The TRANSFORM program arrives in Latin America for the first time with the objective of accelerating business models to achieve sustainability, stimulate the economy and support marginalized populations
Bogotá, 6 December 2022. Unilever, the Global Solidarity Fund (GSF) and EY announced $1 million contribution to foster Social Entrepreneurship through TRANSFORM, a program that seeks to help build an inclusive labor market for marginalized communities in Latin America, starting in Colombia. The program will provide grant funding and bespoke business support to impact enterprises incubating early-stage business models in the region, supporting projects that address a variety of needs in low-income communities, such as youth, women, migrants, and displaced populations.
“At Unilever we believe in the capacity of Colombian entrepreneurs to generate true social transformations. We are united in a common purpose to foster inclusive businesses, positively impact communities, and create the boost the economy needs. Through TRANSFORM we will provide social enterprises with world-class commercial and financial support, including access to commercial networks, technology and expertise for the scalability of their business models,” said Rodrigo Sotomayor, General Manager of Unilever in Colombia.
“The Global Solidarity Fund believes that all sectors have roles to play in building inclusive labor markets for marginalized communities. An innovative element of the TRANSFORM program in Latin America will be inclusion of faith-based organizations trusted by local communities. A network of Catholic men’s and women’s congregations, with its deep relationships and knowledge of the skills and needs of migrants, refugees, and vulnerable people, will bring unique value to the partnership by helping to connect social entrepreneurs with TRANSFORM,” stated Patrick W. McGrory, President of the Global Solidarity Fund.
The TRANSFORM model was created in 2015 as a unique joint initiative between Unilever, the UK’s Foreign Office, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) and EY, impacting to date more than 7 million people in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia through funding 75 projects. Now, with its expansion in Colombia, the program will work to accelerate social business models, stimulate the economy, and support the most vulnerable populations, including migrants and refugees, in the global workforce.
“At EY we are very excited about supporting social entrepreneurs from vulnerable communities with our professional knowledge, experience and skills, so they can strengthen and scale up their business models to succeed in the market. We need to promote economic and social engines that may transform the reality of many remote places of our country,” stated Edgar Sanchez, Country Managing Partner of EY Colombia.
Reflecting the successful model developed in other regions, the program in Colombia offers participating social enterprises grant funding of up to USD $150,000; a Unilever project leader dedicated to supporting project implementation and providing expertise for 12 months; bespoke technical assistance from EY; full access to the TRANSFORM network; and an expert partner in monitoring and evaluation who will measure and maximize route to impact.
An initial round of selection of projects will take place in December 2022. To participate, TRANSFORM invites legally constituted social enterprises to submit proposals for scalable projects for financing and business support, offering benefits for vulnerable populations in one or more of the following priority areas: migrants and displaced populations, women or youth. In addition, they must propose an innovative approach, technology and business model that provides an opportunity for TRANSFORM to support companies’ path to scale.
Social enterprises interested can send their applications to Transform.Colombia@unilever.com. For more information visit www.transform.global
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition and Ice Cream products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 3.4 billion people every day. We have 148,000 employees and generated sales of €52.4 billion in 2021.
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business.
The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:
- improving the health of the planet;
- improving people’s health, confidence and wellbeing;
- and contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.
For more information about Unilever and our brands, please visit www.unilever.com.
The Global Solidarity Fund is a unique alliance catalyzing partnerships for the most vulnerable across the private sector, the development sector, and Catholic communities. Founded in 2019 by leaders spanning these sectors, GSF fosters synergies among Catholic entities and systemic connections with businesses, investors, philanthropies, international bodies and governments.
As a catalyst, GSF supports these development partners in finding coherent solutions to meet the needs of marginalized people holistically and efficiently, accelerating progress toward the SDGs.
Early successes have included sparking inter-congregational job creation programs for migrants and refugees, supporting Sisters as effective advocates for development, fostering collaboration on Covid vaccine communication between Catholic communities and global health organizations, and bringing the moral voices of Pope Francis and other faith leaders to global audiences through a collaboration with Global Citizen. www.globalsolidarityfund.org
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