Can a market strategy be designed to generate a benefit for society? Despite what we might think, yes. Moreover, it must be an obligation. This is known as social entrepreneurship, a concept that has emerged to respond to the need of making our world a more inclusive place for everyone.

Social entrepreneurship is about using a profitable business model with a clear goal: satisfying the needs of society. A kind of entrepreneurship that grows by leaps and bounds in response to the increasing concern of society to move toward a better world.

This activity arises as a response to a society that demands that companies and businesses not only look for an economic profit but be responsible to citizens. In fact, new generations make their decisions based on aspects that go beyond price, services, or customer service. In this way, the study Trademarks with Values®: The Power of the Consumer-Citizen, reveals that 80% of Spanish people buy according to values not related to good quality or price.

In short, we are talking about other ways to understand the market, in which businesses are set up taking into account society and all the factors that help them prosper. That’s why social entrepreneurship is consolidating itself as a model that fulfills the needs and requirements of new consumers.

Support and financing are still key

In spite of this paradigm shift, both support and financing are still key to entrepreneurship. This new generation of entrepreneurs is more aware and committed to the future of the planet, and still needs the support of public and private entities to launch their ideas, just like any other company. Administrations and big companies are already working on it. In fact, without this support, many social entrepreneurs couldn’t start their activity and most of their ideas would remain only that, ideas.

The support of Banco Santander is a very good example of the increasing involvement of the banking sector in initiatives of social entrepreneurship, which usually lack easy access to traditional financing

Public bodies and private entities are increasingly aware that young people need them and so they do their bit through agreements and conventions of collaboration that promote this goal. In this way, within the public environment, the Government recognizes the most promising projects in this field though the National Competition of Young Entrepreneurs of the Institute of Youth.

Madrid has Prizes for Social Entrepreneurship with which it tries to boost this kind of entrepreneurship, its dissemination and to be a broker between projects and investors. The Government of Aragón has launched a competition focused on social projects committed to getting a social or environmental change, with an innovative background that benefits society.

Concerning the private field, there are many examples of supporting and boosting social entrepreneurship. Fundación Telefónica, for example, invests a part of its budget in the program of digital training and entrepreneurship “Conecta Empleo”; Meanwhile, Fundación Endesa sponsored a program for young entrepreneurs with a social goal. And the support of Banco Santander is a very good example of the increasing involvement of the banking sector in initiatives of social entrepreneurship, which usually lack easy access to traditional financing.

Among the important support of the entity presided over Ana Botín with this type of entrepreneurship, there is the support of the Young Social Entrepreneurs Prizes (JES) organized by the Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM), which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. And the Extraordinary Chair in Social Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, as an example of the importance of the training environment to boost social entrepreneurship.

Likewise, Banco Santander, Plena Inclusión España and Fundación Universia have renewed for the ninth consecutive year their collaboration to promote the development of an open training environment that guarantees the access and promotion of the public service of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The goal of this joint work focuses on supporting actions promoted by Plena Inclusión through its program of social entrepreneurship and the development of projects in inclusive training environments and employment support for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The training environment, its best ally

Both the Social Young Entrepreneurs and the Extraordinary Chair in Social Entrepreneurship highlight the importance and the required collaboration between companies and universities to promote social entrepreneurship.

The Young Entrepreneurs Prizes were born thanks to the Universidad Europea in collaboration with the International Youth Foundation, Laurate International Universities and Banco Santander through Santander Universidades, aimed at annually recognizing the work of 10 young people who launched projects of social entrepreneurship. The success of this event was so significant that, after 11 years, more than 100 young people from more than 490 localities have benefited from 2,000 euros and the tools needed to carry out their projects through the training and support of an international network.

The projects cover an important series of issues, from the educative field to fair trade, social inclusion and healthy habits. 95% of the young winners during this decade go on involving themselves in these kinds of projects, and 65% calculate that their initiatives have benefited more than 500 people, according to a survey carried out by Universidad Europea. According to Andrés Pina, Director of the Prizes, “The experience of JES marks a before and after in the path of these young people conscious of the reality that surrounds them”.

On the other hand, The Extraordinary Chair in Social Entrepreneurship supported by Banco Santander and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid shows that the university has become a key scene for the development of this new web of projects and entrepreneurs. This space counts on a program based on three axes of performing: collaboration and support to training activities, research and studies to know the reality represented by social entrepreneurship, and dissemination and transfer of knowledge.

Among the activities it promotes, it highlights the celebration of the Social Entrepreneur UCM-Santander Prizes, with which it tries to promote and support the initiatives of entrepreneurship that create social value in the Universidad Complutense.