Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is a highly ambitious vision that will require more than government-to-government means, such as international treaties, conventions, or aid. Collaboration and dedication—involving governments, private companies, civil society and other social entrepreneurs—are needed at every level.
In the foreword of the Think Global, Trade Social report, Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and Linda McAvan MEP, the chair of the European Parliament’s Committee for International Development, highlighted how entrepreneurship shapes the nature of the economy and affects global sustainability. Consequently, social entrepreneurs are now rising as the backbone for SDG implementation as they prove that their innovative solutions address local needs in an efficient, affordable and cost-effective way, which, in turn, reaps high social, environmental, and economic dividends.
Three interesting examples of the potential for Asian social enterprises to tackle the SDGs are as follows.
Goal 1: No poverty
Cropital is a Philippine social enterprise providing farmers access to scalable and sustainable financing. Its founder, Rachel de Villa, realised the crushing impact of climate change and predatory lending on farmers in her country, and began to crowdsource investments for the agriculture sector. The start-up has financed more than 600 farmers so far in six provinces. In 2016, Cropital was awarded Philippine Social Enterprise of the Year at the Philippine Rice Bowl Startup Awards. The company was also named the best business model in Esquire Financing Inc.’s 2nd run of Fueling the Dream: Business Model Competition.
Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing
WeCare.id is an Indonesian online crowdfunding platform which pools a fund for patients who cannot afford their medical bills, enabling them to access a decent, optimal, and effective healthcare treatment. Founded in late 2015, WeCare.id has secured more than IDR 800 million in donations for patients, as well as received prestigious recognitions, such as the 2015 Asia Social Innovation Awards and ASEAN ICT Awards. One of its 10 founders, Mesty Ariotedjo, was also named as a 2016 Forbes’ 30 under 30 in the Healthcare and Science category.
Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Avant Garde Innovations was founded by Arun and Anoop George, who designed a small wind turbine, providing affordable clean energy for household use. The turbine only costs the price of a smartphone and has proven to generate around one to three kilowatt hours of power daily, which is enough to power a house. The Kerala-based start-up has received international recognition, including becoming the only Indian Clean Energy company showcased at the prestigious 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) held at Silicon Valley, San Francisco, in 2016.
Image credit: Young Entrepreneurs.