Saskia Bruysten, is co-founder and CEO of Yunus Social Business – it supports social enterprises in developing countries in solving local problems economically. Personal-Financial.com chose it among Germany’s top 40 under 40 in 2019.
Corona demands a lot from us even in Germany. Developing countries are like
overwhelmed by a tsunami. The economy is on its knees. Half a billion people
could slide even further into poverty. Social business is part of the solution.
Alive and Kicking is a social business that makes soccer balls. The company employs in
Kenya, Ghana and Zambia several hundred people. Mutinta Mwangi * for example,
Mother of three, has been making soccer balls for a fair wage for seven years. Mutinta is deaf. Otherwise she wouldn’t have found a job. Now it’s hard because of the Corona crisis
earned income at risk.
A single corona case was reported because all events in Kenya were canceled, borders
closed, flights canceled, home office arranged. The region had through Ebola
learned to act quickly. Alive and Kicking and thousands of African sales
Small businesses broke away overnight.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz uses a financial “bazuka” to fight bankruptcies in Germany. And even that doesn’t go down well with every SME. On the other hand, African heads of government can only offer one fly swatter with their limited financial resources. We are worried about the poorly secured 35 million new American unemployed in Europe. Words like “short-time work” or “unemployment aid” are foreign words for street vendors or small farmers in Africa. 85 percent of the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa is informal. Anyone who loses their income falls into nothing.
In addition to the health crisis, there is an imminent economic crisis, in particular
Developing countries will roll over like a tsunami. According to UN estimates, 500 million people could slide deeper into poverty, and 250 million could simply starve.
Social enterprises need help
But what is the solution? Social business can make a very targeted contribution
Afford. These are companies that solve a social problem through their business. you are
the social safety net where the state fails. They create income for the poorest
and provide them with vital offers such as health care,
Education, drinking water, etc. Fleximedical e.g. brings through their “medical practices on wheels”
medical advice, diagnoses and important operations in poor rural regions in
Brazil, where government health care fails. The company is now in need,
because the necessary investment in corona tests and ventilators to acute
These lifesavers now need a rescue package themselves. That’s why my organization Yunus Social Business, together with the World Economic Forum, launched a global alliance of 40+ organizations this month
To support social enterprises through this crisis. This group represents over 15,000
Social entrepreneurs that reach 1.5 billion people in 190 countries. On the
growing list of organizations, including Ashoka, Bertelsmann Foundation,
Ikea Foundation, SAP, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundation, USAID. The goal is short term
To mobilize bridging funds and liquidity aid for social enterprises and
coordinate the aid programs efficiently. Over $ 75 million was raised by the
Alliance members have already been made available in the last four weeks, some in
Form of a simplified short-time work allowance. But also access to contacts and help
when the business models are adjusted.
However, private help can only be a start. Government funds from donor countries as well as from the developing countries concerned must be paid to social enterprises in a targeted and cost-effective manner. The American development agency USAID is already there. Germany has recognized in the course of the refugee crisis that it must also invest in Africa in the self-interest. The corona crisis only exacerbates this.
The survival of Fleximedical and Alive & Kicking is essential for the poor
Population groups that care for them. They are also dazzling examples of
the better post-corona capitalism that we all want. Fortunately
get both liquidity aids from Yunus Social Business and can continue theirs
do important work. The world is at a turning point right now
decides how our planet will be shaped for the next generation. We can do it
can’t afford to lose the businesses of the future.
* Name changed