Most development practitioners now believe that solving poverty in a sustainable way requires a transformational solution: the power of local social businesses. A “social business” combines the business acumen of a for-profit company with the mission of a charity to solve social problems in an efficient and sustainable way. In Africa, social businesses hold massive potential for uplifting their communities as they focus on the needs of the very poor.
In East Africa social businesses have been used as a mechanism to solve various social problems as opposed to traditional aid. As much of the region is comprised of emerging economies where there are few financial resources for businesses, many organizations and institutions such as Yunus Social Businesses and Ashoka have stepped in to provide patient, flexible financing and hands on growth support that builds up the market. These organizations in many instances employ an approach that mixes international resources with local problem solving.
Organizations supporting social enterprises in East Africa occupy a vital space in the continuum of support for social entrepreneurs, by supporting visionary, early-stage entrepreneurs who are not yet ready for larger, more commercial investments.
Fursa Africa works with various organizations and institutions that work in the social enterprise space in order to address the challenges of entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs face three simultaneous challenges:
- they are early in their development and lack organizational stability;
- they are based in economies with insufficient access to credit;
- they cater their services to the poor (who are often seen as an unprofitable segment).
Apply today to Fursa Africa’s Social Entrepreneurship program to get a hands on experience addressing the challenges of some of the most inspiring and effective social enterprises in East Africa.