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How to create value by the joint action of companies and social entrepreneurs

Posted: Monday 23 March 15, 9.44am GMT

For the first time in Spain over 40 companies worked together with eight European social entrepreneurs with the aim of creating cost-effective, high-impact partnerships between social and private sectors ; the Hybrid Value Chains. March 12, 2015, Madrid

The conference was organized by Ashoka Sharing Opportunities, Seres and BEINGS Foundation. The aim was to find cost-effective and high social impact between private companies and social entrepreneurs alliances.Eight social entrepreneurs from the international network of Ashoka shared their goals and opportunities with companies.

Corporate Social Responsibility is only a small part of the whole potential of the private sector to change the world. Through this conference and a collaborative working methodology, Ashoka and Seres Foundation sought ways of solving major social problems through intersectorial collaborations, putting private companies in the center of the solution during the event “Sharing Opportunities”.
“Companies should pursue the creation of shared value, solving social problems while generating economic value. To achieve this, it is essential to create partnerships that maximize impact”, states Lucila Garcia, executive manager at Seres Foundation. “Hybrid chains, unite the strength of organisations with the knowledge and methodologies of social entrepreneurs, in order to achieve a stronger society”.

“By its nature, a single company, government or social organisation cannot address social challenges alone. The business sector has strengths that are valuable to the social sector, and vice versa”, explains Javier Olaguibel, department coordinator Ashoka companies in Spain. “What we want is that both businesses and social entrepreneurs join forces to generate social impact while generating economic returns for both parties”.

This collaboration is a powerful mix that allows companies to provide a more empathic and long-term access to competitive advantages (innovation, cost savings, new markets …) vision, while social entrepreneurs can leverage resources and scalability of the most influential companies.

Seres Foundation and Ashoka’s global network put together Social Entrepreneurs, like Miguel Neiva, of ColorADD, or Guillame Bapst, of epiceries Solidaires, among others, and companies like BBVA, Axa, Pascual or Endesa.

PwC Pierre Buffet spoke of “shared value”, stressing the importance of hybrid chains and the need to treat these partnerships as part of the strategy. As an example of a successful partnership, Caritas Barcelona and BBVA presented the Social Housing Program.

There are already pioneering examples of Hybrid Value Chains or alliances between social entrepreneurs and companies, for example:

SAP and Specialisterne

Specialisterne is the first social enterprise in the world able to take advantage of special abilities of people with autism, Asperger syndrome and similar diagnoses. It is transforming the way society perceives autism demonstrating great attention to detail and excellent memory of this group are a great comparative advantage in finding work. Specialisterne employs people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and offers services based on their strengths (check software or data conversion for example).
SAP is a leading company that develops software products for business management. SAP and Specialisterne have a global agreement for hiring people with ASD. In the first pilots, they demonstrated that they are able to reduce errors in testing Software by 4.5%. Both social and economic success of these early experiences in Ireland, India, Canada and USA, has led SAP to commit to that by 2020, 1% of its workforce (650 employees) are people with ASD.

ColorADD and Viarco

ColorADD, the Ashoka Fellow in Portugal, Miguel Neiva, has driven hybrid chains with more than 10 companies (including the clothing brand Zippy, the Porto Metro and Supermarkets Continent) making their products more accessible to colorblind people. One example is its alliance with Viarco, a Portuguese manufacturer of pencils.
Viarco and ColorADD have co-created the first range of crayons for color blind people. Through this alliance has not only fostered greater integration of color blind children in schools, Viarco has found a new market, with 220,000 pencils sold in 20 different countries.

Ashoka is the largest international network of social entrepreneurs. A global, independent non-profit organization that is leading the commitment to innovation and social entrepreneurship, building a society of citizens who are actors of change: change makers organization. Ashoka supports the work of over 3,000 social entrepreneurs in 84 countries. Spain, currently supports 26.

Posted by
Aroa Campo

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