A growing number of businesses are recognising the importance of developing global social enterprise strategies. These schemes are a part of a wider sense of corporate social responsibility, whereby entrepreneurs use their business expertise to aid global humanitarian causes. A recent survey by Social Enterprise UK showed that women are some of the most significant drivers of this change.
The People’s Business report by Social Enterprise UK revealed that 91% of social enterprise teams include at least one female director. While issues such as poor health and poverty are of universal concern, there are others, such as disparity in educational access for young girls, lack of female emancipation, forced marriages and child mortality that particularly resonate with women.
It’s unsurprising that this empathy should lead female entrepreneurs to strive for change. Additionally, in many cases it is women who are making purchasing decisions for households. For example, women spend more on fashion and beauty products and are usually responsible for buying consumables such as chocolate, bottled water and coffee.
This may, in turn, be recognised by female entrepreneurs who more easily spot just how much of a difference encouraging fellow women to make ethical buying decisions can make.
Social enterprise schemes can make a real difference to communities. In the case of Sophi Tranchell’s company Divine Chocolate, 45% of the company is owned by the Ghanaian cocoa farmers who supply the firm’s beans.
As a Fairtrade company, not only do they ensure that the farmers are paid a fair price for their products but the co-operative nature of the business empowers growers, giving them a real voice in the cocoa industry. Sharing in the profits allows them to invest in their own community, providing valuable jobs and enabling sustainable development.
Bottled water producer Belu is another example of a company that uses its products to assist communities. Using recycled materials, the company is not only 100% carbon neutral but uses its profits to fund clean water projects overseas. CEO Karen Lynch is committed to continuing to donate to WaterAid and helping secure a healthy future for thousands.
Undertaking social enterprise activities gives firms the power to change lives. By adopting ethical business models, both male and female entrepreneurs can assist communities all over the world.
photo credit: BAIA