If I’d need to say it in one word, it would be this: buzz.
There is definitely a positive buzz at the moment in the field of organizations that are wanting to make a positive impact to the society. For instance, there are all kinds of happenings and events organised by support organisations, students, networks – you name it. In addition to events and such, as Sitra has aimed to introduce the impact investing model in Finland, Sitra has now launched the first Social Impact Bond (SIB) in Finland together with Me-säätiö. Sitra has also held the first Impact Accelerator program and is now conducting the second program already. Tekes has been active as well together with Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ and they have now a program called BEAM – Business with impact. The program aims to generate new, sustainable business in developing countries.
New Social Enterprise Marks have been given to social enterprises making it in total 68 organizations that have the Finnish Social Enterprise Mark. However there was a new research published by ETLA that says that there is already over 19 000 social enterprises in Finland.
In addition to these, there’s different informal networks – for example Impact Finland. Impact Finland describes itself as a group “for all identifying themselves as impact-minded / mission-driven / social entrepreneurs in Finland”. Impact Iglu is a community that is also doing a lot of interesting things at the moment – it describes itself as a “community for value-driven entrepreneurs”.
From the event side, I believe many of us #socent people are already waiting for the next Slush where there will be Slush Impact track again that is meant for social impact ventures, startup-minded non-profits and impact investors. There are also more places to bump in to like-minded people – especially in Helsinki area – co-working places such as Helsinki Think Company or Aalto Design Factory.
The overall feeling in the field seems to be that the term social entrepreneurship in Finnish has not truly conquered the whole of Finland. However, I see even more often than a few years ago people who are passionate about making a positive impact. I’ve personally come to terms with the term and the discussion surrounding it: who cares what the term is as long as there are positive impacts!