While many countries continue to debate whether their public healthcare system should provide full coverage, if any at all, the reality tells a different story. Healthcare services becomes, slowly but surely, a luxury rather than a basic human right – both in rich and poor countries. A growing number of people in need of healthcare can’t afford it – or simply don’t have access to it. But where there’s a need – social enterprises are happy to pitch in. This fertile ground brought many initiatives with market-based strategies to fill in the void and bring healthcare to the ones who need it the most. So why should investors keep an eye on social entrepreneurship in the healthcare and life science ecosystems in 2021?

The Current State of Social Enterprises

Social enterprises, as ever, try to address the problems that governmental life sciences initiatives are unable to solve. Many initiatives in the Healthcare ecosystem aim to provide solutions by developing their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. A great example is Northwell Health, a leading health system in the great New York Area, that has setup a Foundation to lead social initiatives.

But it’s not enough to present a remedy here and now: those social enterprises are well aware of the fact that they need to lead their mission in a sustainable way. Long-term solutions require ressources and awareness. Building today’s awareness enables building bridges between those institutions and investors.

Leading Global Total Societal Impact (TSI) Trends 

Up until recently, companies mostly had their eyes on guaranteeing high Return Of Investment (ROI) to their stakeholders. However, the last years present an interesting shift of perspective: now, the Total Societal Impact (TSI) is seriously taken into account. Whether positive or negative, the TSI reflects the overall effects a company has on society, including: activities, services, operations, and even its products. In some countries, like Italy, France, the U.K. and even the U.S., more and more corporations are adopting this strategy to not only leverage their business – but also give something back to society. The main advantage of acting upon this approach is that such calculations raise red flags in advance, hence decrease potential risks, while introducing new opportunities and strengthening the sustainability of the business.

Another way to enhance the feasibility of a business is building a mission-driven culture within the organization. The math is simple: your system is only as good as the people operating in it.  This change in the life sciences ecosystems will only happen with and through the right people with the right mindset – and at the right time. Those, and those only, will set the example to their peers and lead the way, driving an autonomic, self-feeding mechanism of growth, education and improvement. Engaged workforce is as important today as ever, and the life sciences organizations who’d be wise enough to make this change of mindset will be among the first ones to experience the difference both in productivity and in ROI – merely because of our ever-changing reality and Covid-19.

The Lasting Effects of Covid-19

Alongside the many devastating effects that Covid-19 has imposed on our lives, there’s no doubt that there was one main industry that the world was watching carefully this year, and that is the healthcare industry – with both awe and criticism. The global pandemic caught many world-leaders unprepared, unprepared to deal with a crisis of such caliber on that front – despite preceding warning signs and existing contingency plans.

Life sciences ecosystems and social enterprises reached an all-time high in popularity during 2020, with a continuously growing demand of society members to find innovative yet plausible solutions. If you have watched any news broadcasts this year, you couldn’t possibly have missed the image of exhausted healthcare personnel, working tirelessly to do their best, given the circumstances and limitations. The crumbling of the public healthcare systems became the hot topic of the year, and even more relevant and crucial to many than ever before – although the writing was on the wall for years.

Specialists in the field have already claimed that even once Covid-19 will be fully behind us, its effects are here to stay for years to come – specifically when it comes to life sciences and the prioritization of it compared to other fields.

Strategic Positioning of Stakeholders in Social Healthcare Enterprises 

So why should stakeholders invest in social life sciences enterprises in 2021? Besides the obvious current popularity of the topic, this year was a prime example and a testimony to the ability of governments world-wide to respond to such a crisis – and revealed the resilience of existing healthcare systems globally.

Such investment could have unprecedented and long-lasting effects on the market: organizations and full systems will finally be able to hire enough people, while training both new and existing employees much better to create self-reliant systems, and optimize work methods to increase productivity. Socially aware enterprises, with a TSI strategy and a corresponding business plan, will be able to minimize their negative effects on members of society and develop more attentive, flexible policies, that would be better-connected to their communities.

From an investor’s perspective, this is a win-win situation, and a fantastic opportunity to get a greater return on their investment, both in terms of the fiscal aspect, and more importantly – the ethical one.

In conclusion

The upcoming year brings as many opportunities to social entrepreneurs and enterprises in the life sciences and healthcare ecosystems, as well as challenges. It’s high time for investors and stakeholders to make an informed decision and stream funds to socially-aware, mission-driven organizations that are (or would be, potentially) significant contributors to health and social care. It’s no longer a matter of just increasing profit – but changing the face of humanity.