SEWF Verification: What’s in it for social enterprises?
This blog is the final in our series on SEWF Verification.
Since March, as SEWF has been working to spread the word about the SEWF Verification pilot and build consensus for the opportunity globally, we’ve released a few blogs to transparently discuss the programme. These blogs have covered why SEWF developed SEWF Verification, the who and where of our key partners and targeted engagement and how the verification process will work. This final blog returns to our initial question of why, but instead of discussing SEWF’s motivation for developing this programme, this blog will cover why social enterprises should sign up to become SEWF Verified.
COLLECTIVE ECOSYSTEM BUILDING
There is a larger offering of opportunities and initiatives for ecosystem builders and SEWF Verified Social Enterprises beyond simple recognition as being SEWF Verified. The 6 key components of this broader offering are:
- Access to new sales channels
- Unrestricted funding
- Pro bono support
- Social procurement
- Discounted services
- Access to training
1. Access to new sales channels will create opportunities for social enterprises in both B2B and B2C sales to access new marketplaces (often online sales platforms) and other networks that will operate locally, regionally and globally. Social enterprises trading on these platforms will be SEWF Verified to gain access.
2. Unrestricted funding is an example of one thing that organisations can make available for both mission-locked social enterprises and non-profits as a prerequisite for being part of the Catalyst Business Commitment. Being SEWF Verified means you have international recognition as a mission-locked social enterprise to access these funds.
3. Pro bono support that was previously often only available to non-profit organisations and charities is something that we’ve worked with partners to negotiate for SEWF Verified Social Enterprises.
4. Social procurement involves preferential sourcing of products and services from SEWF Verified Social Enterprises. The international verification helps multinational corporations who purchase in multiple markets use a consistent verification across their markets and facilitates social enterprise discovery on global procurement platforms.
5. Discounted services may include software, sales platforms, professional services and more. Social enterprises have historically been excluded from these opportunities, but with partners and through initiatives like the Catalyst Business Commitment, mission-locked social enterprises will be able to access many more of these services at preferential rates.
6. Access to training is being worked on for both mission-locked social enterprises interested in scaling up their operations for investment and procurement readiness and for procurement professionals interested in enhancing their social procurement skills and knowledge.
GAINING ACCESS TO THESE BENEFITS
Once a social enterprise has completed the steps to become recognised as an SEWF Verified Social Enterprise, they will receive a welcome pack from the SEWF Verification team. This contains more information about how they can market their SEWF Verification and how they will be able to access the specific services and benefits that are more broadly detailed in this blog. As these opportunities and benefits grow, SEWF will continue to advertise them so social enterprises are aware of what they will gain by going through the SEWF Verification process.
Of course, any social enterprise that becomes SEWF Verified immediately gets global recognition as part of the international social enterprise community. This is especially important in places where recognition for social enterprises may be limited. An international verification designed to be affordable and accessible helps the movement collectively raise the bar for social enterprises globally, reducing the risk of social-washing, greenwashing and false claims. In doing so, it makes it possible to work with international institutions to set preferential policies that can do things like expand funding, pro bono and discounted services and social procurement opportunities to mission-locked social enterprise around the world.
This clarity around what it means to be a mission-locked social enterprise is especially important as international dialogue around social enterprise continues to accelerate. Government policies have started putting social enterprise on national agendas. Reports have revealed increasing consumer desire to purchase goods and services with social and environmental impact. Corporations have demonstrated their leadership and commitment to the sector by making bold commitments for social enterprise purchasing. World leaders have discussed social enterprise and social procurement in international forums.
With all the increasing attention social enterprise has received across sectors and geographic boundaries, collective messaging and clarity around the agenda for social enterprise ecosystem building has never been more essential. Since SEWF was founded, we’ve strived to connect the movement, build capacity and champion the potential of social enterprise influencing policies and practices across sectors. SEWF Verification is a critical component of this ongoing ecosystem development work. It will help social enterprises unlock numerous opportunities that will support and strengthen their work toward their mission.
We hope that you will spread the word about this opportunity to social enterprises in your network or start your application to have your social enterprise recognised as SEWF Verified today.
For the remainder of the pilot phase, you can expect to see some features of social enterprises that have completed the SEWF Verification process. In the meantime, learn more about SEWF Verification or send us an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.