The Life-Savers Now Need Saving

The Life-Savers Now Need Saving

July 3, 2020

Corona has already delivered a punishing blow in Germany. In developing countries, it’s hitting like a Tsunami. The economy has been brought to its knees. Half a billion people could slip deeper into poverty. Social businesses are part of the solution.

Alive and Kicking is a social business producing footballs, and employs over 1,000 people in Kenya, Ghana and Zambia. Mutinta Mwangi*, for example, is a mother of three who has been making footballs for fair wages for seven years. As Mutinta is deaf, finding stable work is near-impossible for her. Now, due to the Corona crisis, she is at risk of losing her hard-earned income.

After just one Corona case was registered in Kenya, the country cancelled all events, closed the borders, cancelled all flights and enforced home office. The region had learned from Ebola to act quickly. From one day to the next, Alive and Kicking, along with thousands of other small African businesses, lost its revenues.

To fight off bankruptcies in Germany, finance minister Olaf Scholz is employing a financial “bazuka.” And even that doesn’t make it into the hands of every SME. By comparison, African Heads of State with limited financial means can offer at most a “fly-swatter.” In Europe, we worry about the poorly protected 35 million newly unemployed Americans. For street traders and small farmers in Africa, words like “furlough” or “unemployment benefits” are alien concepts. 85 percent of the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa are informal workers. Anyone who loses their income falls into a void.

On top of the health crisis, an economic super-crisis threatens, which will hit developing countries especially hard. According to estimates by the UN, 500 million people could slip further into poverty; 250 million people could die of starvation.

SOCIAL BUSINESSES NEED HELP

So what is the solution? Social businesses can contribute in a very targeted way. These are companies that, through generating income, solve a problem. They are the social net that exists where governments fail. They create incomes for the poorest and provide them with essential services such as health care, education, drinking water, etc. Fleximedical, for example, provides “doctor practices on wheels,” with medical advice, diagnoses and important operations in poor rural areas of Brazil where the state health service fails. The company is now itself in need, as the necessary investments into Corona tests and respirators have led them to acute liquidity pressures.

These life-savers now need a safety net themselves. That’s why my organisation Yunus Social Business this month co-initiated, together with the World Economic Forum, a global alliance of 40+ organisations to support social enterprises through this crisis. This group represents 15,000 social enterprises that reach 1.5 billion people in 190 countries. On the growing list of organisations are: Ashoka, Bertelsmann Foundation, Ikea Foundation, SAP, Schwab Foundation. Skoll Foundation, USAID. The goal is to mobilise bridge liquidity for social enterprises and efficiently coordinate support programmes. Over 75 million dollars were already disbursed by the members of the alliance in the last four weeks, partly in the form of a simplified furlough scheme. The alliance is also providing access to contacts and helping to adapting business models as part of its support.

However, private aid can only ever be the beginning. Government funds, both from donor countries and the affected developing countries, must be urgently paid to social enterprises in a targeted, and thus cost-efficient, way. The American development agency USAID is already doing so. Over the course of the refugee crisis, Germany recognised that it is in its own self-interest to invest in Africa. The Corona crisis is only exacerbating this.

The survival of companies such as Alive & Kicking is essential for the poor demographic groups that they serve. What’s more, they are a prime example of the better post-Corona capitalism which we all desire. Fortunately, they are receiving funding from Yunus Social Business and can continue to deliver their important work. The world is currently at a cross-roads which will decide how our planet will look for the next generation. We cannot afford to lose the businesses of the future.

*name changed

Originally published in German in Capital Magazine. Written by Yunus Social Business Co-founder & CEO Saskia Bruysten.

Previous post

There is no previous post

Next Post

There is no next post

Yunus Social Business participate in Social Business Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh and online

YSB-Albania participated in three regional seminars

YSB, Virgin Unite & Clinton Foundation Launch Haiti Forest Initiative!

YSB & AfDB launch HSBM in Africa during National Conference

Saskia speaker at launch event of the Global Impact Insitute in London in July

Saskia nominated as Young Leader of the German-American network Atlantik Brücke

Saskia Bruysten at Hong Kong Social Entrepreneuship Summit (SES) 2012

Grameen Danone Foods Ltd – Nutrition

Muhammad Yunus: Interview with the Economist

Prof. Yunus and YSB in New York

Read our first blog in the Huffington Post!

