There can be no doubt that the current health crisis is changing the way in which we all work.

Perhaps this is especially true for our impact practitioners. Those within our network are working tirelessly to create a positive impact on the various communities adversely affected by COVID-19. They are at the forefront, swiftly changing gears to tackle the unforeseen challenges the crisis has created, with innovative solutions.

We reached out to our network and asked our members how they and their communities are adapting to this ever-changing environment. Below is a roundup of some of their initiatives, and other beneficial resources for the social enterprise sector.

Keep an eye on this page as we will frequently update it with more initiatives, resources, and tools as they become available. At the end of the day, we are one large family and we are all in this together. Let’s continue to support each other and help society overcome these challenging times.

Good Practices

ACEVO

ACEVO has launched a campaign called #EveryDayCounts. Through this campaign, they are asking the United Kingdom government to provide emergency funding to help keep charities alive and enable them to continue to serve their communities.

They are preparing a list of charities that will be insignificant financial difficulties within the next few weeks if the chancellor does not act to support the sector.

Find out more about the campaign and how to participate in the campaign’s website.

ACOSVO

ACOSVO and its partners have created several resources to support the sector.

ACOSVO specifically is offering peer support for chief executives and senior leaders via their CEO weekly Zoom calls every Monday at 3PM. They are also hosting thematic areas and subgroups Zoom meetings in order to facilitate discussion and best practice. These meetings are generally Wednesday at 3PM and Fridays at 10AM each week.

The Zoom details of the CEO weekly Zoom calls and/ or the registration information for the thematic meetings can be viewed on their webpage. An analysis of the support calls is updated every week entitled, Insights: ACOSVO Leadership during COVID-19, which captures key themes, emerging issues, and more.

Other available resources include a free and confidential mentoring service via Zoom; Interim Executive Service, aimed at supporting an organisation where there is a temporary gap in leadership and/or support of Chief Officers or Senior Management; and Leadership Support Service, a two-hour free and confidential telephone support with an experienced counsellor, who has previous experience as a charity Chief Officer. For more information about these services and to fill out a referral form please visit the ACOSVO coronavirus webpage.

ACOSVO and its partners are also collecting information and resources that provide advice and support the voluntary sector on a dedicated page, Resources for Coping with COVID-19. To view a list of their compiled statements, articles and tools, blogs, and free educational offerings, including the Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub hosted by the Scottish Council Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

In the upcoming weeks, ACOSVO will publish case studies and blogs from their members and they will also begin to gather lessons learned and future thinking.

Social Enterprise Hour

Every Wednesday on Twitter at 9 PM using the hashtag #SocEntIRL, the Irish Social Enterprise Network will host the Social Enterprise Hour. The campaign is an effort to boost solidarity and visibility of the diverse offerings of the Social Enterprise Community in Ireland. During this hour, the efforts made by social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and social innovators throughout the country will be highlighted.

Social Enterprise Institute

They offer a range of online social enterprise courses, on subjects such as Steps to Start-up, Impact Practice and Investment Readiness, as well as foundational online training packages and the option for personalised online learning and coaching. These are all fee-based.

Coronavirus Innovation Map

Coronavirus Innovation Map by StartupBlink, is a platform of hundreds of innovations and solutions from around the world that help people cope and adapt to life amid the pandemic and to connect innovators.

It is a visualized global database that is mapping the innovations related to tackling coronavirus in various fields such as diagnostics, treatment, lifestyle changes, etc., on a geographical scale.

Social Enterprise World Forum

SEWF has compiled an extensive list of Social enterprise responses to coronavirus, which highlight cases of social enterprises responding to the pandemic from around the world and include structural responses by governments and other ecosystem supporters. 

Social Enterprise UK

The Social Enterprise UK is offering free webinars to social enterprises on some of the key issues surrounding coronavirus on their website. Some of the topics covered include Human Resources, such as the Job Retention Scheme, and Business Continuity Planning.

SEUK has also launched an online forum to bring the community together to share their experiences regarding the pandemic, to discuss important topics, and to post offers and calls for help.

Financial Solutions

Coronavirus Global Response

Forty governments who participated in ‘The Global Goal: Unite for our Future’ summit, organized by the European Commission and Global Citizen, mobilised an additional €6.15 billion in funding to help develop and ensure equitable access to coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments. The money raised will also support economic recovery in the world’s most fragile regions and communities. The latest pledges bring the total of available funding to almost €16 billion.

To read the official statement here.

Commission and  European Investment Fund unlock €8 billion in finance for SMEs

The European Commission has unlocked €8 billion from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) that will serve as a guarantee to the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group.

This will allow the EIF to issue special guarantees to incentivise banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and others hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full announcement here.

Action Against Corona

Action Against Corona is providing capital and support to startups, projects, or initiatives working to improve the situation.

They are currently looking for innovative, time-sensitive solutions that can directly address issues caused by coronavirus. They are best placed to support tech-enabled solutions with the potential for scalability and sustainability. They are looking for evidence that the solution contributes beyond existing solutions currently available.

Projects they are not able to support with capital are:

  • Projects in the idea phase
  • projects related to the distribution of resources, e.g. food, sanitiser
  • Projects that require a critical mass of users to be effective 
  • Projects that are unable to justify the use of funds; projects related to the distribution of information regarding the virus in geographies with ample and accurate government or media information

CASE at Duke’s COVID19 Capital Relief Resource

This is a comprehensive, searchable database that includes grants, loans, and other forms of investment that can help entrepreneurs, non-profits, and businesses anywhere in the world.

