joining the Alliance include: Aavishkaar Group, Acumen, Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA), Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Ashoka, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), B Lab, Bertelsmann Group/Stiftung, CASE at Duke University, Catalyst 2030, Co-Impact, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Echoing Green, European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), Fundación Avina, GHR Foundation, Global Innovation Fund, Global Steering Group for Impact Investing (GSG), Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Greenwood Place, IKEA Foundation, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Hub, Johnson & Johnson, KIVA, LatImpacto, Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, Mercy Corps Ventures, Motsepe Foundation, NESsT, Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), Rippleworks, Root Capital, SAP, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundation, USAID, and Yunus Social Business.