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It pays to do Social Enterprises

A wealth of interest in the presentation of Peter Holbrook at the forum “The future of youth: proposals for moving forward” during the WeFree Days 2015 at San Patrignano.
The President of the Association of European Social Enterprises made an interesting overview on the state of social enterprise in England: “over the last 60 years social businesses have had a huge spike in growth. I started young to investing in this field. I founded the coffee chain Sunlight, then I also founded a radio station, a transport company. To date social enterprises in the Uk produce a turnover of 24 billion pounds sterling. This is a branch on which it is necessary to invest, because the worlds situation is changing, and you have to deal with issues such as: increasing world population, hunger and thirst in the world, urbanization, climate change and natural disasters are on the rise. People are angry and this creates conflict, as well as increasing migration flows. I know how much Italy is affected by these phenomena. In Europe we are between two locations: those who want to close the borders and those who want to eliminate barriers. Actually we’re all failing to manage these issues. It has been proven that despite the fact that the world’s wealth is increasing, however ones satisfaction with life is isn’t, because having one doesn’t necessarily mean you have the other. Social enterprise wants to tackle these problems, aiming to resolve them and in return giving help to the people who care, environmental waste, and not just for profit. In the UK there are more than 70,000 social firms and of these 35,000 were born within the last 5 years. We Social Enterprises are trying to create a brand “Buy Social”, which pushes the social firms on the market. Around the world we are raising awareness on these issues. Many business leaders are relying on the inclusion of some social aspects. Young people can create social businesses, invest, work for companies that want to find sustainable solutions. A range of companies including Danone, Unilever, Diageo, have understood the importance of making a business engage socially. Young people can establish and choose to work for social companies, my heartfelt appeal is to tell them to become part of the social revolution. It also takes political will, in the UK Blair and then Cameron have created the right environment. It has been since ’97 that in Britain the talk of social capitalism had been evolving and from 2011 we have created a social contribution through investment that helps in the development of social firms. Social Enterprises has received subsidies from dormant bank accounts, which aided in generating a substantial revenue. It has been reported through the figures that there is a constant return investments in social enterprises, which on average is 30%. Now you can invest in social work with just 10 euro from their account, which we call the “Social Impact Bond”».
To support his ideas, the Italian Roberto Leonardi, Secretary-General of the Foundation for the third sector, Banca Prossima: « The enterprise should by definition have a social objective, relegating profits to the simple role of mild. Despite the crisis, despite bearing the most “difficult” of Italy, the disabled, ex-convicts and drug addicts, people with psychiatric problems who would otherwise be on the fringes of society, it also works from an economic point of view. Often social enterprise has a problematic return on investment loans of 1.4% disbursed, compared to 7-8% of normal with the normal business system».

Peter Holbrook at the WeFree Days 2015

Roberto Leonardi at the WeFree Days 2015


15 October 2015