Charities Aid Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Fund

The Charities Aid Foundation has a Coronavirus Emergency Fund that is open for small charities and organisations in need of urgent money to help keep them going.

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE)

Their How to prepare for coronavirus ’ section provides links to resources for social enterprises, small charities, and community projects, including on finance and funding, government support, continuity planning, and more. Also, check out their range of online courses to help you develop your charity or social enterprise. 

Open Road Alliance

To help alleviate the effects of the pandemic on the impact sector, Open Road Alliance is offering charitable grants and loans to those in need of emergency capital. 

All their grants and loans will be subject to their traditional criteria:

They only make a loan or grant to an organisation that is (1) otherwise fully funded, then (2) hit by an unexpected, external roadblock (i.e. COVID-19), where (3) their loan can fully solve the problem at hand and (4) demonstrate the potential to create catalytic impact. In this time of exceptional need, they will be prioritising impact. 

More information regarding the types of loans available and the application criteria is available on their website

COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs

 

Forty leading organisations have formed a new alliance, COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, with the World Economic Forum to help social entrepreneurs overcome the impacts of COVID-19. Members have already mobilised USD $75 million to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

The alliance will feature a searchable database of available emergency relief funds and looks to catalyse a global conversation about building a more equitable. 

More Good Practices

Pioneers Post

Pioneers Post has created a page dedicated to COVID-19 story collection on their website to help facilitate the gathering and sharing of social enterprise stories and information. They ask for people to keep sending their news, insights, and opinions to keep the page up-to-date. Their Twitter feed is also a great source of information.

In addition, the effort above, they are also sharing stories and resources gathered from other networks, such as the launch of the COVID-19 Resource Hub for Charities & Social Enterprises by Good Finance. This database has a wide range of tools including webinars, operational guidance and support, funding and investment guidance, and pro bono support. At this time, the information appears to be UK-centric.

The Pioneers Post, of course, will continue to publish stories, analyse, and interviews unrelated to the pandemic.

Help Pioneers Post, themselves a social enterprise, continue to deliver ‘impact journalism’ with a subscription

Social Enterprise NL

Simone Van Dijk of Social Enterprise NL, has seen an energetic response in the Dutch social enterprise sector with many of their members setting up initiatives to continue making an impact.

One such example is from their member GoodUp, who recently launched the Corona Care Community platform. It matches people who are in need of help with help providers. Social Enterprise NL provides as much visibility as possible for these initiatives by keeping track of them online and sharing them through their social media channels. They also have started a campaign using the hashtag #buysocialjuistnu to encourage the procurement of goods or services from social enterprises in times of hardship.

Within Social Enterprise NL, they are also offering their membership program online.  Their membership programma team is gathering the needs of their partners and working to create 1-on-1 support opportunities for their members by matching them with mentors. Online workshops are also available such as Impact Basics and Positioning & Digitale Strategie.

In addition to these efforts, some of their trainers are organizing personal online ‘advice-hours’ and members are working to develop online sessions about sector-specific themes, which will be announced once plans are finalized.

Finally, a partner and renowned audit firm PricewaterhouseCoppers (PwC), will launch a digital help desk where social entrepreneurs can obtain all kinds of administrative and strategic advice.

Social Impact Award

Move Online

There has been a quick shift in their activity format, says Jakob Detering Manager Director of Social Impact Award (SIA). Throughout March, April and May, SIA had planned to run around 250 physical workshops in 16 countries at more than 100 locations. This of course is now being re-evaluated and moved online when possible.

In fact, much of their offerings will now consist of webinars. The most basic of which is an introductory webinar to social entrepreneurship, under one hour long. The sessions will be run by the local country teams and will provide an overview of the social enterprise field, with as many tangible examples of social ventures as possible. Other webinars will also be available to help participants throughout the entire development process.

Partnerships

Another way that they are weathering the storm, and providing opportunities for their members and participants is through partnerships. They have created partnerships with other social enterprises for example with the Social Enterprise Institute in Canada and Social Entrepreneurial Akademie (SEA) in Munich, Germany. These groups offer various online tools, resources, and curriculum for young entrepreneurs to explore ranging from the ideation stage to business model development and beyond.

One message Jakob would like to share with social entrepreneurs:

“Yes, the situation is difficult. Many are struggling, but it’s important not to act impulsively. Stay calm, and observe the situation. By all means, do the immediate changes that have to be done. But it is still early enough to make long-term decision later. Also, let’s remember that there are plenty of opportunities in this situation for us. Now is the time to strengthen our online presence with different online formats and platforms. Take the opportunity to build, test, and evaluate – a process which will help everyone after COVID-19.”

UN Innovation Network COVID-19 Special Edition

The UN Innovation Network is an informal, collaborative network of innovators from UN Agencies.

In this COVID-19 Special Edition of the Quarterly Innovation Update, the Network shows how many UN Entities are leveraging innovative approaches to respond to the pandemic.

The edition provides numerous innovative examples within six different areas: Exploring and Applying Technology; Leveraging Innovative Approaches; Supporting Teams; Supporting Member States; Publications, Podcasts, and Virtual Events; and Innovation Challenges & Calls.

COVID Action Platform via World Economic Forum

The spread of COVID-19 demands global cooperation among governments, international organisations, and the business community. This multistakeholder cooperation is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

In this context, the COVID Action Platform will focus on three priorities:

  • Galvanize the global business community for collective action
  • Protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business
  • Mobilise cooperation and business for the COVID-19 response

 

Get Involved

We will continue to update this space with more initiatives and information as it becomes available. If you have a tip or resource you would like to share, please contact us.