What is Social Entrepreneurship

The increasing dominance of private capital in the past 25 years has not had the anticipated impact on poverty alleviation in Ghana, and elsewhere.  Even the World Bank, that all knowing macro economic sage, must be ruing the consequence of its indiscriminate imposition of the ‘Washington Consensus’ on developing countries.  As Ghana’s recent floods show, despite slavish commitment to the reform prescriptions – PPs, privatizations, fiscal liberalization, monetary tightening, public sector shrinkage et al – the mismatch between need for, and investment in, socio-economic infrastructure grows wider even as the average speed of Accra traffic slows, relentlessly.  And while in the wake of the global financial crisis the neo-liberal recipes are increasingly critiqued, the left has mostly resorted to repackaging of historically low impact formulations such as, hybrid PPPs, selective re-nationalisations.  Based on their historical track records, these approaches are unlikely to bridge the growing chasm. While vibrant, the private sector cannot absorb the vast body of youth streaming into society.  The State sector, constrained by self & externally imposed dogmas regarding its role, additionally has become an unattractive destination for the talented and ambitious.  The ‘Civic’ society, largely externally funded and inspired, runs a real risk of becoming instinctively oppositional and a proxy for self righteous pseudo-political expression.  So, besides the snaking visa queues, where can those patriotic, ambitious and hard-working (young) Ghanaians look to for solace? Social Entrepreneurship fosters and replicates high Social Value Add enterprises – those whose purpose is to provide social/public goods and services primarily, but not exclusively, to the poor.  The distinguishing element of this economic genre is the importance of its social outcomes in the context of operational effectiveness, financially sustainability and entity replicability.  As the State is increasingly restricted by policy choice or conditional relationships from providing key aspects of social infrastructure necessary to underpin stable socio-economic development and the markets are not persuaded by the lower financial returns available, Social Entrepreneurship represents a complementary and necessary third leg, alongside the State and the Private sectors, in the arsenal of the modern developmental state.  And up and down Ghana, across Africa and the world, SEs are being formed and NGOs etc transforming into SEs, enabling those with talent and ambition to create enterprises that use their skills, usually associated with the private sector, to create public goods.  Making a very decent living from doing good. The ‘Earth Charter Initiative’, part of its vision is to embrace its values and principles, by working collaboratively to build just, sustainable, and peaceful societies. The initiative is run by YEA-Ghana which is responsible for running workshops, tree planting initiatives and facilitating clean up awareness campaigns. Trashy Bags is also an example of a social enterprise based in Ghana. They make eco-friendly recycled gifts and bags from plastic waste materials. It is a great example of sustainable development in plastic recycling. Social Enterprise contributes 2% – 7% of Ghana’s GDP. SEHWA is the Social Enterprise Hub for West Africa, our positioning strategy is to:
  • Advocate and to create, awareness for Social Enterprises.
      • Serve as a key driver in the SE space in the West African region.
      • Position Social Enterprise as an important framework to address Africa’s developmental challenges.
      • Serve as Hub or Warehouse for all SE-relevant information, research etc…
      • Build partnerships with like-minded entities – put SEHWA on their agendas & vice versa
      • Resource mobilization to support SE Projects
      • Engage in projects – social investment fund
      • Secure or serve as channel for external funding of SE’s
Find us on Facebook.   Authors: Kojo Malcom Parris:  Honorary Consul of Guyana to SA , Chairman, A4e Africa at A4e                    Dr. Esi Ansah: Lecturer at Ashesi University and CEO of Axis Human Capital                    Kate Nkansa-Dwamena: Social Entrepreneur and Editor of Feint & Margin
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Kate Tutu

Social Entrepreneur,Business Consultant, Editor of Feint & Margin, a young woman who's passionate about Africa's people and development.