A group of 40 global aid agencies and charities launched an alliance on Monday to help social entrepreneurs weather the coronavirus crisis, saying they provided a vital safety net for some of the world’s poorest people.

Members of the partnership, called the Covid Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, collectively support more than 15,000 social entrepreneurs who help vulnerable and marginalised groups in about 190 countries.

“Social enterprises support the poorest of the poor and most vulnerable in our world… We have to help them help others,” Saskia Bruysten, CEO of Germany-based fund Yunus Social Business, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

With many countries living under strict lockdowns, it has become harder for social entrepreneurs - many of whom are directly responding to the crisis - to keep their businesses afloat.

The alliance, which also includes the Skoll Foundation, Ashoka, the IKEA Foundation, the Global Impact Investing Network and Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, has collectively raised $75 million to help social entrepreneurs in the crisis.

It will focus on helping social entrepreneurs in poorer countries where they act as the “de-facto social net” but struggle to receive government support, Bruysten said.

“These front-line organisations now face bankruptcy and severe constraints while they also innovate and respond to this global pandemic”, said François Bonnici, head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in a statement.

“Through this alliance, members are committing support for social entrepreneurs to protect decades of work in the impact sector,” he said.

Read the full article about keeping social entrepreneurs afloat from the Thomson Reuters Foundation at Eco-Business.