What is a social business and why ?

10 September 2019

After a break in August from course delivery and taking some time to ‘sharpen the saw’ – see previous blog on ‘taking a break’ its been straight back to it in September.

We were welcomed back with some great news that for the second year running EBTC have been shortlisted for the Social Business Wales Awards in the Education, Training and Employment category. This is entirely down to the huge amount of work and commitment Rhiannon and Dawn have put into the EBTC since they joined last June.

As part of the shortlisting we were asked to be filmed to showcase in 90 seconds what we do and the impact we have. Two important questions were asked.

1. What is a social business?

2. Why did you set up Empower

Put simply a social business is like any other business that sells and trades to make money. The distinction is in how it uses its income and what the company’s overall purpose is. A social business is wholly interested in creating a more equitable and sustainable society that is fair for everyone. To achieve this aim social businesses will re-invest its income directly into the business and into social projects and causes.

Empower was set up off the back of two and half years I spent in India volunteering and working on various community projects. Part of this work saw me set up an international volunteer programme for 18-25 year olds who would never have had the opportunity to travel overseas to support community projects. The other part was helping set up a social enterprise with two local women. The two went hand in hand and the transformation in both the volunteers and local communities was astounding. This provided the inspiration to bring this back to Wales to set up a company that positively disrupts the social norm to enable people to realise their potential.

For the first few years every penny of income has been used to build the company, increase our staff base and delivery more programmes in more communities. To date we have proudly empowered over 400 people in 3 years.

I was keen that through EBTC we retained links with India. I’ve gained so much from the experience out there and it only seems fitting that EBTC now uses its resources to empower and support the great work that was initiated by all the volunteers who took part in placements. I was delighted that this year (in the last couple of months) EBTC have invested £500 directly into a community project delivered by the social enterprise I helped establish. Raisa who is the enterprise lead has been running CYDF for the last few years and the money invested is helping to increase the range of organic value added products it can sell to the local community. In doing so CYDF aims to eradicate malnutrition, provide high quality education and sustain the environment.

You can read more here.

Social businesses work to both improve society through their day to day work and also seek out opportunities to support other organisations/companies do to the same through financial investment, mentoring and pro-bono support. Over the coming years, as our income increases we plan to invest more funding to help empower more individuals in India.

In December myself, Dawn and family are visiting Raisa and her project to offer support and also learn about things that we can do to further empower people in Wales.

By Jo Clay 10th September 2019

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