Social enterprises in Africa rise to new challenges

The Enterprise Africa Summit that took place last week had a key headlining focus which was resilience. The topic was chosen to serve as a representation of Africa’s social franchising landscape wherein it’s challenging to survive as an enterprise; and therefore social proponents need to robust themselves while providing solutions that enhance the societies’ resilience in the areas of operation. A perfect case study adhering to this approach was highlighted at the event, more so because it utilized local resources and technologies within the underserved communities to accrue social impact.

Zaacoal, Ghana

Amin Sulley, the founder of the aforementioned franchise launched the company in a bid to address a multifaceted concern. Firstly, there was the prevalent use of kerosene or wood in the West African nation, a hazardous approach for their environment. Secondly, this was mostly done indoors, with resultant smoke proving quite detrimental to health. Sulley therefore embarked on a research expedition and discovered that the problem could be solved by utilizing discarded coconut pods. After unravelling a methodology that transformed the pods into charcoal, he had developed a smokeless, environmentally friendly product.


Social Entrepreneurs on Building South Africa’s Economy

A written account going by the name “The Disruptors: Social entrepreneurs reinventing business and society” has detailed social franchising expeditions of fourteen South Africa investors. One of them is Claire Reid, owner of the Reel Gardening enterprise which facilitates vegetable plantations on strips of biodegradable paper. This sophisticated cultivation feat has also proved quite efficient when it comes to water use. Reid initiated her undertaking at age 16.

There’s also Gregory Maqoma, managing director of Vuyani Dance Theatre. The company organizes dance performances for conventional cinemas and corporate occasions. It also offers training courses to novice dancers.

Yusuf Randera-Rees is also featured in the book, being the founder of the Awethu project that has so far corroborated about five hundred startups and currently regulates more than 160 million rand in state and collective funds.

The aim of book

Co-authors Gus Silber and Kerryn Krige have pointed out in the publication’s introduction that their main motive is to demonstrate the value and diversity that is prevalent in the social enterprise domain, wherein there exists enormous potential/opportunity besides profit making.



Social entrepreneurship as a solution to the drug problem

Looking at case studies in Mexico, Colombia and recently in the Philippines, it’s evident that the all-out rage against drug traffickers is unfortunately yielding more violence instead of positive outcomes. This is particularly so because the big fish in the trade are powerful and well connected with local and national authorities. Therefore, a key alternative in dealing with the menace could be redirecting the demand from drug users, rather than trying to annihilate the big cartels. One question that arises from this conception is, can social enterprise initiatives come up with innovative products/services that can serve as alternatives to illegal narcotics? Presented below are salient ideals that adhere to the aforementioned methodology.

Firstly, most of the drug users often regard their habit as a means of recreation and in some cases socialization. So we ask ourselves, which surrogate exercise can efficiently cater to this need? The use of sports can adequately address this concern – one formidable approach would be to coordinate sports leagues that corroborate community support and friendly competition.

Additionally, social franchise proponents could utilize social media and the internet to come up with apps that provide support/forums to the addicts, particularly those partaking in the dire activity as a form of dealing with stress/difficulties in life.



Making Non-Formal Education Attractive for Slum Children

The lack of education in slum areas is a key social concern that needs to be addressed by enacting an innovative methodology to schooling. The informal classroom setting can instil a learning zeal in children; and also serve as a forum shelter to empower the community at large with the following tips.

Use of Open green spaces

Open areas shaded by trees have proved to be quite soothing and attractive natural environs for study. The Aravindam Foundation is already enacting this conception in India, where it has transformed unutilized panchayat lands into urban hubs promoting education, training, and environmental awareness in underserved communities.

Reading opportunities

Children are without doubt inclined to reading, but nonetheless, the package with which the study material comes in plays an important role. Historical and inspirational storybooks presented in a cartoon/picture format will instinctively capture a child’s attention.

Making learning exciting

Integrating fun-making activities like theatre and dance can enhance children’s confidence and personality, to in turn generate a motivational ripple effect amongst the larger peer group.


SEED SPOT accelerator is a new home for DC social entrepreneurs

D.C has in recent times transcended to become a refuge for a large network of entrepreneurs and franchises seeking to solve the globe’s most pressing demands/concerns. Additionally, Washington seems to be a trend setter when it comes to technology based innovations addressing social issues. With home based set-ups as well as tech giants’ outposts all thriving in this region, Courtney Klein, CEO and co-founder of SEED SPOT, wants to contribute by creating a favorable environment for initial phase social enterprises.

Launched in Phoenix, Arizona in 2012, SEED SPOT is an accelerator platform that assists startups in scaling up their conceptions. With an alumni community consisting of about 300 entrepreneurs (a 50% women make-up and a 45% minority make-up), Klein has embarked on an expedition that capacitates social business proponents by starting right in the most affected groups.

