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How Digital Technology Supercharges Social Enterprises

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  • Digital strategies are the key to expanding innovative social enterprises towards sustainable development and enabling citizens to promote social inclusion.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and highlighted the opportunities and challenges of delivering services online.
  • Microsoft, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs are working together to support social innovators.

Social entrepreneurs are more important than ever. Goal-driven social enterprises that measure success by profit, not profit, have helped reduce inequality, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and mitigate the effects of climate change.

You can increase their influence through technology to take full advantage of their unique expertise and mobilize credible relationships with underprivileged communities around the world.

By providing the best digital tools and strategic plans for digital transformation, we have the opportunity to help transform their operations, empower their clients and take socio-economic impact to new heights. I have.

There has never been a better time to act. One of the striking lessons of the pandemic is the speed of adoption of digital technology in all sectors of the economy. Changes in business practices that were expected to take years occurred instead in weeks.

This accelerating pace of change presents both opportunities and challenges for social enterprises. Organizations that fell into a pandemic with access to the right technology prospered. For example, some online education groups rely on face-to-face interactions that are scrambled to adapt.

Digital solutions for social enterprises that expand and empower reach

Looking to the future, the direction is clear. Digital work is becoming more and more important as social innovators take advantage of new ways to deliver services, from smart healthcare to microfinance and resource management.

For many social innovators, this isn’t just about increasing business resilience. It also prepares the communities in which they work together for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the decarbonization of the economy, so that at-risk populations are not left behind when traditional industries transform.

Two factors have led the world to an inflection. The need for digital solutions is urgent, and at the same time, the practical barriers to their deployment are low.In particular, almost universal ownership of mobile phones – 21 basic tools for digital communicationst Century – This is the “heyday” of democratization in the information technology revolution, which means expanding its reach to more than billions of people.

But reach isn’t the only digital technology. It is also a powerful tool for empowerment. Digital tools can provide greater control and access to a wide range of information for humankind. Whether they are farmers in remote villages checking crop prices, young people and their teachers have online access to educational materials in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Technology to help scale up innovation

Groups like R Labs and Africa Teen Geeks attending the forum’s annual meeting in Davos this year are demonstrating this potential by helping build technology skills in poorly serviced communities. increase. Both groups are based in South Africa, but a parallel approach is being taken around the world, with RLabs expanding the model to 23 countries.

Other organizations have shown how powerful technology is as a catalyst for scaling activities. For example, Glocal Healthcare Systems brings modern health care to rural people in India through telemedicine and digital dispensing. Meanwhile, AID: Tech is using blockchain to transform the lives of millions of people. AID: The Tech system provides digital IDs to anyone with a mobile phone, but with no other form of evidence, it allows you to open a bank account, get a loan, and access social services.

Social innovators are tackling the world’s most serious and persistent challenges, from illiteracy to clean water and hygiene, girls’ education, prison reform, financial inclusion and disaster relief.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship supports more than 400 major social innovators operating in more than 190 countries.

Since its establishment in 1998, the activities of this prestigious community of social innovators have directly improved the lives of a total of 722 million people.

A global network of experts, partner agencies and members of the World Economic Forum are invited to nominate outstanding social innovators.

For more information on the award process and selection criteria, please visit the Schwab Foundation website.

Read more about Foundation influence.

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a stronger whole to act now to help other social enterprises move forward when a comprehensive business model is highly needed. Helps create a social enterprise sector.

As many social enterprises are in the early or early stages of development, this is a great opportunity to introduce the right digital technology to help them take a quantum step.

Organizations that support Social Innovation

For large companies, it is not only right, but also wise, to connect and support social enterprises with their needs. By supporting social innovators, multinationals can learn about new business models and become more purposeful and begin to build bridges to new customer groups around the world.

Importantly, social enterprises play an important role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), so by supporting social enterprises, large enterprises can ESG (environment, society,). Helps to aim for governance).

Microsoft is currently implementing these ideas through a new partnership with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs. This arrangement is underpinned by Microsoft’s entrepreneurial spirit for positive impact and enables us to contribute to the digital transformation of the sector in two key ways.

  • Microsoft will provide innovative technology, mentorship and business support to individual social enterprises working on projects in key areas of the SDG to improve human health and the environment and enhance social and economic equity. increase.
  • A key in the development of the ecosystem, joining the Forum’s Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship as a new member and core champion, enabling actors to support social entrepreneurs alongside other private companies and multilateral institutions. Become an actor.

The Microsoft-Schwab Foundation partnership is a powerful demonstration of how large technology companies can partner with social innovators and ecosystems to extend the benefits of both.

Social enterprises may have a wealth of energy and talent. But solving economic, social and environmental challenges requires synergies between the right technologies, partners and people. Only by empowering them with the right tools and partnerships can they build and develop businesses to provide social value globally.