Social enterprise firms catering to salient needs including education and health care normally except their viable interventions will in the long run be adapted and managed by governments. A prevalent notion in the domain is that regimes are striving to find tried and tested versions of projects so that scaling up can be easy. Nevertheless, recent stats show that amongst the innovations succeeding in
randomized controlled trials (RCT) – the highest bar for evidence – only a few are able to scale-up and bring change to the policy domain.
STIR Education, a firm channeling efforts towards increasing teacher motivation, has in a period of five years transcended from just a startup to an organization partnering with state agencies in Uganda and India. It has linked up around 2.5 million children with 75,000 teachers. The company’s administrators have mentioned that their journey has been one entailing mistakes and lessons, some of which are presented below.
Lesson one: Consider the ultimate goal first, involve the government, and then work backwards from there
It is salient to ascertain government demand from the beginning, particularly prior to piloting the innovation. This is because early input from state administrations may unravel requisite alterations on the intervention’s nature.
Lesson two: Cost really matters
Starting out with a higher price on a product/service may yield short-term impacts much faster. However, a startup employing a higher cost innovation will find it challenging to adopt a low cost structure in the long term.
DTI-ARMM Secretary Anwar Malang recently revealed that he was working towards a revolution, not an armed one but an economic one. DTI-ARMM, a trade and industry division in Mindanao’s governance, was unveiled earlier in the week as a social enterprise expedition to corroborate start-ups in the resource rich but most underprivileged zone in the country.
Malang notes of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) bearing enormous potential for development, but political concerns such as terrorism and insurgency have long plagued the area. He further castigates the regime’s ‘doll out’ programs dubbing them as ineffective measures that do not care much about the people, let alone empowering them to in turn yield mutual benefits. He has called on locals to engage themselves/invest in the Halal market given that the subject setting is predominantly Muslim. This example, together with other social franchise related activities, can provide a leeway out of
poverty for Mindanaoans, Malang asserts.
Besides the new department, an ideation camp has been set-up to gather invaluable input from community members on how they can improve the situation. One of the camp’s flagship project is the “Local Changes: Ideas to Impact” competition which will see locals pitch propositions meant to address social concerns in the area.
In the past decade, St. Clements on Mile End Road has been harboring London’s ruin addicts and ghost hunters. The premises initially served as a Victorian workhouse following completion back in 1849. It was later renovated into a psychiatric hospital but fell victim to dilapidation in 2005. This month however will see the grand old building serving quite a different and yet invaluable purpose. A long-running community campaign has overseen the transformation of the initially neglected facility into a housing project within the City’s crowded East End. The expedition has succeeded on quite a unique approach: instead of waiting for big firms to ascertain the site’s financial value, a team of local activists launched their signature community land trust (CLT) to attain ownership of some of the homes and control their pricing. Going by the name London Community Land Trust, the group has acquired approximately a tenth of the 252 homes on site. They’ve sold them all at roughly a third of the market price, via a game-changing take that recommends house prices on the basis of local earnings.
Payment entails a 10 percent deposit, with installments being set up to ensure no one pays more than a third of his/her monthly salary. Calum Green, a director at London CLT, mentions of the project serving as an example of how community leaders can provide housing to locals without obsessing over it as an investment.
Written accounts from Thomas Reuters Foundation have consistently ranked India amongst the globe’s most favorable countries for social entrepreneurship. And even better, the nation features in the top five about easy access to funding. Without a doubt, the aspects represent progress and good momentum in the sector. However, there are impediments to social innovation, some of which include limited public awareness, little government cooperation, recruitment of the right talent, and scaling sustainability. Presented below are organizations striving to equip start-ups in dealing with aforementioned concerns.
Launched back in 2005 to corroborate small and medium social franchises, ALC India supports and provides capital to rural entrepreneurs. The company has so far amassed a wide array of clientele ranging from NGOs, agencies, microfinance institutions, consulting firms, state divisions, and community-based businesses.
Headquartered in Mumbai, UnLtd India has been channeling efforts towards instilling enterprise mindsets, which obviously a key approach for the long term. It offers support to initial phase social entrepreneurs in three stages: the testing of the conception, advancing the pilot, and the scaling up of the established models. Mentoring and seed funding is tailored to cater for each stage.
Villgro is quite a unique incubator as it supports social enterprises by prototyping their ideations while providing go-to-market strategies.
Currently, rural areas in Uganda, Nepal, and other impoverished parts of the globe have resident natives utilizing handheld, solar powered gadgets that convert salty water into chlorine, a liquid form that can be used to clean dirty water and ensure it’s safe for consumption. The conception for the patent-pending implement stemmed from couple Patrick and Elizabeth Shores, who had initially thought of providing access to drinking water via a grassroots approach that collaborates/partners with locals. Their flagship product has two distinct features: its top is configured in a cup-like form while its bottom is a chlorine catch bottle. Undoubtedly, the partners have come up with a novel and yet sustainable solution to a global concern. More than twenty five countries are employing the sophisticated tool.
Smaller means more flexible
Social enterprise proponents are now beginning to understand that even though large scale charities can yield enormous change in developing/disaster-torn areas, smaller ideations could also be nimble
enough that they offer suitable solutions for overlooked regions. But in the case of the aforementioned project, Patrick Shores mentions that they opted for a device accessible to all after realizing the conventional clean water endeavors by large corporations, like for example digging wells, were surprisingly not making their way into rural areas either because of corruption or other incompetency issues.
