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Helping these social entrepreneurs start up their business has an impact on society by creating employment opportunities for people who have trouble finding work in the regular economy. Providing them jobs will develop their capabilities, increase their independence, and give them a new purpose in life. The project also has an economic impact. Increased revenues and increased employment means more tax income for the government, and less government expenditure on this group. The new companies will become suppliers and customers of other Belgian companies, further contributing to the economy. We have coached 80 social entrepreneurs, of which 65% delivered a business plan. The majority of the entrepreneurs decided to continue with their ideas. Some of them have started their business and have already made a social impact; others are getting ready to start. Most of the ideas the entrepreneurs are tackling include societal challenges such as care for elderly people, food waste, and renewable energy.
The coaching consists of group sessions where Deloitte coaches touch upon relevant business topics such as strategy, business model, commercial policy, pricing, and financial planning. There are also individual sessions where the coaches work one-on-one with the entrepreneur to finalise their business plan and help them with any business challenges they might still face. Helping the diverse group of entrepreneurs employ a diverse group of people is in line with Deloitte's Shared Values. Just as we deliver outstanding value to our clients and markets, we are committed to providing the services needed to make these new businesses a success.
Building awareness for the social economy
In Flanders, this programme is unique. A project like this increases awareness and visibility for the social economy in Belgium, and stimulates the collaboration between the social and regular economies. The focus on social entrepreneurship and the composition of the Deloitte team means that we can really make an impact that matters with a very hands-on project. We have close personal contact with the entrepreneurs, providing practical tools and guidance to help them start up their business. These entrepreneurs are very passionate and the social aspect usually supersedes the profitability goal, which is another inspiring reason to work with them.
"As an entrepreneur, sometimes you are overwhelmed by all the things you need to do. Following the course enabled me to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. My coach helped me with very specific questions and from his experience as a social entrepreneur, he was able to guide and advise me very well.”
For example, Blijzaak – a second hand shop with design and vintage pieces – employs people who have difficulties to work in the regular economy. "As an entrepreneur, sometimes you are overwhelmed by all the things you need to do. Following the course enabled me to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. My coach helped me with very specific questions and from his experience as a social entrepreneur, he was able to guide and advise me very well,” says Anne Vanhove, creator of Blijzaak.
The project was finalised in September 2019.