In the Baltic Sea Region, the promoters of social enterprise sector definitely need to be more ambitious. Where to get inspiration from? The UK, for example.

The campaign or actually a set of related campaigns launched by Social Enterprise UK called Buy Social is already well known. It includes:

  • Social Saturday in every September aimed to boost the number of consumers buying from social enterprises;
  •  a recognition “We Buy Social” awarded by Social Enterprise UK acknowledging that an organisation buys from social enterprises and considers social value in its supply chain.

The breaking news in spring 2016 is: The Buy Social Corporate Challenge.  The challenge has a simple objective: to achieve £1bn spent with social enterprises by 2020.

The Challenge will see a group of high profile businesses aim to spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020. The initiative is a first for the social enterprise sector.

Led by Social Enterprise UK in partnership with the Cabinet Office and Business in the Community, a number of forward-thinking corporates are set to open up their supply chains to the UK’s 70,000 social enterprises. The founding partners are Interserve, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, RBS Group, Santander, Wates, and Zurich. The ambition is to enlist far more businesses, from a diverse range of industries, to take part.

In Pioneers Post article, Deputy CEO of Social Enterprise UK Nick Temple explained: “This originated from our members, because when we asked them what they most wanted, they said ‘customers’. And while those customers include the general public and the public sector, over 50% of social enterprises now do business with the private sector too. /-/ In mapping the supply chains of several companies (rather than one or two individually), we anticipate being able to identify market opportunities for social enterprises: new areas where existing social enterprises might diversify to meet demand, or where new social enterprises might be established.”

So – what are the stakeholders of Baltic Sea Region waiting for? We too have many for-profit oriented socially responsible companies who might be interested in buying from regional social enterprise sector.