As part of the World Economic Forum COVID-19 Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship in collaboration with Acumen has released new research on what it takes for social enterprises to cultivate and sustain corporate partnerships.
More corporations are becoming aware that partnering with social enterprises can be a potent way to innovate business models and increase their positive impact on society but often lack the knowledge on what the most effective way is to do this.
The data gathered through this first-of-its-kind survey of over 150 social enterprises from around the world, provides insights and recommendations on how businesses can use their procurement spending to source from social enterprises and advance their environmental and social commitments.
IKEA Social Entrepreneurship has worked with social businesses to address societal challenges for many years now and sees the benefits of engaging with social enterprises to create a positive social impact but also an impact across the value chain. Therefore, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship chose to support this research to better understand how corporations and social enterprises are doing business together, said Åsa Skogström Feldt, Managing Director, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship:
There are still many hurdles the research identified, but also many examples of solutions and successes. It is our hope that the insights and inspirational cases will open opportunities for many and different types of partnerships, ultimately increasing support for the people who need it the most.
Social enterprises are ready for corporate customers
The report presents over 100 examples of partnerships between corporations and social enterprises, as well as deep-dive case studies, that demonstrate how social enterprises create value for corporate customers. Revealing how social enterprises are meeting corporate customer needs in ways that offer product differentiation, cost savings, or increases in efficiency.
Though there are barriers on the way to be becoming a corporate ready social enterprise, such as financing or corporate flexibility, many social enterprises do feel these can be overcome. For example by participating in accelerator programmes prior to securing a first corporate customer. Read the full report here.
Join the conversation
Integrating social entrepreneurs’ products and services into corporate value chains opens the door to opportunities for both parties such as greater volumes, job creation and improving the livelihoods for marginalized groups and women from vulnerable communities.
Therefore, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship invites corporate leaders and organisations to make a concerted effort to work together with social enterprises to systematically address the barriers that social enterprises may face as they prepare themselves to work with corporations.
Doing this corporations need to demonstrate leadership and openness to change in their own organizations and prioritize the need for accelerated learning in order to climb the steep learning curve of this nascent opportunity.
It is our hope that the insights found in our research create opportunities for many and different types of partnerships between social enterprises and corporations. As a result, increasing support for the people who need it the most.
We call on you to join this conversation!
This research was supported by SAP, Ernst & Young (EY), Autodesk Foundation, Solidaridad, Porticus and 60 Decibels.