3 important lessons from 20 years of working with social entrepreneurs

Hilde Schwab 2018

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 26JAN13 – Hilde Schwab (L), Chairperson and Co-Founder Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Switzerland and Klaus Schwab (R), Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum listen to the Session ‘The Global Agenda 2013’ at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 26, 2013..

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, World Economic Forum Geneva

For the past two decades, well before social entrepreneurship was the mainstream concept it is today, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has been identifying, showcasing and supporting the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. It has provided them with the platform to scale and replicate their solutions in partnership with other crucial stakeholders of the World Economic Forum.

It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to expedite and amplify the work of social entrepreneurs in the Schwab Foundation’s global community. It’s hard to believe this year is the Schwab Foundation’s 20th anniversary – I feel like our work has only just begun.

On our 20th anniversary, I am proud to announce the Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 awardees: 12 leaders at the helm of 11 organizations working in some of the most challenging places on the planet.

As we celebrate their achievements, and call on decision-makers, funders and the media to support their efforts, here are some of the insights I’ve gleaned from working with social entrepreneurs in the past 20 years.

1. They need international legitimacy and visibility

Despite all the buzz now surrounding the sector, most social entrepreneurs work in relative obscurity. In a crowded media landscape, it’s hard to break through the noise and get their message heard. Profiling social entrepreneurs in World Economic Forum plenary sessions with heads of state and other high-profile leaders is the kind of visibility that generates media attention and often leads to new grant funders, investors or government partners.

2. Despite the sector’s growing cache, they remain beleaguered by unhelpful misconceptions

Social entrepreneurs combine the mission, dedication and compassion to serve low-income or marginalized people with business principles and the best techniques from the private sector. But that does not mean they’re heroes or martyrs nor are they running highly profitable businesses or “making money off the back of the poor”. Such outdated and ideological thinking should be relegated to the history books as we seek collaborative, scalable solutions to address the most complex social and environmental problems of our age.

3. They need a community of kindred spirits

The Schwab Foundation’s social entrepreneurs love participating in Davos and the peer-to-peer access it gives them to top business and political leaders. But what they really cherish most is the opportunity to spend time with fellow social entrepreneurs, who form part of a tight-knit community. They celebrate each other’s achievements, learn from each other’s successes and setbacks, and help each other recover from devastating failures. In our community, they feel heard, seen, and understood – because, of course, no one understands their highs and lows as well as another social entrepreneur.

I have always said that social entrepreneurs are my role models. Collectively they have transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, providing education, opportunity, livelihoods and dignity. The Schwab Foundation’s 2018 Social Entrepreneur of the Year award winners are no exception and to all of them I say: “Congratulations and welcome to your tribe.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU funds must reach media and creative sector, say MEPs

4 ways the circular economy can help heavy industry reduce emissions

Inclusion and diversity isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for the bottom line

Hunger and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean compounded by inequality: UN report

Drugs cost too much. There is a better way to fund medical innovation

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

Thailand gave healthcare to its entire population and the results were dramatic

European Commission adopts new list of third countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes

Young people struggling in digital world, finds latest OECD PISA survey

Botswana has decriminalized gay sex. But, it’s still illegal in 70 countries

Cultural leaders envision a post-COVID world

State aid: Commission approves €50 million Italian support scheme for production and supply of medical equipment and masks during Coronavirus outbreak

Britain’s May won the first round on the Brexit agreement with the EU

Pandemics are here to stay. Here’s how to prepare for the next one

Anti-vaccination scaremongering: What should we know about anti-vaccine argument?

How personalized care can tackle the late-life loneliness epidemic

GSMA Announces New Keynote Speakers, Event Updates for 2019 “MWC Los Angeles, in Partnership with CTIA”

FROM THE FIELD: New sensors protect vulnerable Malawians against deadly lightning

Unequal burden: how the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to women’s workloads

“What a Wonderful World”: the unsettled relationship between Climate Change and Human Health

Robots, Artificial intelligence and Dentistry

Can the Tokyo Olympics help bring the world together?

Impacts of COVID-19: lessons and strategies for the future

Ebola in DR Congo: New transmission chain risks reversing major gains

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Mental Health: In Times of COVID-19

The unpleasant truth of plastic straws

‘Jerusalem is not for sale’ Palestinian President Abbas tells world leaders at UN Assembly

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

European Border and Coast Guard: Council adopts revised regulation

UN chief appeals for calm as Mali presidential election draws to a close

Fairer, simpler, more flexible EU farm policy: MEPs vote on post-2020 reform

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

‘We need to do more’ to transform the world, deputy UN chief tells African audiences

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

Long-term EU budget: It is not possible to do more with less, say MEPs

How TV has brought mental health issues into the light – and helped to banish stigma

Trade Committee advocates lower tariffs in Western Sahara

UN chief welcomes South Sudan’s Unity government, lauds parties for ‘significant achievement’

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

One-third of young people still optimistic despite COVID’s dramatic hit on education and jobs

Earth already has a perfect recycling system. So why not use it?

Financing fossil fuels risks a repeat of the 2008 crash. Here’s why

Here’s why the tech sector could be the next target for Chinese investment in Africa

Asia-Pacific showing ‘decisive leadership’ on road to 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, deputy UN chief tells key forum

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission receives mandate to begin negotiations with the UK

‘Stronger’ effort must be made to cement peace deal for South Sudanese women and girls: UN Women chief

Why sustainable packaging is good for profits as well as the planet

Polish de facto ban on abortion puts women’s lives at risk, says Parliament

2018 Sakharov laureate Oleg Sentsov receives his award

Science leads the response to COVID-19. These 25 scientists are tackling the other global challenges

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

Cybersecurity should be a source of hope, not fear. Here are 5 reasons why

Use “blockchain” model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens, urge MEPs

UN chief welcomes resolution to 27-year-old disagreement over renaming the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Africa-Europe Alliance: two new financial guarantees under the EU External Investment Plan

We need a global convention to end workplace sexual harassment

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s