The ‘post-apartheid’ era in South Africa has been continually marred by concerns such as dispossession, oppression, and necessary resistance, all of which seem to be featuring in the day to day lives of citizens. These issues have manifested themselves in various forms including a high youth unemployment rate, increase in gender based atrocities, makeshift informal settlements, and nepotism. Political analysts in the region assert that the authoritarian and unequal systems that governed prior are still intact, though with different faces enacting them.
Currently across the globe, the youth are increasingly becoming more skeptical to economic and political orders which yield little improvement in their lives. South Africa is no exception in this movement; the country’s young generation are now resorting to the politics of disruption.
Disruptive politics has prevalently been expressed via movements such as #FeesMustFall amongst others which all in all, they are striving to accrue better delivery of services for the victims. It’s an aspect that’s transcended into a voice particularly for those residing in impoverished areas.
It is important to note however that the methodology does not solely entail a daring and hard-headed approach. It also requires sparks of brilliance which are brought in by interdisciplinary/diverse group working as a collective (radical social entrepreneurship).
The two forms of praxis are most effective when working hand in hand, in that disruptive politics can play the role of annihilating old models while radical social enterprise constructs the new.
A recent research expedition by the British Council and the Moroccan CISE (Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship) has revealed that the progression of social enterprise in Morocco is currently being orchestrated by a small circle of small organizations and young entrepreneurs. A perfect case study is Dare Inc., a social franchising incubator launched in 2015 by the Moroccan CISE. Via its flagship one year program, the company has been channeling efforts towards unraveling invaluable social startups capable of yielding domestic and foreign partnerships which ultimately contribute to Morocco’s socio-economic development. To be enrolled in the program, an early phase firm has to have a fixed income that guarantees sustainability and autonomy, while at the same time effectively catering to a social concern.
Around seventy percent of trainees recruited at Dare Inc. are aged below 26 years, most of whom are still partaking in undergrad studies. Student engineer Youssef Chakroun is a perfect example of the incubator’s beneficiaries. His startup, dubbed as the Shems for Lighting, provides solar bulbs in areas without electricity coverage. Other notable conceptions that have been nurtured by the incubator program to become well-established businesses include Seaskin, a company converting fish waste to leather, and Amendy Foods which oversees the cultivation of Moroccan quinoa.
Fourteen social enterprise proponents catering to maternal and child health issues in sub-Saharan Africa will receive funds from potential partners. The initiative will go through via the Healthymagination Mother and Child Program which is set to tutor and mentor entrepreneurs seeking to enhance maternal/child health outcomes in Africa.
The course, which was launched in March 2016 by the Miller Center of Social Entrepreneurship, is specifically tailored to assist organizations in attaining business core principles, improving their approach to strategizing, and polishing business plans to depict impact, growth, and long term sustainability.
The fourteen participants were chosen from Eastern, Western and Southern Africa countries including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Botswana, following a rigorous process.
The kick-off workshop, which is the second since the expedition’s inception, will be conducted prior to a six-month online accelerator program which will feature comprehensive mentorship from Silicon Valley based CEOs as well as local franchise leaders. A “Premier Pitch” event will conclude the series, wherein the 14 organizations will showcase their respective businesses to a panel of potential investors. Some of businesses scheduled to present include SubQ Assist, Early Reach, Maternity Foundation, MDaaS, Neopenda, SevaMob, doctHERs, amongst others.
Healthymagination executive director Robert Wells notes of a key overriding theme: addressing local health concerns primarily requires locally-adapted innovations.
In a bid to make Central Florida the country’s headquarters for social enterprise, local leaders recently unveiled a new expedition meant to facilitate tutorship, mentorship, legal advice, and funding to aspiring entrepreneurs. Named as the Central Florida Social Enterprise Accelerator, the initiative will be harbored at Rollins College, wherein participants will freely partake in six month curriculum entailing valuable speeches from business, legal, accounting, and marketing specialists. It will culminate in a pitch presentation forum emulating the Shark Tank style. The winner will take home a five figure dollar sum.
Having been in the making for two years, it is salient to note that the accelerator is a result of a public-private partnership between two corporations who’ve already ventured into the social franchising domain and seen its benefits. First there’s the Clean the World, an acclaimed company recycling soap waste from hotels to combat ailments in sprawling urban areas, and the Downtown Credo, an enterprise operating name-your-price coffee shops. The latter has been funneling its profits to corroborating local artists and entrepreneurs, while also advocating for public participation in community projects. Clean the World on the other hand has transcended from its humble beginnings (was launched in one car garage) into a 115 country-spanning collective of 12 companies where only one is a non-profit. Founder Shawn Seipler mentioned that the initial motive of addressing childhood diseases via good hand washing practices proved to be a good driving force.
A 1951 Convention describes a refugee as someone who has fallen victim to persecution either because of his/her race, religion, or political/social preference, and cannot be safeguarded by the native country. Without a doubt, the ongoing refugee crisis has shown that migrants are often vulnerable, more so because the society at large considers them as low-tier citizens. And even worse, some fellow humans have seen an opportunity to cash in the crisis, wherein they charge refugees in border crossing, guaranteeing them of greener pastures once they get to the promised land, which often is not the case.
But in this negative rhetoric, it is salient to note that the subject group has made invaluable contributions to the global community, an aspect that seems to be overlooked. This makes us resort to the “us vs them” notion, which undoubtedly does not yield the much needed incentives to solve the migrant crisis.
One of the highly acclaimed refugees is Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein. Back in 1933, he fled Nazi Germany for the US. From then, the father of physics went on to cement his position as one of the most distinguished scientists with impeccable expertise/prowess. Another case study is that of Luol Deng, who fled the Sudanese Civil war and later became a professional basketball player in the USA. So ultimately, refugees could be at a disadvantage, but not in their capacities and state of mind.