Membership into EVPA

Grand Opening: Ferme Avicole Entrepreneurs Sociaux de Nicolas

The Power of Social Business - A report co-authored by BCG and Yunus Social Business

Saskia Our CEO in 'The Wired Smart List 2013'

Singularity University and YSB Partner To Impact Global Development

Interview with YSB's CEO Saskia Bruysten in Remarkable Magazine

YSB partners with BCG to advance social business

Interview with our CEO Saskia Bruysten in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Berliner Morgenpost Interview with Saskia and Sophie

Research: The Power of Social Business

Our Training Week 2018: Hyderabad & Bengaluru

Prof. Muhammad Yunus Releases New Book "A World Of Three Zeros"

Our Week In Davos

A Warm Welcome to Berlin: The Office Launch Party

Yunus addresses 1,300 youth leaders at One Young World Summit in Bangkok

First National Conference on Social Business held in Albania

YSB presents the Social Success Note in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation

Prof. Yunus visits Haiti Oct. 12-15

YSB 10 Years Celebration: Here's What Happened!

10 Years Of Social Business: Anniversary Report

Yunus Social Business Turns 10 Years Old!

6 Female Founders Changing the World with Social Business.

We've been featured in the Hauck & Aufhäuser Magazine (German)

The Need of the Hour Amid COVID-19

Join Yunus Social Business on the Global Climate Strike this Friday!

Why Now? Is the Social Business Movement Reaching A Tipping Point?

Ist „#Social“ das neue „#Digital“? Unsere Gründerin Saskia Bruysten schreibt in Capital Magazin

What are the Yunus Social Business team listening to? We list our favourite podcasts.

It goes without saying, we are living through unprecedented times.

Corona Pandemic: Time Is Running Out Fast, A Letter From Prof. Muhammad Yunus

Yunus Social Business Co-Initiates New Alliance With World Economic Forum to Help Social Entrepreneu

“Going Back to That World Is Equal to Committing Suicide.” - Professor Muhammad Yunus on the Opportu

The Quick Social Business Christmas Gift Guide

The Life-Savers Now Need Saving

COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, Initiated by YSB and WEF’s Schwab Foundation

Building The COVID-19 Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs

YSB Launches Coursera Courses: Education For A World of Three Zeroes

“I Was Truly Blown Away When I Heard the News” - Yunus Social Business Has Distributed 650k USD to H

Since the COVID-19 crisis began in January this year, we at Yunus Social Business have been acutely aware of the potential threat it poses to the populations we support. While governments in wealthy European countries have been subsidising employee salaries, this has not been the case for the emerging countries in which our portfolio Social Businesses operate.

Our Investment Readiness Programme in Kampala

The invitation-only workshop was designed for businesses that YSB believes could be ready for investment in the near-term - with the right in-depth feedback on the overall business fundamentals.

15 social business entrepreneurs graduate from YSB Uganda accelerator

Fifteen entrepreneurs have graduated from the first ever Yunus Social Business (YSB) accelerator programme.

Meet the Eight Startups selected by the MAN Impact Accelerator for its second cohort!

In August we began scouting for the second round of the MAN Impact accelerator, searching for impact-driven and purpose-led startups in mobility and logistics.

CURAFA™ integrated points of care: An integrated primary healthcare platform in Kenya

People in rural and peri-urban Kenya are lacking access to high-quality healthcare and medication. Less than 5% of Kenya’s GDP is spent on healthcare and only 17% of Kenyans have health insurance coverage. With 46% of the country’s population living below the poverty line, Kenyans are particularly vulnerable to financial catastrophe when facing health issues.

What Do Milk Farming and Ambulances Have in Common? Meet the Start-ups

We live in a world where giants like Uber and Amazon are disrupting logistics and pushing the boundaries between reality and science fiction.

Cookie Consent

We use cookies to provide necessary website functionality, improve your experience and analyze our traffic. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our cookies usage.