Social entrepreneurship is on the rise as a solution for development challenges in Africa, according to a recent report from Reach for Change. Social entrepreneurship is an alternative to more traditional aid solutions because it puts development in the hands of local people who come up with innovations to solve their community's most pressing socio-economic issues through financially sustainable grassroots organizations.
Social entrepreneurs across Africa are contributing to advances in education, healthcare, financial inclusion, environmental protection and other social issues. These innovative, grassroots and financially sustainable solutions were highlighted in the Reach for Change Africa 2015 Social Impact Report, which shared impact numbers and stories from social entrepreneurs supported in Reach for Change�s programs. In 2015, over 100 African social entrepreneurs were supported through the organization�s Accelerator and Incubator programs.
Reach for Change Africa partners with corporations, non-profits and individuals to find, support and develop some of the best social entrepreneurs Africa has to offer. Through its Accelerator and Incubator programs, Reach for Change supports high-potential social entrepreneurs to build sustainable, scalable organizations that achieve social impact and contribute to systemic change.
In 2015, Reach for Change Africa received 1,953 ideas for tackling social challenges from prospective social entrepreneurs from its innovation competitions in Ghana, Senegal, Chad, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.
�Our 2015 Social Impact Report and the impact of the social entrepreneurs it features really emphasizes how much social entrepreneurship in Africa has grown,� said Amma Lartey, Reach for Change Africa�s Regional Director. �In 2015, the quality of ideas submitted to our innovation competitions improved substantially, which tells us that the sector is growing and social entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to respond to social challenges through scalable innovations that have the potential deeply impact societies.�
Social entrepreneurs featured in the report include James Kofi Annan from Ghana, whose organization rescues children from slavery and increased its revenues from $250,000 when he entered the incubator three years ago to over $950,000 in 2015; Evelyne Ines and Jean Luc Semedo of Senegal whose web and mobile application platform promoting blood donation has already partnered with 19 hospitals; Didier Lalaye of Chad who is bringing mobile health solutions to rural children by setting up mobile testing units in areas facing healthcare shortages; and Dominique Alonga who brings the joy of reading to children in Rwanda by equipping schools with libraries and running read-a-thons across the country - she has since been invited to participate in Obama�s Young African Leaders Initiative.
�We really look forward to investing in more social entrepreneurs this year, and supporting them to take their innovations to scale,� Lartey said. �Already this year we have welcomed an additional seven entrepreneurs - five in Ethiopia and two in Chad - and we will be working with these and our existing social entrepreneurs to improve their impact, operations, financial sustainability and communications.�
To further support the burgeoning social entrepreneurship sector across Africa, the report also highlights the creation of the African Social Entrepreneurship Network (ASEN), spearheaded by Reach for Change Africa. ASEN was designed to build strong national ecosystems for social entrepreneurship by establishing national networks of social entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them across Africa. These national networks aim to increase learning and innovation, funding, research and drive policy to promote further growth of the social enterprise sector. The first national network SE Ghana had its first general assembly in 2015.
To read the full report, visit africa.reachforchange.org/impact. Be a part of or support Africa�s growing social entrepreneurship sector. Write to: [email protected].
Notes for the Editor
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About Reach for Change Africa
Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that invests in innovative, early-stage social entrepreneurs who are addressing problems faced by children, youth and women in seven countries across the continent in Ghana, Senegal, Chad, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Reach for Change runs innovation competitions and provides Accelerator and Incubator programs to exceptional social entrepreneurs who are supported to scale their innovations through funding, access to technical and organizational management expertise, and networking opportunities. Reach for Change Africa is a part of the global organization Reach for Change which operates in 17 countries worldwide.