Social enterprise – a part of global business model?
I recently visited the Federation of Estonian Student Unions (EÜL) for a film project aiming at promoting social business models. The visit got me thinking about the importance of cross-border collaboration for social enterprises. EÜL is an organization that distributes the ISIC card in Estonia. ISIC card is an international identification document mainly for students and teachers. It gives various discounts for its users they might have not gotten otherwise. For example – university students get access to lower prices from many stores and restaurants. EÜL´s profit from selling ISIC cards is reinvested into advocacy activities to improve socioeconomic situation of university students and the quality of higher education. Federation of Estonian Student Unions is a great example of not only cooperating internationally, but being a part of global value chain, financing important national activities with representing a well-recognized international brand!
Any social enterprise should at least think about global opportunities. The reasons?
- Export can be and usually is a source of higher income. Widening their sales network outside the country of origin gives social enterprises simply more money to support the well-being of their local target group.
- ISIC card is a an excellent example of not having the need to reinvent the wheel. Of course, the term “social innovation” is cool. But – what´s truly important is to earn enough money to reach your societal aims. Global brands can free you from many of the pains of being “a social start-up” and concentrate on selling something that´s already proven itself on the market.
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