18 June 2021

Internationalisation and Women Inclusion in Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprises

The Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) is one that is made up of inclusive and impact-focused organizations.

Small businesses inside the Social and Solidarity Economy tend to operate at a local level, impacting local communities. However, as they grow, they scale internationally too. This comes with various challenges. These scaling challenges are further amplified for women-led organizations.

Impact Hub is involved in an initiative by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) called Global Action to promote Social and Solidarity Ecosystems, funded by the European Union. It was created specifically to tackle scaling challenges and inequality in the sector.

In a Peer-Learning Partnership (PLP), Impact Hub is bringing together a consortium of 23 leading impact-focused organizations from 11 countries. From the Americas to Southeast Asia – and from policymakers to impact investors – this diverse collective is framing a benchmark. From there, best practices, tangible solutions and a tool for policymaking will be recommended to better support impact-focused businesses in scaling internationally – and in increasing equality.

Kick-off of the Peer-Learning Partnership

In our first online workshop, we brought our 23 partners together to get to know us – as well as each other and align on our collaborative journey for the next seven months.

First online workshop of the Peer-Learning Partnership
First online workshop of the Peer-Learning Partnership

We kicked off with a presentation from Aneta Quraishy, Impact Hub’s Global Programs Lead, about the Impact Hub Network and its role in leading this partnership. Andre Maciel, Program Manager in charge, detailed the phases and timeline of the program. “Our first workshop proved the quality and potential of the group of partners we are convening. It is clear that if we manage to hold the space for their collaboration, we will create powerful solutions for social enterprise development, internationalisation and women inclusion”, said André.

Mr. Alessandro Kandiah, Policy Analyst from the OECD, elaborated on concepts and definitions – including social and solidarity economy, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social innovation and internationalisation of SSEs.

The session ended with all participants engaging in group discussions around these concepts and evaluating whether they needed to be adapted, completed or changed. Andre Maciel commented, “Being an extraordinarily diverse group, it quickly became clear that these concepts have different meanings in different regions and so, we should consider broader definitions to include the different realities and approaches to the Social and Solidarity sector.”

Next, we will analyse and provide feedback on the initial questions that were raised – and we will begin building best cases and practices around our topics. 

We will soon be able to share best practices and success stories of women who have scaled internationally so that others can also benefit from their learnings. Stay tuned! 

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