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Social Enterprises

This structured coursework will draw on three selected organisations including a social enterprise, a B-Corporation, and an example we have learned in the Understanding Social Enterprises module (LUBS 1010). This coursework will explain what each companies’ missions are and the stakeholders involved. Furthermore, it will state how they link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), and finally address the scaling of each company.


A social enterprise is classified as a ‘business that has specific social objectives that serve its primary purpose, which seek to maximise profits while maximising benefits to society and the environment (Barone, 2020). My chosen social enterprise is the One World Play Project. This company created an everlasting football to withstand tough conditions all over the world. It is an unpoppable football made of ‘PopFoam’, which is designed to help underprivileged children play football, enabling them to experience joy and happiness in difficult environments. It was founded and created by Tim Jahnigen in 2010, where he came up with the idea after watching refugee children playing with a makeshift football (Mccauley, 2010). Since starting production in 2010, they have successfully delivered more than 2 million One World footballs across 185 countries worldwide (One World Play Project, 2021). They operate a one-to-one policy, where for every one football bought, they will give out a football to a child in need, therefore making it a social enterprise.


Another example of an organisation helping the local community is ‘Lucky Iron Fish’, an organisation that was discussed in the LUBS1010 module. This social innovation is a fish made of iron that is placed into a cooking pot and provides a substantial amount of iron in a meal. It was founded by CEO Dr. Gavin Armstrong in 2012. During his travels in Cambodia, he identified that there was a high iron deficiency in women and children, and which affected their productivity and energy levels. The Cambodians were eating a very poor diet consisting of rice and a small cut of fish which he stated wasn’t meeting the ‘nutritional requirements’ (Charles, 2014). Just like the one world football project, the Iron Fish will cause the multiplier effect in local communities. They will have higher energy levels, therefore, improving personal wellbeing and productivity levels. A fish is considered lucky in Cambodia; thus, it is an attractive solution to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries of this BCorporation are the 240,000 people that are now using the Lucky Iron fish (Newman, 2021). This links to their main mission which is ‘To make iron deficiency a thing of the past, one fish at a time’ (Armstrong, 2021).


Finally, the B-Corporation I have decided to use in this coursework is ‘Skyline Hawaii’. Skyline Hawaii opened the United States’ first zipline operation on Maui's Haleakala Ranch in 2002 (SkylineHawaii, 2020). Today they offer ziplining, as well as running conservation projects, such as planting over 8000 trees and educating residents and visitors about the importance of Hawaii’s native environment through guided tours (SkylineHawaii, 2021). The multi-dimensional B-Corp was founded by Danny Boren, and he was inspired by the zip line he saw whilst on a holiday in Costa 3 Rica. (Oliver, 2017). Unlike One World football and Lucky Iron Fish, Skyline Hawaii’s beneficiaries are not people, they benefit the local ecosystems and environment, by supporting endangered Hawaiian plants and animals through their conservation schemes. Their main mission is ‘To provide a fun and exciting experience for guests while always being a force for good in their community, and for their islands’ (SkylineHawaii, 2021)


Stakeholders


Freeman (1984) defines stakeholders as: ‘Any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organisations objective’. Any business consists of several different stakeholders, and this is exactly the case for the three chosen organisations.


The most important stakeholder for any business is the founder. They are responsible for the aim of the company. A similarity between the founders of my chosen organisations is that they all possess an interest in creating social innovations and improving the lives of many people around the world. This is evident from Dr. Gavin Armstrong creating the Lucky Iron Fish to reduce anaemia in Cambodia, Tim Jahnigen to bring joy to children’s lives through the One World Play Project, and Danny Boren providing sustainable and environmental education through the SkylineHawaii project.


The three organisations also share a common stakeholder of investors. In most cases, this has enabled a company to grow, but each company will use its investment in various ways. For example, SkylineHawaii received a loan of $250,000 from Experience Based Learning where they were able to start the business by building the zip-line and facilities (Oliver, 2017). Whereas Lucky Iron Fish used their $1 million investment from MaRS Investment Fund to develop the ‘Lucky Iron Leaf’ and expand into Indian markets (Pitchbook, 2021).


