Social Enterprise Day 2021: benefits for people, business and planet
We are living in a time of radical change for business – when traditional models are losing their relevance, and the market is signalling that it is time for innovative business solutions and social enterprises can fill this niche by offering a more innovative approach to business.
Every year on the third Thursday of November, the world celebrates International Social Enterprise Day, and 2021 will be the third time that Lithuania is participating. On 18 November, the virtual conference “Social Enterprise Day 2021” will take place, where experts and business practitioners will share their experiences and insights on the benefits that robust social enterprises bring to society.
“The pandemic has been a catalyst for labour market change and business transformation, and for some time, we have seen people wanting to engage in activities that have a deeper meaning for society. Businesses want to create more value for society, and not just make a profit. This challenging period when countries are dealing with pandemic public health problems is a chance for us to do better and finally take part in activities that actually create a positive impact on those around us,” says Jurgita Ribinskaitė-Glatzer, founder of Geri Norai LT and organiser of the Social Enterprise Day 2021 conference.
Viktorija Bražiūnaitė, Head of the Lithuanian Social Business Association, points out that the recent crises have fundamentally changed the world we live in, and it is clear that the public sector is no longer able to adapt to the changes. It has become vital to empower citizens to contribute to solving the problems that society faces.
“Social enterprises play this role well as confirmed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, outperforming other industrial sectors in recent crises and creating up to 12 percent of jobs while tackling major societal challenges. Moreover, the scale and impact of these enterprises tackling societal problems is enormous – there are 2.8 million social business organisations in Europe alone,” said Ms Braziūnaitė.
Helen Nilsson (The Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania)
Jurgita Ribinskaitė – Glatzer (Geri norai LT)
While the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly felt by the most vulnerable groups– women, young people, people with disabilities and many others – changing societal priorities and the exploration of new business models may offer an opportunity for members of less-protected groups.
“Our previous work, including the Child Friendly City hackathon, has highlighted that youth can be a great source of ideas and an unparalleled driver for change. They present new solutions for the societal and environmental challenges we face as well as suggest improvements for existing processes. They are willing to create and start businesses more innovatively or look for sustainable and innovative employees. The Nordic-Baltic region must take the lead in ensuring that children and young people thrive and contribute to raising children’s perspectives and making their voices heard,” said Helen Nilsson, Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania.
The mission of modern business goes far beyond ‘making a million,’ and trends show that businesses are looking for ways to create more positive community benefits through their development.
“Social enterprises bring more meaning to Lithuania’s business ecosystem, and show that business can make not only a profit but also create a positive impact on society or the environment. The benefits of social business are undeniable – such businesses help to involve people in community activities, respond to the needs of vulnerable groups, and complement the range and accessibility of public services,” summarises Inga Juozapavičienė, Director of the Entrepreneurship Department at Versli Lietuva.
How social business is changing modern society will be discussed at the virtual conference “Social Business Day 2021” on 18 November.
The conference is organised by Geri Norai LT. The project is part of the Active Citizens Fund, funded by the EEA Financial Mechanism. You can read the programme for Social Entrepreneurship Day 2021 and register here . The conference is free of charge.