Supporting 90,000 social entrepreneurs on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis

29 Jan 2021

With the onset of the pandemic, engaged organizations realised
that the thousands of social entrepreneurs they serve required immediate support at a scale that they could not meet alone.

This triggered the launch of the Alliance which now includes 84 committed members including Catalyst 2030, Johnson & Johnson, Porticus, SAP, Salesforce and UNDP, which are all providing emergency grants and technical assistance.

The impact.

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs was launched in April 2020 to help mobilize support and raise awareness of the vital role that social entrepreneurs play in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Members of the Alliance support over 90,000 social entrepreneurs across the world. These entrepreneurs, in turn, have a direct or indirect impact on the lives of an estimated 1.9 billion people, providing access to employment, food, affordable energy and other critical services.

“2021 can and must be the year for breakthrough collaboration. The magnitude of the crisis facing us means that no single actor can hope to address it on their own,”

Melanie Schultz, CEO, Porticus

What's the challenge?

As the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic became clearer, social entrepreneurs across the world have stepped up and have supported marginalised and vulnerable communities.

Take for example the Barefoot Collect in Zanzibar, a training initiative set up in 2015. When the crisis hit, their efforts pivoted to provide personal protective equipment to more than 70 communities on the island.

Similarly, the Family Independence Initiative in the US dramatically ramped up its support for vulnerable families during the crisis and raised over $100 million and provided direct transfers to over 100,000 low-income families who were struggling to care for their loved ones.

Yet, while rallying to support others, many social enterprise champions are themselves in need of financial and non-financial support. Swift action from Alliance members has become a critical lifeline.

Our approach.

Over 80 global organizations in social entrepreneurship are working together to highlight the critical role that social entrepreneurs are playing as first responders to the COVID crisis.

The work involves three areas which aims to create a virtuous cycle that expands impact:

Mobilize Support: Build a community of social impact leaders and gather critical resources for Social Entrepreneurs and their supporters to thrive

Take Action: Achieve sector-wide uptake of our Social Entrepreneur Action Agenda and jointly tackle projects that transform the sector’s impact and resilience

Share Insights: Strengthen our evidence base and ability to support Social Entrepreneurs, by deepening our joint insight into their impact, needs, and priorities

In September 2020, the Alliance called on their peers to stand by social entrepreneurs during the pandemic and published five concrete steps that intermediaries, corporations, investors, government institutions, and funders could take.

The Alliance announced its 2021 Roadmap during The Davos Agenda on January 25th. Comprising 21 ambitious, collaborative action projects each of which is led by and delivered by our members, the roadmap is helping to ensure that fuel and efficiency is added to on-the-ground operations of our 84 members.

How can you get involved?

The time to stand by social entrepreneurs as vital responders to COVID-19 and as pioneers of an inclusive society is now. We call on all sectors to join us in action today.

Businesses and investors are invited to express interest in working with the Alliance. Use the link below to contact the team and bring your expertise and resources to support social entrepreneurs on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis.

Other essential stakeholders including social entrepreneurs, support organizations, government institutions and media outlets are also warmly welcome to share their profiles and underwrite our action agenda through our online form which you can access using the link below.

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