For the social enterprise One World Play Project, competition is not a major stakeholder for them; their most significant stakeholder is their beneficiaries - the children. The children using these footballs will benefit as it will help their physical and mental health, by exercising and bringing joy to their lives, which is the main mission of this social enterprise. This will improve their quality of life and therefore result in the multiplier effect occurring in the local community.


Unlike SkylineHawaii or One World Play, Lucky Iron Fish is driven by their employees- their most important stakeholder. This social enterprise employs local people to manufacture the product, and local companies to help spread and market the product. This is achieved by employing local disabled people to work in the sewing and manufacturing factories, so they can earn a living and improve their quality of life. They have also partnered with local companies such as ‘seventeentriggers’ to help with branding and marketing campaigns (Armstrong, 2014). Overall, this will benefit the local community both economically and socially.


A company’s competition in business is a very significant stakeholder, as they are interested in what they are doing and how they can get an edge on each other. SkylineHawaii has no direct competition with ziplining, however, the sustainable educated tours are a competitive market. They face competition such as Oahu Nature tours and Waikiki Adventures, which are major threats to the success of their business. The number of B-Corps has increased significantly since 2010-2020, therefore if it follows the same trend in the future, there will be more competition for SkylineHawaii. This information is shown in figure 1 (Certified B-Corporation, 2021).


Figure 1




Sustainable Development Goals


The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were set up in 2015 by the United Nations to ‘end poverty, protect the planet and ensure by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity’ (UNDP, 2021). All of my chosen case studies have strong links to addressing at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).


It was evident that both the Lucky Iron fish and the One World Play project addressed the same SDG which was ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ (Goal 3). For Lucky Iron fish this was their main goal addressed, because it helped combat the national problem of anaemia. The WHO stated that 1.62 billion, roughly 25%, people worldwide have an iron deficiency (WHO, 2021), therefore with the iron fish, this has helped reduce this significant problem. It ensures they receive the correct nutrients; therefore, they are healthier and more productive. Due to the multiplier effect, this improves a person’s overall health and wellbeing.


Similarly, the one world Play project also addresses ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’. This is because the football encourages children to play, where exercise is very beneficial to both physical and mental 5 health. However, the main goal addressed by One World Play was ‘Gender Equality’ (Goal 5). This goal was achieved through the ‘All Girls Can Play’ project. Set up in 2014, it was aimed to raise awareness about the worldwide challenges that face girls every day, such as women empowerment and gender equality, and to combat these challenges through the power of football. It was successful as it helped 25,000 girls across the globe, due to them feeling more confident by playing on a field, therefore they can be more confident in everyday life (Foudy, 2021). However, despite helping a large number of girls, it could be argued that the scheme did not directly combat the problem, and gender equality is still evident across the globe.


Out of my chosen organisations, it could be argued that ‘SkylineHawaii’ was the most influential company in addressing the SDG’s of Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11) and Life on Land (Goal 15). These are achieved through their several conservation schemes, such as the Skyline conservation initiative working to restore ecosystems and also their tree planting schemes, where they have planted over 8000 trees to help engage the community with helping the environment (SkylineHawaii, 2021). This is effective as it will help the local community and ecosystems, however, is criticised as it only helps the local area, and is seen as too small scale.


Scaling


The scaling of a business is defined as ‘implementing strategies to support and promote growth of the business’ (Campbell, 2019). This is an essential feature to all businesses, especially to B-Corps and social enterprises, as it allows them to grow and spread their mission on a larger scale.


The first feature of the scaling of a business is expansion. SkylineHawaii expanded early on in their business ventures because in 2011 they opened up a second zipline park. With this, they used franchising to scale so they could earn an income and didn’t have to take full ownership of the park (Oliver, 2017). This allowed them to spread their mission to other areas of Hawaii and hopefully in the future help them to expand worldwide. However, this plan may not be feasible at this current moment in time because of the Coronavirus pandemic. This caused the de-multiplier effect, due to less tourism, meaning they may not be able to afford to expand at this current moment in time.


