This week’s news coverage of the world’s largest conference for social entrepreneurs lamented the lack of funds for developing-country projects. Entrepreneurs at the Skoll World Forum said fundraising and courting corporate partners is their biggest challenge.
“I believe corporations, especially ICT companies, should be actively investing in these enterprises,” said Kevin Jones, a principal with Good Capital and self-described serial entrepreneur. “Given the strong growth in emerging markets, all types of investors should see the advantages of partnering with international social entrepreneurs.”
Vital Wave Consulting understands the hesitancy of corporations. In many socially-oriented partnerships it is difficult to align incentive structures or demonstrate ROI. With social entrepreneurs, however, successful partnerships are more likely as both parties share the profit motive. Social entrepreneurs who do their homework and present a bullet-proof business case with an effective business model are certain to reduce the challenge of finding investors.
Corporations stand to benefit from these partnerships, as well. Social entrepreneurs can deliver expertise in target geographies, deep understanding of user needs and usage models, and in-country relationships. Successful social ventures are also excellent acquisition targets – for talent, technology and business models. Such partnerships could help speed the transition of emerging-market activities from the corporate social responsibility brochure to the company’s annual report.Also in the news this week