NESsT: Finalist's Statement
NESsT is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to finding lasting solutions to systemic poverty and social injustice through the development of social enterprises--mission-driven businesses that increase the financial sustainability and social change impact of civil-society organizations.s
"Social enterprises enable us to take greater responsibility and control of our own resources, to further our missions, and to steer part of the market toward the pursuit of social change and development."
- Nicole Etchart & Lee Davis in Profits for Nonprofits.
NESsT believes that nonprofits can increase their long-term viability and independence by generating some of their own resources through social enterprise in order to supplement philanthropic support. Through social enterprise, nonprofits are empowered by their own abilities to generate new revenues, increase their efficiency and effectiveness, and generate a flexible, untied financing source they can apply to their defined mission priorities. NESsT also believes that when used in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, social enterprises can help create an alternative economy more responsive to marginalized people. By purchasing products and services sold by social enterprises, consumers are furthering a social mission while contributing to a more equitable world.
For example, the "tourist camp" and related enterprises of nonprofit Vydra (Slovakia) create employment and strengthen tourism while also generating financial resources to support Vydra's other rural development projects. The woodworking enterprise of P-Centrum (Czech Republic) provides employment and job-training opportunities for at-risk youth overcoming drug addiction while as it generates resources for its youth programs through the sale of the woodshop products.
NESsT supports the development of "social enterprises" through a "philanthropic investment" approach that applies the best practices of the business and investment worlds. As reported in the Dow Jones Newswires, NESsT isn't about charity. It's into business plans, management skills, long-term strategy, business ethics, and efficiency. It's into running a tight ship. The idea is to make the business side of an organization profitable, allowing it to fund its social agenda.