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Social Entrepreneurs are catalyzing progress toward SDGs

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The COVID-19 epidemic has altered many social standards and brought some unexpected advantages. A quick paradigm shift in how social innovators interact with communities, governments, donors, and one another, has led to outcomes that may not have been possible in the same timeframe at any previous point in our history.

This change has been made possible by Catalyst 2030, a global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all fields who have as their shared objective accelerating the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030. All 17 SDGs are covered by this movement, which has more than 600 member institutions and 900 members operating in more than 190 countries.

How social entrepreneurs are catalyzing efforts toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Social entrepreneurs can act as a catalyst in promoting more inclusive and sustainable economic development. African social entrepreneurs operate financially viable enterprises while solving problems daily through creative solutions. Social entrepreneurs teach and hire young people, provide access to healthcare and social protection, and speed up agricultural breakthroughs by frequently utilizing the power of technology.

Africa Teen Geeks, established by South African social entrepreneur Lindiwe Matlali, was inspired by the idea that the technological revolution should leave behind no youth. This humanitarian venture inspires the next generation of digital entrepreneurs and innovators, by teaching unemployed young people how to code and exposing them to computer science. 

Anushka Ratnayake established myAgro in Senegal to support smallholder farmers, fight poverty, and improve food security. To considerably boost their harvests and income, the group has developed a brand-new bank-free savings model that enables farmers to invest their own money in climate-resilient crops, fertilizer, tools, and training.

These are but a few examples. According to research on Social enterprises and job creators, Africa is home to millions of social entrepreneurs. Kenya has roughly 85,000 social enterprises; Egypt has 135,000; South Africa has 140,000; and Nigeria has 1.3 million. Social companies are predicted to directly produce between 28 and 41 million employees throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africas’ growing recognition and engagement of social entrepreneurs.

The public and corporate sectors in Africa are increasingly acknowledging the enormous potential of social entrepreneurs. In its 10-year policy on social and solidarity economy, adopted by the African Union, it is said that “the social solidarity economy is internationally recognized as a model for inclusivity with its people-centred and planet-sensitive approach.” The ILO report, Social and Solidarity Economy: A Catalyst for Social Innovation in Africa? published in 2022 also emphasizes the potential of the social and solidarity economy to foster inclusive and sustainable local development as well as the creation and promotion of decent work for all.

What are the challenges?

African social entrepreneurs point out the difficulties they still encounter in launching and growing their firms, despite the fact that these are encouraging signals. For instance, according to a 2022 study by the Bridgespan Group and the African Philanthropy Forum (AFP), just 9% of significant gifts from African donors and 14% from non-African donors, respectively, go to regional NGOs.

Africa Forward is a cooperative effort launched by African social entrepreneurs that came together at Catalyst 2030. This group urges a strategic shift centred on the following five pillars:

1. A shift in the narrative: Restructuring the way African narratives are approached by highlighting African leaders of nearby social enterprises.

2. Ecosystem development: Launch initiatives that will make it possible for governments and social entrepreneurs to work together to build the ecosystem of social enterprises through cooperation and welfare programmes.

3. Redirect financing strategies to ensure that at least 50% of all money goes to organizations run by Africans directly, without intermediaries, with special priority for groups that focus on youth and women.

4. Job creation and career counselling: Increase the number of positions in the social sector by 10%, and use career counselling and workforce development programmes to attract young people and talented African workers.

5. Training and capacity building: Provide organizations with practical social entrepreneurship knowledge and skills to scale their efforts and meet donor accountability criteria. Social entrepreneurs all around Africa might become the leaders of an inclusive and sustainable African century with the proper policies and alliances.

About Post Author

Elena Edo

Elena Edo holds a masters in sustainable development practice with a specialization in climate change from the University of waterloo. Her research interests include climate change adaptation and vulnerability assessments, disaster risk management, nature-based solutions, urban sustainability, energy poverty, and clean growth. She is an advocate of BIPOC, low-income, and disability communities and is committed to promoting just and equitable climate policy through inclusive decision-making processes.
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