I recently started Banned Books MTÜ, a social enterprise in Tallinn. However I also run another company, a regular for-profit OÜ. The company rents camera equipment and provides crewmembers to the film & tv industry here in Tallinn. We're doing well, even in these covid times, however there is more competition than ever and we're looking for ways to innovate and expand our network. Since starting the SEMA program I have felt that I am not interested in continuing with this company unless it becomes relevant to my degree, so I am trying to think of ways to bring social impact using the company's resources. The obvious answer is something like 'provide free equipment to make promotional films for social causes', but our equipment is usually too busy on profit-delivering shoots, and we never have two or three full free days to devote to such projects. Anybody have creative thoughts on how we can use our powers for good? 🎥
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This is very nice to see that you want to add some social elements to your well running business. I see people have already shared some good ideas with you about this matter, here I would like to add my suggestions as well.
In my opinion it is always much easier to add a well running business social elements rather than starting the business as a social enterprise.
So, now let's see how this business can give back to the society. :)
In my opinion renting the equipment for free will not take you anywhere. It will rather create a headache for you. It is better to keep the business right now as it is and focus on who can get benefit from it by joining.
As you know one of the key elements of Social Business is beneficiaries. In my opinion in your case these people can be: fresh high school or collage graduates who are coming from low income families, or youth who gradate orphanages and need some support, network, guidance, job opportunities in life.
You can make a some procedures and select one or two candidates from these backgrounds ,who are also at the same time is willing to learn and grow in this filed.
Later you can involve them with your team and train them how to utilize equipment, sounding, lightning, video editing, acting and so on.
In this way as a social enterprise you will empower youth by creating to them job opportunities.
I personally believe that through social entrepreneurship we can make the world a better place. We should also understand that we can not change many people's world. But imagine with your this initiative if you can change one young person's life it means you are changing his/her world for the better.
So far from my side I can say this much. But I am sure that there are more potential to explore in this business and make it as a social enterprise.
I wish you all the best!
Thanks for the feedback guys! I meditated on it and I spoke with my business partners, and they reacted very positively, so I have free reign to do whatever I want. I've decided to do a project called '12 for '21' where every month of 2021 we will choose a newbie cinematographer and give them the equipment for free to make a promotional film for a handpicked social cause, most likely a Tallinn-based charity.
Costs my company nothing, very good for the charity (who don't usually have the funds or resources for promotional film), good for the cinematographer's portfolio, good for me because I have to do very little so I can focus on Banned Books 😀
Also I'd end the year with a producer's portfolio of twelve projects, which could lend itself to future CSR projects if I one day go down that route. Will keep you all updated!
The idea sounds interesting. I would suggest to continue and even engage actively in that. My suggestion would be to involve BFM students and students from other universities on this field who have passion and are on the same page with you on social impact. You can shot videos on issues that usually are unnoticed in the daily life , but they worth to be highlighted. For ex, you may take a video on fragile members of the society and difficulties (here I can add bullying, harrassment, stress at work, drug addiction, mental disorders) they face in different areas (at school, university, work even in the street) and raise awareness. In future you may be offered cooperation by companies, business entities , universities on this topic. Any company or university may offer you to shot a social video for them to highlight their CSR activities or social awareness and etc.
I agree with what has been said, there is no need to do something over night but definitely ways you can incorporate social impact elements and CSR programs. I think allocating a certain amount of time per quarter to pro bono projects, similar to what the legal profession does, is one way to work. Or maybe start a competition for a free shoot/use of your equipment to the best socially minded project who wants to shoot a mini documentary or an info piece. Not all business can be 100% social impact driven and whose sole focus is improving society all the time but as long as you are not being a negative and doing what you can to give back I think there is no reason why you would stop that business.