The incubator program will be initiated in D.C this coming spring, entailing part time and full time courses meant to instil key insights on branding, operations and raising venture capital funds.



Raja Muda to fire up Selangor youth

The Selangor Youth Community (SAY) has unveiled a new program that seeks to mentor the youth so that they can play a key role in Selangor’s social enterprise domain. Dubbed as the Youth Ignite 2017, the undertaking aims at instilling interest and commitment on society based initiatives in sectors such as arts, culture, entertainment, business, sports and health. The SAY, being a non-state corporation, wants to serve as a bridge linking the government, the corporate field and the youth to in turn facilitate a thriving, sustainable community. In doing so, it will first start by partnering with Hijrah Selangor, a government funded program that distributes startup funds to budding franchises. The collaborative approach will guarantee easier disbursement of microcredit to Selangor’s young entrepreneurs and is a very exciting development in the world of social entrepreneurship.


The SAY Ignite 2017, scheduled for commencement this coming April, entails opportunities to foster talent from grassroots levels, while also acting as a conception sharing platform where the youth can provide opinions on concerns affecting their generation. There are great hopes that this new program will take hold in the community and bring powerful results.


Key Concepts from Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

Old practice, new concept.

Social enterprise activities in the aforementioned region have their roots in the solidarity ideal, with most providing refuge to the underprivileged without government funding. Natives normally assist the poor via initiatives such as cooperatives and mutual insurance funds. However, many are not conversant with the conception “social entrepreneurship”. Further, coming up with a translation term that fits the local context has proven to be quite a challenge.

Variety of legal frameworks.

Social franchises in the Middle East do not have a legal structure to properly represent them in the marketplace. Most categorize themselves as constituents in the informal sector. The registered ones on the other hand take various forms including non-state organizations, private businesses, civil companies, or cooperatives. Others combine these aspects to accrue aggregate benefits from the distinct systems. For instance, a web based education social business in Egypt is listed as a non-profit to acquire donor funding and also a corporation to generate net earnings while avoiding state prosecution on tax evasion.

Jiwon Park: Reaching out to the world

During her high school years, Jiwon Park partook in various activism efforts in her hometown Fort Wayne, with one example being the training of refugees. Now an MIT senior, she notes that the activities provided salient insights into the social concerns plaguing her city. She has so far been embarking on trips to four different nations where she oversees social enterprise and public health projects, while still being involved in her undergraduate program.

In her initial years at MIT, she began seeking sophisticated methodologies that could prove quite effective in assisting the needy. One of her first stepping stones was getting membership at the MIT Global Poverty Initiative, a student based corporation that utilizes the services of the MIT community in negating poverty concerns. She immediately participated in the du’Anyam Project, an initiative that was at the time channeling efforts in addressing the dire maternal health care (and the relating high miscarriage cases) in Indonesia. After discovering women in remote areas were being subjected to hard labor during pregnancy, she formed a team and they came up with a new alternative to facilitate revenue generation amongst the affected group – weaving wicker products including baskets and furniture with pandan twigs.


International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship concluded successfully

The aforementioned global conference, taking place for the first time in Sri Lanka, was recently summed up after achieving its main goal, which was to develop a worldly platform that would instil the much needed drive in social enterprise. The event was attended by an interdisciplinary audience entailing pupils, scholars, researchers, businessmen and organization delegates from around the world. They all partook in discussion forums, sharing knowledge, expertise and real life experiences in the specialized sector.

The symposium was further divided into thirteen categories to dive deeper into the wider perspective concerning social franchising, its relevance and execution. The subdivisions included Green entrepreneurship, new approaches in CSR, Sustainability in business via social entrepreneurship, the salience of SE fostering in education institutions, women’s role in the domain, amongst other topics. With the approach, participants gained valuable insights on context based ideation.

The 2016 International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship was directed by the Colombo School of Business Management, a fledgling company seeking to establish leaders in South East Asia via hands-on, practical courses.



Competition Aims to Boost Social Entrepreneurship

Richmond’s Earlham College has recently initiated a business plan contest that aims at encouraging collaboration and creativity in social entrepreneurship. With a five dollar figure sum in venture funds, the Earlham Prize for Creative Capitalism will kick-start operations of startups channeling efforts towards social and peace building initiatives. Its first event will oversee presentations from fourteen groups consisting of scholars from Earlham, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue Polytechnic School. The winning team will take home a twenty thousand prize sum with smaller prizes being funneled to other proposals.

Gene Hamrick, director at Earlham’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, mentions the reason behind the use of the term Creative Capitalism, saying it’s because the undertaking is focusing on people, the planet and profit. He also details a few propositions in the forthcoming occasion, which include a food security course to negate hunger in Wayne County, a STEM tutorship/mentorship course to instil innovation, and a program providing childcare services for parents working in nightshift jobs.