• Eileen Atieno Mboya

Using Social Entrepreneurship to drive change

It is David Bornstein in his book How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas” who said - “Social entrepreneurs identify resources where people only see problems. They view the villagers as the solution, and begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they’re serving…”.

The word itself social entrepreneurship has been in the public domain for centuries, but there’s an increasing interest in investing in entrepreneurial ventures that encourage creating, incubating and supporting homegrown solutions for existing societal challenges.

Jennifer of True Kijani farms, holding one of their products; Scorch chilli

It is estimated that approximately between 28 million and 41 million jobs created in Africa, are directly plugged in by social enterprises. This places social entrepreneurship as a ripe venture for investments for anyone willing to increase self-dependency in sub-Saharan Africa.

Often it is quoted that “Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.” And this remains to be the primary goal of social entrepreneurship - which is to empower communities to come up with homegrown solutions to the day to day challenges they face. In doing so, we end up creating favourable conditions for youth, girls, women and men alike, to co-exist in a setup that encourages individual success.

A quick example of social entrepreneurial ventures that affect the community surrounding them would be; locally manufactured chilli production business - True Kijani farms, Milvic Construction which provides affordable architectural drawings and building material to homesteads in Kisumu - all these, in turn, provide employment to at-risk youth and single mothers.

Gregory of Mwegenye Greens attending to one of his backyard's gardens

Such social entrepreneurship ventures, however, need appropriate mentorship support, access to knowledge such as our DigiSomo platform and also, be provided with market access to help them sell their product or service to the outside world. These three key pillars will enable such entrepreneurs from low resourced settings to scale and become increasingly self-reliant.

How can one become a social entrepreneur?

Across East and Central Africa, there has been an increasing interest in investing in social entrepreneurship especially with the surge of the COVID 19 pandemic. More global organizations are driving funds for locally made solutions - that provide an answer to the disrupted supply chain. Additionally, programs such as our Buruka or Boost Biz program equip learners with the right technical skills for their businesses.

Any last words?

The basic functionality of a human being is being human. And providing access to basic and necessary amenities should be a freely accessible amenity for everyone. The need to invest in social entrepreneurship is constantly increasing - it sure is the way to drive social change.


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