Within Africa, many social enterprises offer solutions to the multidimensional socio-economic challenges currently faced in the continent. All around Africa, social entrepreneurs are catalysts for innovative solutions created to address these encounters.
Among some of these challenges include unemployment, weak educational systems, gender discrimination, natural resource dependence and social redistributive pressures, which discourage people from investing in their income activities. Therefore, social entrepreneurs innovate and create jobs through launching startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
Social Enterprises are cleverly combining a social mission with business and successfully making a real impact. Their goal is not to build organisations that endures over time, but rather to develop a solution that is sustainable and can be widely adopted and disseminated to other communities and countries. Effective social entrepreneurs aim to address the root causes of societal problems and not just the symptoms, thus creating conditions for positive and sustainable impact.
Considering the devastating impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2019 globally, social enterprises have also faced unprecedented challenges which require some form of government support. While financial packages to help companies, employees and the self-employed have been announced, little has been said about social enterprises. It remains to be seen whether this group is given specific access to government funding during such unprecedented and perilous times.
Despite the challenges, Social entrepreneurship is growing rapidly in size, scope and support. An unprecedented number of organisations are using it as a strategy to address social problems across emerging markets. Many of these projects are improving people’s health, safeguarding the environment and creating more economic opportunities.
The Research Report Titled “The status of social entrepreneurship in Africa” by Capital Solutions Ltd Jan 2020, stated that 67.8% of NGOs in Uganda are considering a social enterprise model. This is evidence that social entrepreneurship has conquered a wider space in society, and is establishing the foundations for a truly impact-oriented economy.
We can all be a part of this movement. We just need to focus on a societal problem we care about that is being neglected by society, understand it deeply, develop a novel solution to the problem, and put the solution in practice. It has a central social aim at the core that sets social enterprises apart from Corporate Social Responsibility. The core purpose of social businesses is social impact that is embedded deeply into the business model.
Capital Solutions Ltd, a social enterprise in Uganda empowers social enterprises working in low income communities in Uganda to transform them into sustainable social Enterprises through improved access to finance and innovative community solutions for sustainable social impact. It provides a framework for businesses to find their own success in the pursuit of helping others.
“No matter how good we get at solving environmental problems, it’s not enough to create a truly sustainable economy unless we address the social challenges that imperil sustainability. Foremost among those challenges are inequality and poverty.” Oscar Auliq-Ice
The writer is the CEO Capital Solutions Ltd Dr Joyce N Tamale (FCCA)