A responsibility beyond business: business owners as agents of social change
Colombia is currently undergoing favourable changes. Several consecutive years of sustained economic growth have stimulated local business dynamics and foreign investments.
The companies –as social agents– are responding to this positive outlook and have taken on a key role in the goals for social growth, and particularly in the task of reducing poverty. As value generators, the companies are increasingly more proactive in working hand in hand with the public sector to achieve results which have an impact on social development, at the same time invigorating the economy and their own businesses.
Likewise, as technical agents, they offer their know how to generate capabilities and offer sustainable solutions in the social, economic and environmental processes in vulnerable territories and communities.
The role of the private company is key in the effort to optimise the results of Colombian social policy
In the Sector for Social Inclusion and Reconciliation –led by the Department for Social Prosperity– we know that the role of the private company is key in the effort to optimise the results of Colombian social policy. The goals that the Government has set for 2020 motivate us to work on all fronts, so that by then, 51% of Colombians will comprise a robust and strong middle class.
In the Sector for Social Inclusion and Reconciliation, the joint work is carried out by means of strategies such as Alianzas por lo Social (Alliances for Social Affairs): a strategy that seeks to meet the challenges of social inclusion by promoting a joint work scheme to the private sector, where the strengths of both sectors are brought together, resulting in a relevant and sustainable social investment.
Today there are almost 50 Alianzas por lo social (Alliances for Social Affairs), and we continue working to increase this number. Without a doubt, the benefits of strategic resource investment to overcome poverty are immeasurable for Colombian society, at the same time benefiting the private sector.
Of what type of benefits are we talking about? At the Department for Social Prosperity, we believe that by generating virtuous cycles, we can talk about a genuine reduction in poverty and the creation of far-reaching opportunities so that a citizen in a state of vulnerability can attain a better standard of living.
The joint work makes it possible to strengthen the necessary and valuable human capital in order to invigorate the employability figures in the country, by means of investing in education, food safety and nutrition. Later on, these same citizens which the companies invest in, strengthen their capability to consume products and services.
In this way, a circle of sustainability and a genuine social mobility that affects several generations with attributes such as occupational inclusion, income generation and economic dynamism from family units, are thereby generated.
Among the many possibilities for social contribution and management in our country, a priority issue for business owners when making strategic decisions regarding their social responsibility or community commitment efforts is to have reliable and authoritative information regarding those projects under way and the areas in which they can get involved in, in line with their respective areas of operation or with their business objectives.
In order to address this need, the Department for Social Prosperity developed a georeferencing platform for social projects called Mapa Social (Social Map), which makes it possible to conduct “social business intelligence” in such a way that the private sector can participate in projects in a more efficient and relevant way.
The tool has been designed as a friendly setting which makes it possible to access the indicators of the territories where the project is to be implemented, as well as a way to showcase the progress and results of the initiatives. In this way, the business owners are able to broaden their knowledge beyond their businesses and to concentrate their social investments in overcoming the root causes of poverty, exclusion and inequality.
Mapa Social makes it possible to conduct “social business intelligence”
The results of the platform are overwhelming. Mapa Social (Social Map) has identified over 10,000 projects and can boast of over 50 success stories of comprehensively working with private organisations.
As leaders of the State social services, we are certain that the involvement of the private sector in the public sphere is strategic to achieving objectives, –not only those of the Government–, but also those goals that we all have as Colombians.
At the Department for Social Prosperity, we consider private organisations as our allies in achieving that great collective objective of building a country with a fairer distribution of wealth, with a robust middle class and without any segment of the population living in poverty.