Change with Business

 
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During 2017, after an initial project promotion phase, this initiative was developed, which had been promoted the previous year thanks to cooperation between UniCredit Foundation, Vehbi Koç Foundation and KUSIF (Social Impact Research Centre at University of Koç). Change with Business has the objective of ensuring the economic sustainability of social enterprises, so that they can achieve the best possible social impact. To achieve this goal, a focus group of 20 individual and institutional experts in the areas of finance, social enterprise, the university and the public sector was created for the first time in Turkey.

 

The project also benefits from support from Mikado (a consulting centre specialising in sustainable development), Ashoka Turkey and Impact Hub Istanbul. There are three main goals: developing know-how and skills in social entrepreneurs, supporting the creation of financial mechanisms in favour of social enterprises and strengthening the social business ecosystem. Organisations who had demonstrated the ability to provide concrete answers to emerging social needs were provided with a training and mentoring program that has already allowed around thirty social entrepreneurs to start accessing financial instruments that are more appropriate for this type of business.

The five social enterprises who have successfully completed this initial stage made use of a grant of € 3,000 each. The selection was made on the basis of careful assessment of the business models presented. The five entities that proposed the best social business models with impacts then became part of the Scale-Up Supporting Program.

 

Here are the five winning organisations:

  • Chapputz. This social enterprise works to insert women coming from the periphery of the country into the productive segment by returning to the traditional weaving methods of Turkish nomads. Chapputz collects used clothing in poor condition that would normally be thrown away and reuses the fabric to make elegant handmade rugs (kilim), as well as satchels, tablet cases and other objects which are then sold in specialised stores.
  • Harmoni. The organisation's objective is to take part in the development of communities, by strengthening women's skills and their access to the job market.

Önemsiyoruz. Self-awareness and the ability to interact positively with the context one lives in: these are the two guiding aims for Önemsiyoruz workers, with a particular focus on developing games for children between 0 - 6 growing up in particularly disadvantaged environments. The organisation is building alliances with other public and private entities.

Düşler Mütfağı. This is a social business developing within the framework of the Ayder Dreams Academy, which works to ensure disabled and socially disadvantaged people have equal access to social life through musical and artistic projects and other creative activities. Düşler Mütfağı - Dreams Kitchen in English - works to create intervention models able to generate income, so that disadvantaged young people can create an independent life for themselves. The ad hoc specialisation courses mainly focus on baked goods and healthy food products.

EAGD. The acronym in Turkish stands for "Organisation to support recycling of electronic waste". In fact, the entity focusses on implementing projects to recover this type of waste through close cooperation with other organisations in the chain: recycling companies, municipalities, other nonprofit entities, universities and sellers. In addition to the grant, they were also ensured access to an ad hoc training program that provided instruction in finance, business plan development, marketing and social impact management. The training was high level, and part of the EU Program for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). In addition to supporting offshoot social enterprises able to remain on the market, this program also helps support the development of an ecosystem favourable to social businesses in Turkey thanks to advocacy, strengthening of the existing network, dissemination of information to stakeholders and conferences on the theme. 

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Agata Fortuna, Project Manager, Koç University Social Impact Forum / KUSIF

"This program has the notable merit of having generated significant interest in social enterprises and the finance associated with them. This is making it possible to develop social organisations that are also able to guarantee the required economic sustainability."