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2021 – nine years before the deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) runs out. The SDGs were adopted by all Member States of the United Nations in 2015 with the goal of setting the first steps towards a more sustainable future by 2030. 

Six years after the adoption of these goals, the world finds itself in a precarious situation. We are still using up the Earth’s resources at a rate that would require two planets to satisfy the demand. Covid-19 has taken more than 2 million lives and has devastated economies around the globe. Poverty is increasing for the first time in this century.

The call for a change in course and investment in sustainable policies is, therefore, more urgent than ever. Especially in regards to the upcoming focus on recovering from the pandemic, 2021 presents a golden opportunity for sustainable transformation.

“2021 must be the year to reconcile humanity with nature.” – UN’s Secretary-General remarks to the One Planet Summit 2021

Small businesses worldwide are helping to achieve SDGs. In the report published by UN – Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and their role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)Social Enterprises have been highlighted to be the critical actors bringing innovative solutions to problems like poverty and filling gaps in service delivery. Besides, the potential of social enterprise is beyond that of solving social problems. Social enterprises increasingly contribute to economic growth by introducing more sustainable and inclusive employment opportunities. Meanwhile, more people believe that the concept of pursuing social impact is the core of the business operation. More investment has been introduced to this socially-responsible industry in the past decade. These prove that the social enterprise community is doing good to the society. However, this is just the beginning.

Each social enterprise plays a role towards helping achieve the SDGs, but saving the planet and people is not a one-man show. Global challenges are interconnected. Only by working together with other social enterprises, investors and governments among others, can we get there quicker. In line with SDG 17 on partnerships, we need revitalised global alliances to deliver our shared objectives for more equitable and sustainable development. As a membership-based organisation, Euclid Network through its constituents facilitates partnerships among the social enterprise sector in more than 20 countries, including national networks, universities, social funds, social incubators, and government institutions (see EN Annual Consultation).

How and with whom are we building partnerships?

By running multiple EU-financed projects that contribute directly to the SDGs, Euclid Network helps create bridges to connect multiple stakeholders for durable cross-border partnerships. One of these projects is Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE). Partnerships are at the very core of Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs – as a mobility program, EYE leads the longest-running consortium dedicated to developing social entrepreneurship across Europe. It connects EN members to other international partners working in the field and together facilitate the process of matching entrepreneurs who can exchange practical skills and learn from each other.

At the same time, we are also expanding our strategic partnerships. Euclid Network builds up institutional partnerships with different stakeholders from regional and governmental levels. With regional authorities that have direct contact with citizens, enterprises, and NGOs like ImpactCity, we develop a more effective platform for the social enterprises to exchange information and access resources. We also work together with high-profile governmental authorities, such as European Commission, through policy consultations and funding programmes. At a global level, EN is a member of the World Economic Forum COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs  and an observer to the and UN Taskforce on Social and Solidarity Economy, ensuring the voices of social entrepreneurs are heard within decision-making processes.

“Together, we can address the global societal challenges and define innovative, sustainable solutions. We as EN work closely with other intermediary organizations to make this opportunity widely available and successful for the entrepreneurs taking part.”

– Christian Vietz, International Programme & Social Innovation Manager, Euclid Network

As remarked by SDG 17: Partnership for the goals, “The global goals can only be met if we work together.” It is undoubtedly that social enterprise is solving the global challenges but the importance of the partnership between stakeholders from different backgrounds has the potential to amplify positive impact. None of us, including impact driven network, ever can solve the global challenges independently. But we can work together and our impact will be powerful enough to lead us to fight against the aftermath of the pandemic and ultimately a better future for all of us.

The United Nations is currently calling for good practices that could guide the world to take the right steps to deliver the SDGs or help others to replicate or scale-up their initiatives. Submit your successful stories by 28th February 2021 HERE

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