“Solving social issues for the 4 Billion people who live on less than $5/day is essentially about commodification: take socially beneficial goods and services and make them orders of magnitude cheaper, then sell them on massive scale.
Whilst the biggest attraction is social there is a huge fiscal attraction as well. Considering 4 to 5 billion underserved people and an economy of more than $13 Trillion PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) the market potential is huge. Finding co-operative ways to serve this market is a development activity, one that can pull the poor out of poverty, and also a play at changing incentives for the millennial generation. We seek to encourage this generation away from joining investment banks or defence contractors and towards building wealth through servicing this huge market in a socially beneficial way.
The methodology required to open these markets is based on co-creating products and services with the Bottom of Pyramid consumer (refer to our methodology section). The best time to do it is to engage with this consumer early in in a prospective entrepreneur’s career (whilst in their 20’s) when they are able to withstand the economic and travel hardships of building a social enterprise targeting this market.
Our view is that the optimal outcome for sustainability is to utilise Project Everest entrepreneurial methodology, in collaboration with the contextual understanding local communities and organisations have of their immediate environment, to solve selected social issues that fall outside the realm of what could be otherwise solved through conventional means, charity or government.
Project Everest is unique in its project application due to its social enterprise definition. Beyond this all PE Social Enterprises must have the following characteristics:
Socially Beneficial Product or Service
Product Market Fit
Healthy and Sustainable Cashflow
The social enterprise definition restricts PE in the social enterprises it will seek to create in order to ensure we are true to our purpose. For example, we fundamentally disagree with current ‘popular’ social enterprises that create dependent economic empowerment through the production of goods and services for a western market using community labour. Examples being bags and t-shirts. In turn we also disagree with the “Thankyou Group’s” model for social impact involving producing products for western markets and having a large CSR budget, however, we strongly encourage their continued success.
To achieve our promise of building socially beneficial enterprises based on our strict definitions Project Everest employs a core entrepreneurial methodology based on the following bodies of knowledge
Ensures ‘socially beneficial product or service’ and ‘product market fit’.
Ensures sustainable business model
Ensures enterprises scale to achieve maximum social impact
In order to deliver on our social outcomes, PE focuses on being a training provider of excellence to all our student ‘Trekkers’, team leaders, group leaders and staff. We hold the philosophy that the greater we can enhance our project team’s abilities then the greater outcome they will have on delivering on our purpose of solving social issues.
The intent of our projects is to partner with established community-based organisations in the countries we operate and to not reinvent the wheel in seeking solutions.
Current projects are based on United Nations identified issues, defined under the Sustainable Development Goals, thus have support and recognition on the ground. These include access to clean drinking water, education, health, sustainable food production, effective use of natural resources, renewable energy.