22 de April 2020
Social entrepreneurship: An ally for meeting Sustainable Development Goals
Entrepreneurs and experts in social entrepreneurship analyzed how these types of initiatives can create value for communities, help reach SDGs and develop sustainable business models over time.
As part of its efforts to coordinate Bogota’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Invest in Bogota recently held the webinar “Social Entrepreneurship: Closing the Gaps of the Sustainable Development Goals,” where experts on the subject analyzed the role of social entrepreneurship in Colombia and its relevance in the midst of the current quarantine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an agenda adopted by the member states of the United Nations. Through 17 goals, the SDGs seek to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
Participants in the webinar agreed that meeting the SDGs should not be a state or government obligation, which is why it is key for communities to appropriate these goals and do what is within their means to meet them.
For Ricardo Alba, one of the creators of a system for collecting and reusing rainwater, Eko Group H2O+, one of the main contributions of his entrepreneurship is how it fosters people’s awareness of the importance of using resources responsibly. In the case of Eko Group H2O+, this entrepreneurship has a positive impact on the goals involving climate change and access to clean water and sanitation.
As Leidy Cuestas points out – creator and CEO of KitSmile, a comprehensive at-home rehabilitation kit for children with cerebral palsy – her entrepreneurship makes it possible to facilitate access to healthcare and well-being in low-income communities. “The best thing for me is to see the smile of a child who just sat down in one of our kits. It is very rewarding to see that something that you made is creating change in the community and is having a positive impact on the health of so many people,” she states.
Another conclusion from the webinar was that, while social entrepreneurship aims to provide solutions to problems in communities, the economic sustainability of these types of companies is just as important as it is with any other company. In fact, increasing the number of people social entrepreneurships serve is dependent upon their success and their ability to generate income.
With this in mind, Iván Triana – founder of the BiblioSeo education initiative, which reinvented the traditional concept of a library – emphasizes that social entrepreneurship “…is the evolution of how business is done,” as in addition to addressing issues in the community, these companies have a high capacity to create value.
The webinar participants also agreed that, in many cases, social entrepreneurships can be drivers of development for the communities they benefit.
As Ricardo Alba pointed out for the case of Eko Group H2O+, in addition to creating jobs for young people and mothers who are the heads of household in their communities, his company allows those who benefit from its technology to also replicate and sell it through a social franchise model that generates shared value in underserved communities.
This webinar also served to highlight the important role that social entrepreneurship can play in a scenario of economic recovery, as Bogota and Cundinamarca will experience once the COVID-19 emergency has passed.
The webinar can be accessed by clicking on this link.