How we practice social entrepreneurship
Published on 04.03.2021
Ever heard of whitewashing? Yes, it’s usually got something to do with stains and laundry, but the term is increasingly being used in a metaphorical context. It denotes institutions that invest money in order to look more [enter virtue-signalling adjective of your choice here] instead of actually doing anything tangible. Greenwashing, redwashing, bluewashing, purplewashing — by now there is a whole rainbow of expressions, but they always refer to the same principle: “Doesn’t look good? Coat it in some sugar!”
One counter movement against the whitewashing trend is social entrepreneurship, which actually seeks to employ innovative, pragmatic and long-term solutions to social problems instead of just wanting to look good in the media.
Non-profit organisations, for example, view money not as a goal, but as a means to an end. As a means to push for a meaningful, positive social change. A pinch of optimism and idealism help too, of course. The idea is this: A glass that is half full is only of use if everyone can actually drink from it (Attention: This is just a metaphor, of course — as long as we’ve still got the coronavirus going around, everyone will have to drink from their own glass!) ;)
“Our entrepreneurial goal is to empower people who have received only little empowerment on the labour market up until now”, says Salomé. The Valeriana Founder is handing out a round of strawberry strings while we philosophise about our company values together — and sharing is caring is definitely one of them. “We start with the assumption that everyone can make a valuable contribution, but that certain circumstances prevent people from reaching their full potential.” Strawberry string round number two.
In concrete terms, it looks like this: We give women who may be first or second-generation immigrants the chance to work and thereby create a point of contact with the Swiss public on the basis of which many exciting stories and friendships have already made. We help them to overcome linguistic barriers and thus gain a foothold in society. A combination of services, technology and community work makes it possible for us to sustain our business model in the long term and to pay our employees fairly. Less profit, more progress, so to speak.
We want “Doing good — for yourself and others” to be not just a slogan — we want to practice what we preach. And since you probably want this as well, we really do believe that it is possible. And on that note, we raise our half-full glass to you! Cheers!