At (B)energy we see social entrepreneurship as an incredible opportunity to transition towards a new, fair and sustainable economic system. Since day one, we strictly follow the teaching of Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Yunus' principles reflect on our work:
The business objective of a social enterprise must be to overcome poverty or will be to overcome poverty or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) which threaten people and society; not profit maximisation.
A social enterprise must be self-sufficient, sustainable and independent. At (B)energy, we apply this principle by not taking any donation, subsidy or funding from Western organisations and by relying only on our income.
No dividend is given beyond investment money! As Yunus argues: "Investors are already well-off, why should they become wealthier by selling to the poor?" Following Muhammad Yunus argument, we decided to only accept investors who don't expect a cut on (B)energy’s financial surplus and - guess what? - we found them!
When investment amount is paid back, company profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement
After having provided the operative team a fair - but not excessive - compensation, we re-invest our surplus into (B)energy operations to make our product offer more affordable, durable, and easier to access.
Our technology positively impact both women and children by reducing the time spent on the collection of wood and drastically decreasing indoor air pollution, which accounts for million of death every year.
We keep our team small, as we want to able to provide fair working conditions and wages to all. Luckily, (B)energy can count on the voluntary help of many driven professionals who decide to support us as (B)angels. To them, we are forever grateful. In exchange for their services, we give recognition through our website, social media (LinkedIn in particular), and reference letters when needed.
The struggle & the gain
Despite social entrepreneurship is a growing movement which has been gaining incredible recognition over the past decade, are still many the challenges that need to be overcome in the upcoming years by this movement. Following, are some of the struggles and gains of being a social enterprise.
The struggle: lack of recognition
Given a lack of recognition of social enterprises as legal entities, this term, is often used improperly; thus confusing and deceiving the general public. To this day, are many the organisations that publicly promote themselves as social businesses despite they do not meet Yunus' social business principles. This presents a challenges for those social entrepreneurs who remain truly independent - such as (B)energy - as they see often see their work being associated with either profit-focused or highly subsidised businesses.
The gain: Economy for the Common Good
As social entrepreneurship is becoming more and more popular, independent organisations that are taking up the responsibility to evaluate the real commitment of those who declare to belong to this category. Among these, emerges the Economy for the Common Good (ECG). ECG is an economic model, which makes the Common Good: a good life for everyone on a healthy planet, its primary goal and purpose. At the heart of this concept lies the idea that values-driven businesses are mindful of and committed to:
ECG gives the chance to all those who comply to its principles to evaluate and certify their performance. Such certification communicates to all of your stakeholders what you, and your organisation stand while proving your bold commitment. (B)energy, is currently undertaking the certification process which is expected to terminate at the end of 2021.