The Editors' Post: Community amid crisis

Why Turkey's social entrepreneurs need your stories; 365 days of resilience in Ukraine; and 100 fresh faces on our WISE100 list – the editors' view from this week's Pioneers Post newsletter.

On Monday morning I spoke to the co-founders of Impact Hub Ankara about how the earthquakes in early February had affected them. They’d been “hit pretty bad”, Berivan Elis and Duygu Vatan told me, with many colleagues grieving the loss of loved ones, or trying to find housing for relatives left homeless. And, after two weeks of ramping up support to their network of social enterprises – while witnessing unimaginable tragedy every day – Berivan and Duygu were exhausted. Later that evening, after we spoke, another earthquake hit Turkey. The death toll across the country and in neighbouring Syria is now nearing 50,000.

 The two women see glimmers of hope, though, and a chance to turn disaster into opportunity – a sentiment we’ve heard from social entrepreneurs in other disaster zones. For Berivan and Duygu, this is a time to be braver in pushing an “impact-first, human-first” economy, and to do more to support proven solutions and show the world what works. But what struck me most about my conversation with them was how much they lean on and want to learn from their peers around the world. How can Pioneers Post readers help Turkey recover? By sharing what has already been tried, successfully or not, in other crisis response situations around the world. They want your ideas, and they need your encouragement – do get in touch with them if you can help.

365 days of resilience

Today marks one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. We checked in with SILab Ukraine – who we first spoke to just days after war broke out – and which has somehow managed to continue and even expand its work of supporting social innovation in the past year. As a result, a bunch of ventures have been able to pivot, relocate or help more people in need. Our feature highlights just a few of them, plus two more social enterprises abroad, who are helping Ukrainians to seek safety, find work or rebuild some sort of normality. 

‘Glacial’ progress?

In other good news, female entrepreneurship is on the rise in the UK. Women founded a record number of new companies last year – with a particular jump among 16- to 25-year-olds. But accessing funding is still harder than it is for men, and the founder of social enterprise The Women’s Organisation suggested the new data is not cause for celebration. Progress is “glacially slow”, she said, while the US is racing ahead in support for female founders.

 The Women’s Organisation is among those supporting our WISE100 initiative – our annual celebration of the UK’s leading women in social enterprise, run in partnership with NatWest. We’re delighted to share the 2023 Top 100 list today: leaders from across the country who are making a real difference. On Tuesday 7 March, we’ll announce the winners of four special awards. Stay tuned for more!


This week's top stories:

Seven social ventures helping Ukrainians survive and thrive in wartime

‘We need courageous ideas’: Turkey’s social entrepreneurs call for help as quake toll rises

Women entrepreneurs create record number of new UK companies in 2022, finds Rose Review


Photo: Impact Hub Ankara, which opened its doors in October 2022 (credit: Impact Hub Ankara)

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