From Charity to Social Enterprise: Britse les

26 oktober 2016, 18:00
British brainpicking
British brainpicking
Op 28 september vond het eerste evenement van Philantropy Impact in Nederland plaats. Onder de titel From charity to social enterprise werd gesproken over hoe traditionele goede doelenorganisaties kunnen transformeren tot een social enterprise. Iets dat in het Verenigd Koninkrijk vaak voorkomt, maar waar we in Nederland nogal wat hebben in te halen. Luuk van Term, medeoprichter van Beter Geven, schreef een verslag.*
‘Our mindset should be demand driven, not supply driven’
 
While social enterprises are mainstream in the UK, in The Netherlands local organizations, foundations, financial institutions and intermediates are trying to catch up. ‘Our clients are more and more interested in social investing’, stated CFO Constant Korthout of Van Lanschot Bankers in his introduction. And so around fifty interested people gathered at the beautiful office of Van Lanschot at Lange Voorhout in The Hague to hear more about turning charities into social enterprises. What can the Dutch learn from the British?
 
What the market needs
In his introduction HRH Prince Constantijn mentioned that the Netherlands is 25th on the list of social ventures worldwide. ‘It is important to talk about entrepreneurs when addressing global challenges’, he stated. ‘Regarding migration and refugee policy we need to be more proactive and be more positive. We should look at the abilities of refugees, and involve businesses and cities.’
 
Prince Constantijn was chairman of the board of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration, an independent, not-for-profit organization, which brings together stakeholders to seek solutions to migration and refugee challenges. In recent years its activities developed from advocacy to network to acting, because the organization asked itself: what are our assets, are we still thought leaders? ‘We learned that we should be more concrete. What skills are needed in The Netherlands? How can we use capabilities of migrants in cities? We needed to know what the market wanted.’ This switch in mindset brought Prince Constantijn to conclude: ‘It is a journey that more charities should face: have more impact, be more sustainable and be more scalable. What model is applicable?’
 
Regarding their activities the managing director of The Hague Process, Nava Hinrichs, saw a vacuum in needs: businesses should have specific skills, migrants need to be educated. Businesses get better matched workers, migrants are placed in jobs and cities have less unemployment and better net economic growth. Hinrichs stressed that the development from charity to social enterprise is still in progress. ‘In this process, the organization learned that it needed to be very flexible and patient. Funding has to come from foundations, government, and the private sector. So we had to develop a business plan.’

Social investment more crucial
Cliff Prior is CEO of Big Society Capital, a financial institution with a social mission, set up to help grow the social investment market. With a budget of £600 million, its focus is to develop social enterprises. ‘It is easier to finance the work of charities’, Prior noticed. ‘However, it is possible to look for other solutions. For instance, to create jobs for people leaving prison a community asset fund was set up. Big Society Capital invested in it and now there are fifty comparable funds for over forty projects. But there should be co-finance.’
 
Big Society Capital is active in a strong civil society. The UK is third on the list of social entrepreneurs. ‘The biggest problem we face is that although strong start-up investment is always needed, ‘social angels’ are now needed even harder. But it takes time to create a social enterprise culture. Social investment will become more crucial than institutional investment.’

* Philanthropy Impact would like to thank Van Lanschot for generously hosting this roundtable and our Committee: Jacqueline Detiger, Beter Geven; Andrew Mackay, Van Lanschot; Jasmijn Melse, ABNAMRO MeesPierson for their support in producing this event.
 
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