Social business is a business model which places an importance on meeting social objectives (such as alleviating poverty) while operating in a commercially viable and sustainable manner.
BEC conducts social business activities with the intention of addressing the myriad of area specific social issues such as unemployment, lack of quality water resources, lack of proper pre-school facilities etc. affecting many underprivileged populations in rural Sri Lanka.
Creating sub-contract partnerships with private companies to generate employment in rural areas, facilitating services to private sector companies keen to start Social Businesses in rural areas, promoting investments in rural areas and promoting the concept of Social Business through various forums are some of the ways in which BEC promotes the Social Business concept.
Currently, there are 15 production centers which have been developed based on this social business concept at various locations in the Kegalle district and around 200 youth and women have been provided employment or part time work through these centers. Over the years 22 companies have partnered with Berendina in social business initiatives.
BEC also invests in existing and new social business owned by other parties. BEC provides an interest free loan to these business, which can be used for expansion of the business, product diversification and market expansion. The terms under which the loan is provided and the amount provided are determined based on the nature of the business.
BEC facilitates private sector companies to establish rural level production centers. This is done in the following ways.
Provides assistance to identify and start potential businesses for co-operatives and other community based organizations in rural areas. BEC develops partnerships with private companies to start production centers in rural areas and links these companies with local co-operatives and community based organizations. BEC also provides attractive incentives such as interest free loans, management assistance, trained workforce and premises to these private companies. In addition, BEC provides financial and managerial assistance to these co-operatives until they become self sufficient.
BEC works to promote the Social business concepts locally and internationally by conducting local and international conference and awareness program in partnership with relevant institutions.