Connecting business with social development
In a world where, for most businesses, generating an exceptional amount of profit is more important than contributing towards greater social good, organisations such as SoPact are becoming increasingly crucial for building societies with an economically and socially sustainable social fabric.
SoPact, located in Malmo, Sweden, was co-founded in 2012 by Joakim Grina. After being a part of Lund University’s social impact innovation centre, he recognised the need to establish a business model focused on solving social development challenges faced by Swedish society. According to Joakim: “Researchers and students got a lot of support if they wanted to start a business, but as soon as it was something involving social development, funders often showed very little interest in helping and if they were interested, they didn’t know how to help out.” Thus, it became Joakim’s mission to bridge the gap between business and social development.
The goal of the organisation is to help local social innovators turn their social development ideas into successful sustainable start-ups. And it does so by providing a comprehensive programme that guides social innovators through the different phases of social entrepreneurship. Working in close collaboration with the local municipality, SoPact is currently coaching 13 individuals spread across 9 different projects that are in line with the local areas of need.
One of the benefits for social innovators affiliated with SoPact is that they are admitted to a network of organisations and relevant individuals with essential resources that would have otherwise been difficult to access.
Faisal Albinali of Peers Bridge, one of the beneficiaries of the organisation, stated: “It was hard to establish a network, understanding the system and different aspects of running a business in Sweden, but with SoPact there are quite a lot of things that were helpful in our transition.”
Peers Bridge is made up of 3 individuals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds working together to provide workshops focused on integrating ‘new Swedes’ into Swedish culture. According to Faisal, in a saturated ‘immigrant integration’ market, SoPact “helped us think of our business model, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities”. From that, Peers Bridge came up with strategies to help the organisation stand out in the market, offering personalised services, which, according to co-founder Chorbel Towk, is essential since “each person should adapt in their own way”.
Although SoPact is relatively new in the social entrepreneurship industry, a bright future lies ahead of them. And in the words of Joakim: “The aim of SoPact is to be at the forefront of social entrepreneurial development.”