If the customers who will most benefit from the services and products, that your social enterprise provides are not able to afford them, it can feel like realy big problem to solve building the businessmodel.
But in the article ”Creative Social Enterprise Business Model Ideas: 10 Ways to Address Affordability” Danielle Carruthers states, that you shouldn´t be too quick to assume, that users will not pay for basic goods and services that add essential value to their lives.
The article discribes 10 different ways to have your social enterprise business model adress the problem of affordabililty.
Danielle Carruthers mentions that the solution often lies in addressing the customer’s ability to pay, shifting the company’s revenue model (by adjusting costs and pricing), or a combination.
One of the suggestions is, that you can rethink your offer.
If you are sure your customors need your product or service, but you still struggle to find customers willing to pay, you can concider if you can redesign the solution in a more economical way finding a creative way to deliver the same outcomes for your customers in a less complicated and less costly way.
One exampel of this businessmodel design is Saral Designs, a social enterprise based in Mumbai, India, that offers vending machines for sanitary pads. These machines produce the product on the spot. They can eg. be installed directly in toilets of schools and other venues. In that way the product design addresses the issue of accessibility and affordability, that is actually caused by a poor infrastructure and extra distribution costs that result in competitive products adding up to be 60% more expensive.
Another idea mentioned in the article is that you can design your businessmodel so your services and products generate value for a third party.
The third party could be a government or another business, that is purchasing a product or service and passing it onto the end user, who does not pay.
One example of this kind of businessmodel design is CircMedTech, a social enterprise that sells male circumcision technology to the Rwandan government as part of HIV prevention. The government becomes the paying customer, not the users themselves.
Another example of this kind of businessmodel design is Naya Jeevan a enterprise that gets large companies like Unilever and Pfizer to pay for insurance for people in their value chain because it ultimately leads to a healthier workforce and ensures a more stable supply chain.
Read the full article with the different ideas for social enterprise business designs that adresses the issue of Affordability here