Most entrepreneurs in the early stages of developing their startups aren’t too fussed about social responsibility. It is the last thing on their mind when they have to focus on the product itself and how it will generate appropriate revenue.
Then in the next stage they have to deal with many other issues and headaches that come in the early stages of the development of a startup – such as investors and marketing.
The issue is even greater in the CEE region according to the Charities Aid Foundation’s 2016 World Giving Index. Up until now entrepreneurs have been mostly praised for the profits they generate but receive little praise for making a contribution to addressing certain societal problems.
Perhaps entrepreneurship as a whole would be wise to change its mentality and approach towards social responsibility. Recent trends would suggest that consumers do opt for products that are produced by companies that put more effort in the social responsibility department.
Of course there are many more reasons why startups should engage in activities associated with social responsibility such as a boost in the reputation of the company, the potential to build better relationships and improve employee morale. Then, of course, there is the aspect of making the world a better place and giving back to society which in itself should give entrepreneurs enough motivation to put more emphasis on social responsibility.
One organization in the CEE region that can be proud of its social responsibility contributions is Design Terminal. It is an incubator that was founded in Budapest in 2004 and focuses on nurturing startups that seek to have a positive social contribution in the fields of sports and healthcare, working and learning, mobility and urban development.
The incubator aims to reward startups that aren’t solely focused on personal growth but also the growth of their communities as a whole. The end result that the incubator tries to achieve is simple – improve the wellbeing of society as whole.
Design Terminal offers a 3-month long accelerator program offering business development and talent management services. It also seeks to connect talented entrepreneurs with innovative companies so that they can work together and find ways to benefit their community.
The incubator recently hosted a Christmas auction where their partners and mentees auctioned 36 items which all had a social responsibility angle attached to it. The auction proved to be a success as the auction managed to raise €10,000, more than last year.
It’s this kind of attitude that can change the way the businesses in the region are seen – by Europe and the rest of the world.