Leaders on the Front Line: COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda
In early May, the World Economic Forum co-initiated the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs. The Alliance brings together over 60 different social sector organisations that reach over 50,000 social entrepreneurs worldwide, impacting 1 billion people. Today, the Alliance has launched the Leaders on the Front Line: COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda.
The Action Agenda outlines 5 core COVID-response principles for those seeking to support social entrepreneurs
With those principles in mind, the Alliance also recommends several actions, including for:
- Intermediaries and networks to surface the needs of the social entrepreneurs they serve on the ground and provide them with fitting support
- (Impact) investors to adapt their investment priorities and processes, and provide flexible capital and must-have technical assistance
- Corporations to stand with the social entrepreneurs in their supply chains and ecosystems, and join forces with them to shape a new tomorrow
- Funders and philanthropists to expand and expedite their financial support to social entrepreneurs and intermediaries, taking risks reflective of today’s unprecedented times
- Government institutions at all levels to recognize social entrepreneurs as a driving force in safeguarding jobs and in building a greener and equitable society, and to back them accordingly.
The five COVID response principles and recommended areas of action will serve as a guide to the work of the Alliance into 2021. Collectively, Alliance members will seek to:
- Welcome new commitments from business, government and philanthropy in support of social entrepreneurs
- Mobilize the sector to take further action on the areas of work outlined in this report
- Promote collaborative approaches and public-private cooperation jointly with social entrepreneurs
- Reinforce key messages and evidence through advocacy platforms and media
- Track responses and progress on this Action Agenda
Over the last 6 months social entrepreneurs have been a vital actor in fighting the health and economic effects of the pandemic. Particularly in developing countries they have been the safety net, keeping the poorest employed and ensuring basic delivery of essential services, while many governments have failed to deliver. Many of these front-line organisations now face bankruptcy themselves. A recent report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation revealed that already 37 million people in developing countries have slipped back into extreme poverty, reversing 25 years of development within 25 weeks. If we want economies to ‘build back better,’ it is vital that we support social entrepreneurs now.