Scaling up social enterprise
Four very different businesses, from all over the world, pitched to an audience of high net worth individuals (HNWIs), and sundry others, for a television production to be aired by BBC World on the 26th and 27th of November.
From Paraguay came Fundacion Paraguaya, which runs the self-sustaining Cerrito School. Husk Power Systems demonstrated an innovative way to bring power to the rural villages of India while Danish-based MYC4 outlined an online platform where investors can lend directly to unbanked enterprises in Africa. Last but not least, Scotland was represented by the Jompy – a new invention which simultaneously cooks and heats water, thereby reducing energy consumption for families in the developing world.
This was an important and amazing event for us at ClearlySo for many reasons.
First, it was great to play the role of connector between Coutts, the BBC and the SBEs. Though it is what we do, rarely do we get the chance to do so on such a grand scale. Working with the SBEs on their pitches was great fun and the BBC, and the presenter, Leo Johnson, chose a rather exceptional group of SBEs, making our job very easy.
Second, the BBC programme does something vital that cannot be done without organisations like theirs. With weekly viewers of over 80million regular viewers around the world they bring the concept of social enterprise into the mainstream exposing a new economic model to a vital audience.
Third, the audience both enjoyed it (unsurprising, in light of the lovely venue and tasty canapÃ©s) and were keen to follow up with some of the businesses. Things have moved on from a few years ago when HNWIs were voyeurs on the subject. They are now prepared to become actors and invest in and give practical assistance to SBEs. If you want to participate in choosing the SBE winner, just click here to vote. You can also see the finalists in action for yourself in this excellent video.
Finally, I confess to still having a touch of child-like fascination with TV and how programmes are made. What looked like some blocks of wood in an empty lobby became, in less than an hour, a magnificent TV set in a room full of cameras and lights, with the requisite number of levers, switches and dials behind the scene as well. I Can’t wait to see the final programme.