CSR Explained: Who needs enterprise support?

In your business’s CRS or social investment actions, the people on whom you focus support will probably be the first choice you make once you’ve identified the impact you want to create. You may already have a specific group in mind when deciding your objectives, but more often than not there is more than one approach to any challenge and the possibilities may surprise you. Here we explain some of the key groups through which you can support entrepreneurship.

In the Santa Marta favela of Rio de Janeiro, one entrepreneur has been using the power of the sun to improve the lives of the community. Installing solar panels to provide free, reliable energy for the local nursery, Henrique Drummond’s Insolar project enabled them to care for children after dark, empowering local families to work longer hours and bring more money into the community. An inspiring piece of problem-solving, it demonstrates how thoughtful investment in the barriers to economic opportunity people encounter can create real, valuable change. But how do businesses identify where their money is best spent?

 

Start-ups and entrepreneurs

Possible the most instinctive way of supporting entrepreneurship is to support those who want to start a business to do so or to help those in the fledgling stage of their venture to make it a success; either by working with entrepreneurs directly or by working with the organisations that provide experienced support such as enterprise agencies or business centres. Often all it takes is an extra helping hand to make their business idea a sustainable success, be that through mentoring, training in areas they lack skills, signposting to services or networking opportunities.

 

 

“Contributing to an encouraging public voice helps young people overcome their fears of failure and undermines perceived barriers.”

 

 

Businesses scaling-up

Over recent years in the UK, there has been an increased focus on the lack of support for businesses scaling-up. This focus is partly in response to the comparatively low productivity of the region in comparison to Europe and a consequence of so much attention previously being placed on getting people started up. CSR programmes helping SME’s to fulfil their potential is a way of driving economic growth and job creation within an area or sector.

 

Disadvantaged communities

Barriers to entrepreneurship often aren’t always related to the process of starting or scaling a business. Tackling the root causes of people not fulfilling their entrepreneurial potential is an alternative way of supporting your CSR objectives. Confidence, cultural expectations, education and opportunity can create barriers or the perception of barriers. Supporting individuals from disadvantaged communities can involve helping people to overcome complex, social conditions – but simple, thoughtful solutions can often make a huge impact, as demonstrated by Insolar’s work.

 

The next generation

Championing the value of entrepreneurship and promoting it as an accessible, positive career choice amongst the next generation of entrepreneurs is a simple way to make an impact. Self-confidence and cultural attitudes to entrepreneurship have a powerful influence on how realistic running a business can be percieved to be and contributing to an encouraging public voice helps young people overcome their fears of failure and undermines perceived barriers.

 

Those measuring success

Hands-on support isn’t the only route to supporting entrepreneurship, research plays an enormous role in identifying the barriers that people across the world are experiencing, identifying their causes and the best ways to solve them. Supporting and contributing to this work is a truly valuable way of helping overcome specific challenges or contributing to the broader entrepreneurship support landscape.

 

Organisations who work with the above

There are thousands of organisations across the country, large and small, who can support your CSR projects with groups of people facing barriers to entrepreneurship, including us. Working with one of these organisations is a great way for businesses to reach these group with the support of expertise and experience, and who are truly passionate about their work. Your local LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) or the National Enterprise Network directory are good places to start if you are seeking to work with this kind of organisation on a CSR project.