Across the world, the social enterprise sector is growing rapidly – using the power of the marketplace to help solve a diverse range of social and environmental challenges. It’s a type of business that firms across the PwC network are committed to fostering and encouraging, as part of our focus on building capacity and supporting NGOs and social enterprises to maximise their potential.
“We’re committed to social enterprises because we’re convinced that they’re the future, and because they still could use a helping hand in their development. The winners of the challenge have one thing in common: they’ve all developed a clever concept that will substantially contribute to solving important societal problems. They therefore appeal directly to our purpose."
In 2014, PwC Netherlands launched the Social Impact Lab – an annual challenge for start-ups with a social or environmental mission. This year Social Impact Lab has seen a record number of 140 applications. The prize for the three annual winners includes use of PwC office facilities, intensive coaching from PwC for between one and two years, and a cash prize to help grow their business.
The Lab’s geographical scope is also growing, with PwC Austria and PwC Germany joining PwC Netherlands in running the initiative this year.
“Thanks to the support of PwC 100WEEKS is growing from start-up to grow-up. This support covers a number of areas: from finance, to administrative organisation and internal controls, to customer journey. The team of PwC that supports us is not only professional but they are also very engaged. I would recommend this to every social entrepreneur.”
An example of an enterprise that has benefited from the challenge is 2016 winner 100WEEKS – a business whose aim is to help eradicate extreme poverty in emerging countries by using an innovative technology and data-based business model to support micro-giving to women.
When Gitte Büch, founder of 100WEEKS conducted research into the role of emotions in people’s giving behaviour, the lack of transparency and visibility of the transaction was impacting on people’s trust and conversion to give. Using mobile phones, this ‘AirBnB of help’ offers donors in the Netherlands the opportunity to give directly to a group of women in a visible and transparent way.
The opportunity for this model is its ability to be quickly and easily unscaled thanks to the rapid advance and accessibility of mobile technology.
100WEEKS is a social enterprise that facilitates direct financial aid to African women in extreme poverty. They won the PwC Netherlands Social Impact Lab Award in 2016. As part of the prize, PwC has committed itself to support 100WEEKS for the coming two years from its various service lines and service competencies. To date PwC has provided over 400 hours of professional services to 100WEEKS across the service lines of core audit, accounting advice, financial consulting, deals, digital, legal and tax.