‘We need more social entrepreneurship’ – Businesses

‘I want to launch a warm appeal. If you see a social enterprise whose activities are close to your heart, help it. Listen to what they need and help them with knowledge, advice and expertise. ‘ This is what Nikolay Dentchev, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), says.

The first weeks of the first coronal lockdown in March 2020 gave me a lot of emotion. On the one hand, feelings of powerlessness and misunderstanding of what happened to everyone. On the other hand, there were also feelings of gratitude and hope. I was grateful to everyone in the healthcare system, but also in essential sectors such as food, pharmaceuticals, logistics, education and so on. It was nice to see everyone show their appreciation for the staff at our hospitals with standing ovations on the street. But what made me hopeful were the many initiatives from social entrepreneurs.

These initiatives showed our society at its best, with a focus on solidarity, unity and a willingness to help each other. The initiatives of many chefs, gathered in #FoodHeroes, which provided a great meal for the health staff, were heartwarming. The same warm feeling arose thanks to solidarity initiatives for our neighbors. Not everyone is equally mobile in our society. Banal activities, such as going to the store, are quite a challenge for some. Digital for Youth vzw collected tens of thousands of laptops for students in no time. There are too many heartwarming initiatives to mention and I would like to thank them all for their courage and commitment.

We need more social entrepreneurship.

There is a great need for social entrepreneurs’ initiatives in our society. Their main focus is to solve a social or environmental problem. The commercial and the economic are a means, not an end. A means to a warmer society. We can be proud of these entrepreneurs. We can be proud of Olivier Vanden Eynde, who wants to close the digital divide in developing countries with Close the Gap. Another top in social entrepreneurship is Arnoud Raskin: with Mobile School, he helps street children in South America with education. Bart Wijntjens helps with Apopo and his half rats at demining entire areas at a fraction of the cost of alternatives. And I could go on and on with resounding names of real entrepreneurs, for whom it is central to create a positive social and environmental impact. Via Belgium Impact and Elanet you can find a wealth of inspiring cases about social entrepreneurs, in Belgium and internationally.

I want to launch a warm appeal. If you see a social enterprise whose activities are close to your heart, help it. Listen to what they need and help them with knowledge, advice and expertise. Help them by making relevant links in your network. Help them, because social entrepreneurs make our society warmer and better. They all need us. We may have long ago forgotten covid. The mouth masks have been put away and the travel plans have been resumed. But for many social entrepreneurs, the consequences of covid have not been forgotten. It was not possible to arrange events. Relying on volunteers was suddenly a little harder because some people were more aware of their own family situation. Working Covidsafe incurs extra costs, while social entrepreneurs usually do not have it too wide. In addition, business leaders were extra careful about sponsoring social entrepreneurs. The challenges of social entrepreneurs may not often appear in the media, but they are there.

Social entrepreneurs need us, just as we need their heartwarming initiatives. Together we can build a better future for our children in Flanders, Belgium, Europe and around the world. Be inspired by the creativity of social entrepreneurs and support their initiatives. We need more social entrepreneurship.

The first weeks of the first coronal lockdown in March 2020 gave me a lot of emotion. On the one hand, feelings of powerlessness and misunderstanding of what happened to everyone. On the other hand, there were also feelings of gratitude and hope. I was grateful to everyone in the healthcare system, but also in essential sectors such as food, pharmaceuticals, logistics, education and so on. It was nice to see everyone show their appreciation for the staff at our hospitals with standing ovations on the street. But what made me hopeful were the many initiatives from social entrepreneurs. These initiatives showed our society at its best, with a focus on solidarity, unity and a willingness to help each other. The initiatives of many chefs, gathered in #FoodHeroes, which provided a great meal for the health staff, were heartwarming. The same warm feeling arose thanks to solidarity initiatives for our neighbors. Not everyone is equally mobile in our society. Banal activities, such as going to the store, are quite a challenge for some. Digital for Youth vzw collected tens of thousands of laptops for students in no time. There are too many heartwarming initiatives to mention and I would like to thank them all for their courage and commitment. There is a great need for social entrepreneurs’ initiatives in our society. Their main focus is to solve a social or environmental problem. The commercial and the economic are a means, not an end. A means to a warmer society. We can be proud of these entrepreneurs. We can be proud of Olivier Vanden Eynde, who wants to close the digital divide in developing countries with Close the Gap. Another top in social entrepreneurship is Arnoud Raskin: with Mobile School, he helps street children in South America with education. Bart Wijntjens helps Apopo and his hero rats clear entire areas for a fraction of the cost of alternatives. And I could go on and on with resounding names of real entrepreneurs, for whom it is central to create a positive social and environmental impact. Via Belgium Impact and Elanet you can find a wealth of inspiring cases about social entrepreneurs, in Belgium and internationally. I want to launch a warm appeal. If you see a social enterprise whose activities are close to your heart, help it. Listen to what they need and help them with knowledge, advice and expertise. Help them by making relevant links in your network. Help them, because social entrepreneurs make our society warmer and better. They all need us. We may have long ago forgotten covid. The mouth masks have been put away and the travel plans have been resumed. But for many social entrepreneurs, the consequences of covid have not been forgotten. It was not possible to arrange events. Relying on volunteers was suddenly a little harder because some people were more aware of their own family situation. Working Covidsafe incurs extra costs, while social entrepreneurs usually do not have it too wide. In addition, business leaders were extra careful about sponsoring social entrepreneurs. The challenges of social entrepreneurs may not often appear in the media, but they are there. Social entrepreneurs need us, just as we need their heartwarming initiatives. Together we can build a better future for our children in Flanders, Belgium, Europe and around the world. Be inspired by the creativity of social entrepreneurs and support their initiatives. We need more social entrepreneurship.

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