Why Do Social Innovations Instead of Becoming Profitable Social businesses Become One-Time Shares in Lithuania?
Have you ever wondered where did great social initiative disappear? No, they did not disappear because the society does not support them or that people are not interested. Those social initiatives became one-time because organizers started to get “hungry“ while taking care of others.
In European Union, every fourth established business is social business. However, in Lithuania social initiatives more often become one-time shares, rather than commercially profitable social businesses. According to Simona Simulyte (CEO at Public Establishment “European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Studies Institute” and the initiator of the social business startup “ChangeMakers‘ON“), the success or failure of social business depends on its business model.
Those who want to do well are starting to get “hungry” themselves
“There is only one significant difference. Social entrepreneur has unlimited eager to “change“. His thoughts do not include thinking about the creation of sustainable surface for himself; contrary, he is always thinking about the progress and achievements during the creation of social business. Moreover, social entrepreneur having unlimited desire and strong faith really wants to implement change, gathers communities and support groups around himself. Very accurate term that purifies the meaning of social business could be C4C (Community for Community) and B4C (Business for Community)” — S. Šimulytė suggests.
“We are surrounded with many great examples of social initiatives which, truly speaking, the majority unfortunately stay as initiatives that have no continuance at all. The reason is not that society does not support them. However, when one solves other‘s problems he notices that he is starting to get “hungry“, too.” — S. Šimulytė states.
In order to promote social business in Lithuania and to assist existing social initiatives to become established in the market, “European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Studies Institute”, KTU and “Versli Lietuva” is organizing the first international social entrepreneurship and innovations start-up event “ChangeMakers’ON” on 24–26th February in Kaunas. “ChangeMakers’ON“ is organized along with other social partners who support this idea.
“ChangeMakers’ON” is the place where practicing entrepreneurs donate their time, knowledge and insights to develop social innovations as sustainable social businesses — S. Šimulytė introduces.
According to the initiator, during the training course of “ChangeMakers’ON”, even social enterprises that have been working for several years will gain more knowledge about possible ways how to transform social initiatives into successful businesses that could change the world.
Is social business really something horrifying?
Unfortunately, popularizing the concept of social business in Lithuania, some problems may appear. Not every social business dares to position itself and admit that it has a clear social mission. According to Neringa Stroputė, the project manager at “Versli Lietuva“ and expert at “ChangeMakers’ON”, social businesses are hampered by confusing concept of social business and negative attitude of the society.
“There are many traditional businesses in Lithuania that have a clear social aspect but are not conscious social businesses. The example of that would be “Brožių virtuvė“ which provides catering services and is already settled in social house. This social business employs people of social exclusion and has a really positive impact on community. The activity of such business is absolutely commercial and has a clear social impact. However, this social business does not position itself as social business on the market.”
“The activity of such clothing brand is based on more than socially responsible principles of businesses: this business is especially concerned that their production would be eco-friendly. Similarly, as previous “Brožių virtuvė”, “Atsikeli ir varai” does not position itself as a social business. In addition, there are businesses that do not want to communicate their social responsibility due to an unfortunate situation in Lithuania. One of these examples would be the salad bar “Mano Guru“ (eng. “My Guru“) which speaks unconfidently about creating a huge impact having projects by recruiting people from social exclusion and offering them training and integration into the society.”
S. Šimulytė emphasizes that “ChangeMakers’ON” is the way to popularize social business and pull it out of stereotyped frames. “Truly speaking, there are businesses where you cannot find information about them being social businesses. Such businesses began with a clear social mission and vision of generating income. Also, such businesses never needed to wait for financial support or allowance. Worth to mention that in Lithuania there is no clear understanding that social business is not a social enterprise. While we do not understand that, it will be hard to get rid of stereotypes.”
Unused opportunities of the image and knowledge
According to the spokeswoman of “Versli Lietuva”, social businesses do not fully use their opportunities. “Without knowing or avoiding the status of a social business, businesses with a vivid and clear social mission lose a great opportunity to strengthen their social mission and use it as a brand or a unique selling aspect.”
“Even social businesses that have been working for several years should be interested in the opportunities that are offered by “ChangeMakers’ON”. It does not matter whether that are businesses of communities and young enthusiastic representatives of social business — they are all worthy to participate, in order to create understanding and closeness for separate audiences which will be able to discover their connections with the concept of social business. Moreover, it is great for them because they can use it as a brand by positioning themselves on the commercial market. It does not matter whether they would be small or big participants on the market. Right here they will find tools which help to strengthen their communication, upgrade business skills and learn how to measure their social impact.” — N. Stroputė says.
If you have any ideas how to improve, strengthen already developed initiative, or even how to rescue the world — register in “ChangeMakers’ON”!
Do you wish to know more about ChangeMakers’ON programs? — learn more here.
Have any questions? Do you want to participate to future events? Contact us! https://www.facebook.com/ChangeMakersON/