April 2023 Social Impact News Roundup: Major Milestones for the Social Economy

Alexandra Nemeth

Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Storytelling at MovingWorlds

An Historic Moment for the Social Enterprise Movement

On April 18th, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution, “Promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development.” This is the first time that the social economy has been formally recognized in a U.N. resolution – an historic milestone for the social enterprise movement. To quote Francois Bonnici, “Social innovators, social entrepreneurs and other purpose-first businesses have been promoting and contributing to sustainable development for decades. It is fantastic news that this is now recognised in a UN resolution.” Learn more about these extraordinary leaders and organizations that are truly moving the needle on today’s challenges in Spring Impact’s new podcast, Mission to Scale.

The Role of the Private Sector In Realizing a Social Economy

Realizing the vision of a social economy is only possible with the participation of the private sector. Business Fights Poverty recently hosted a panel discussion about how businesses can accelerate social innovation within and outside of their organizations — key themes that emerged included empowering employees to drive positive change, the communities and individuals most impacted by social issues as vital partners, and importance of taking a systems-level approach (learn more in the summary here.) One form that can take is social procurement – as Supply Change shared in these key takeaways from the Social Procurement Festival, social suppliers are valuable sources of business innovation, key drivers of the workforce of the future, and directly contribute to the sustainability practices that consumers demand. 

Funding Solutions at the Intersection of Climate & Poverty

Most investments in climate change are top-down, with only 10% devoted to adaptation. This is insufficient for low-income and vulnerable households that need funding and access to technology to be more resilient. In its latest report, Swiss Capacity Building Facility explores how inclusive green finance is evolving rapidly to meet development challenges, delivering on the SDGs and addressing climate change. Similar discussions took place at the Skoll World Forum exploring how to fund for impact at scale with a focus on the climate/gender/poverty nexus – here are five recommended strategies for funders that emerged from that event. 

Social Impact Job Openings

Upcoming Events & New Programs

  • May 1-5: Catalyst 2030 is hosting its annual Catalyzing Change Week, with the theme of “Solutions From the Frontlines.” Learn more and register here.
  • May 4: Join Swiss Capacity Building Facility for a free webinar, “Digital health platform for increased financial inclusion in India: Insights and findings.” Learn more and register here
  • May 15: Deadline to submit a nomination for the Catalyst 2030 Awards For Systemic Change.
  • May 17: Join Tamarack Institute for a virtual workshop, “From Idea to Impact.” Learn more and register here
  • May 22: Deadline to apply for Changemakers for the Planet, open to young leader tackling climate and environmental issues in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa
  • May 26: Deadline for organizations to express interest in partnering with the Women in the Digital Economy Fund (Wi-DEF), a joint effort between USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress on closing the gender digital divide.
  • June 4: Deadline to submit your idea for a new business or NGO that delivers a proven poverty intervention at scale for the D-Prize, which will award the most promising designs with up to $20,000 USD
  • Ongoing: Our friends over at Social Impact Award have opened applications to their incubation program, open to young people between 14 and 30 looking to turn their impact idea into a successful enterprise. Learn more and apply in your country here.

Congratulations to…

  • Anuprerna Artisan Alliance for completing the Acumen Green Growth Accelerator Program, and publishing its latest impact report!
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands on being named the #13 Best Nonprofit and the #9 Best Small Nonprofit to Work for by The Nonprofit Times!
  • Dalberg, ANDE, 60 Decibels, and Upaya Social Ventures on launching the Dignified Jobs Collaborative, a coalition of impact organizations driving investment in dignified employment opportunities for those living in extreme poverty in emerging markets!
  • Empower HER Initiative on being named the winner of the NOW-Us (Nothing About Us without Us) Awards in Kenya!
  • Good to be Good on the publication of its Better Is Possible annual report!
  • Impact Force on the launch of its first Business Acceleration cohort in Ukraine with 25 selected finalists! 
  • Nazava Water Filters co-founder Lieselotte Heederik on being featured in a virtual side event from the 2023 UN Water Conference! 
  • Quantifying Nature on being nominated for the Earthshot Prize!
  • Ubongo on its new partnership with Lego Foundation! 
  • Wecyclers on closing a groundbreaking $2 million deal enabling it to collect over 30,000 tons of plastics from the environment, create close to 800 jobs, and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Nigerian waste management sector!

A Final Bit of Inspiration

“10 or 15 years ago, the narrative was a repeating loop answering the questions, What is social entrepreneurship? Why is it important?…With this recognition, the conversation firmly shifts to the initiatives, projects and institutional mechanisms that enable the how.”
Kerryn Krige, Senior Lecturer at The Marshall Institute at the London School of Economics, on the significance of the U.N. resolution promoting the social economy for sustainable development