- Social entrepreneurs solve market and government failures by serving excluded and vulnerable populations, which are most at risk to impacts of COVID-19.
- Decades of work in the impact sector are at stake during the economic crisis.
- A new alliance of 40 organizations aims to coordinate response to support social entrepreneurs.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the systemic inequalities of our global economic system, and threatening progress towards equality and the advancement of human rights.
The UN University estimated that the economic fallout could push an estimated half a billion people into poverty and take global development progress back three decades, primarily in emerging economies. In higher income countries, stimulus packages are unlikely to reach those already excluded from the economic mainstream. Last week, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned that the steep decline in the ability to work and operate due to the pandemic is threating the livelihoods of 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy, almost half of the global workforce.
Social innovators and social entrepreneurs have been working to solve market failures and demonstrate more sustainable models to build inclusive economies for years. The Schwab Foundation 2020 Impact Report “Two Decades of Impact” demonstrated how the network of 400 leading social innovators and entrepreneurs it supports have improved the lives of more than 622 million people, protecting livelihoods, driving movements for social inclusion and environmental sustainability, and providing improved access to health, sanitation, education and energy.
From providing reliable information, services and care for the most vulnerable, to developing community tracing initiatives or mental health support through mobile phones, the work of social entrepreneurs is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they reach those who the market and governments are unable to account for.