"How did the Covid-19 crisis affect social enterprises and what kind of support do they need?" – A Survey by SDA
The Covid-19 crisis has inevitably changed the way many businesses operate. There are a number of programs that seek to facilitate the transition of various organizations to the "new normal". However, to what extent are the needs of social enterprises met, and what would help them overcome the consequences of Covid-19? To answer these questions, Sofia Development Association consulted stakeholders in the framework of the Finance for Social Change project.
The results of the survey aim to identify existing programs and tools that support social enterprises in times of crisis and proposals for future ones; what are the achievements and developments in the field of social entrepreneurship so far.
25 participants shared how Covid-19 has influenced their business plans, what type of support they have received so far to adapt to the new situation and what mechanisms would help them develop even more successfully.
Participants acknowledge that the pandemic has slowed their business and that this affects them not only in economic terms but also their target groups, putting them at risk. However, many of them say that the pandemic has also had a positive impact - the crisis has caused their teams to think more creatively and change their business models.
Most often, the organizations have applied for financial support from the government or the Sofia Municipality. The support received consists of grants and access to training and has helped them keep their teams and continue to work in a more digital environment. In this regard, they consider access to funds for the purchase of equipment and team training, developing their digital skills, knowledge of digital marketing, and data handling as the most urgent.
Social entrepreneurs ranked the need for different types of support as follows: Access to finance, mentoring, professional networks, support in communicating with communities, and business insurance
In a discussion with social entrepreneurs, the recently launched „Crisis as an Opportunity“ grant program was discussed in terms of scope and impact on social enterprises and municipal funding policies. The program, introduced by Sofia Municipality and administered by SDA, was identified as an important political instrument that should be continued next year.