In comparison, One World Play and Lucky Iron Fish have not yet expanded but is a strategy that is feasible for both of them in the future. Although One World Play operates worldwide, there are opportunities to expand such as a merger with sports balls. These make Fairtrade footballs and both companies could knowledge share to expand worldwide, as they both share a common goal of bringing billions of people together through sport (Fairtrade International, 2021). On the contrary, a more viable strategy is to diversify by making other sports balls, such as tennis balls, rugby balls, and cricket balls.


Similarly, Lucky Iron fish could expand in various ways. One way is to expand worldwide and not just operate in Cambodia. There is a large market for the Iron Fish as 25% of the world’s population suffers from anaemia (WHO, 2021). However, this may not be a feasible idea as their product is very specialised to the Cambodian market with the ‘fish’ concept. They attempted to expand in India, however as a large proportion of the population are vegetarian or vegan the fish was not a viable solution. This led to them creating the ‘Lucky Iron Leaf’ (Armstrong, 2021), which is symbolic in Hinduism. Yet, if they want to expand worldwide, this will be very impractical as they will have to make a new product symbolic to the community, for every country in the world.


Knowledge sharing is a feasible way for both Lucky Iron Fish and SkylineHawaii to scale their business. SkylineHawaii knowledge shared through their guided tours and community conservation programmes. These educate the locals and visitors, so they can help protect and look after the area. Therefore, this provides sustainability for the local area, which is a key mission of SkylineHawaii. Although Lucky Iron Fish hasn’t knowledge shared yet, it is their most feasible way to scale in the future. At the moment they have only designed a product to prevent the problem, but in the future, they could diversify and offer training schemes which will cause them to be more proactive to the problem, rather than reactive. This could involve teaching people the disadvantages of iron deficiency, and then training and helping them to make meals with the correct iron amounts.


On the contrary, One World Play has scaled through a different strategy, and this is through strategic partnerships and branches. An example of this is their ‘PassTheHappiness’ campaign where they partnered with Coca-Cola. By partnering, One World Play was able to effectively utilise Coca-Cola’s network and global brand icon resulting in the One World Play project being able to branch out to over 200 different countries (One World Play Project, 2021). This helped them become a more recognisable brand across the world, which significantly benefitted their business.


Conclusion


As a result of this coursework, it is evident that so far, the chosen organisations have been successful in achieving their main missions. With the exception of One World play, it could be argued that although Lucky Iron Fish and SkylineHawaii have been a success in their local areas, they are too small scale and need to expand worldwide to solve the global problem. However, the future for these companies is uncertain, and the question is asked whether they will face opportunities or threats?


In the future, if Lucky Iron Fish has the aim to grow, they need to address worldwide markets. They have begun this with their ‘Lucky Leaf’ project in India; however, the feasibility of the worldwide aim is questioned. The potential threat is the innovation - as to be successful in each market they will need to adapt their product to appeal to the local communities, which is a very expensive and timeconsuming task. If they find a product that is attractive to customers worldwide, their future will be full of opportunities.


The One World Play Project has already been successful in helping children worldwide as they operate in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the future, they should aim to continue selling worldwide and partnering with major companies, such as Coca-Cola. The demand for footballs globally is very high, so One World Play has a great opportunity to sell to billions of people. On the other hand, they face a potential threat of once they sell footballs to all the people that need them, as they never need replacing, they will not sell anymore footballs and may see their social enterprise come to an end.


Similarly, the future of SkylineHawaii is uncertain. With many more B-Corps developing and many tours to compete with, the threat to this business will increase in the future. They are very specialised in the Maui area, and expansion to other communities may result in resentment from locals and also not enough knowledge to operate tours. However, at the moment, the de-multiplier effect due to the Coronavirus pandemic is a major threat for SkylineHawaii.


Bibliography


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