How Social Entrepreneurship Is Shaping Africa
Social entrepreneurship is what everyone is talking about in development and sustainability circles today. While Africa is known for its entrepreneurial culture, Kenya is especially known for this culture. From people who sell goods on the street to people who have big businesses to run, all of them strive for the same thing—making their business as sustainable as possible.
According to Ashoka East Africa “social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change”. Looking at Africa’s past, and where the continent is now headed, it’s safe to say that social entrepreneurship is the most sustainable way to social development in Africa. If this is the case for the continent, it’s even more the case for Kenya where people have proven that they can take care of themselves when the needed resources are available.
This is where Angels for Angels (A4A), a Seattle based nonprofit organization, comes in. A4A funds locally led and sustainable social projects in East Africa, including Kenya, and provides those social entrepreneurs with the financial resources they need to transform ideas into tangible actions. They also partner with universities to teach social entrepreneurship and inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs.
The best way to empower future social entrepreneurs is to start teaching social entrepreneurship classes in schools. The earlier the better, they say. If students learned in school the principles of social entrepreneurship, knew that it was not only a possible but a viable path, and turned those principles into actions they could change their lives, their communities and even their countries.
A good example of this is Makerere University Business School (MUBS) who has integrated social entrepreneurship in its curriculum for students to become successful social entrepreneurs and are now actively changing their communities. The same school started the SETAFRICA (Social Entrepreneurship Transforming Africa) with the help of USAID and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to provide young social innovators across Anglophone Africa with the organizational leadership skills, mentoring, networks, and funding opportunities needed to strengthen and scale up their social ventures.
This interesting venture shouldn’t only be for Anglophone countries in Africa, but should also be the case for the remaining African countries that want to change the future of entrepreneurship in their communities.
Investing in social enterprise in Africa is one of the most successful ways to achieve sustainable development in Africa. It allows people to identify their own needs and to design projects that are serving those very needs using local resources to do so.