A theory of change asserts that a particular intervention or strategy can lead to significant and lasting transformation within a given system. In the realm of social entrepreneurship, this theory contends that innovative business models, focused on addressing social and environmental challenges, can trigger systemic change.
Social Entrepreneurship is a way of doing business that prioritises social and environmental impact alongside financial profit. It is about using businesses as a force for good. Social entrepreneurs are people who see problems in their communities and come up with innovative solutions to solve them. They are driven by a desire to create positive change in the world. This approach has the power to transform industries, communities, and even entire economies.
Join Krabti Mohammed, an impact entrepreneur and Antonio Sendi, CEO, Antonio Sendi, Consultoria e Servicos, Ltd, on this episode of Theories of Change to discuss how social entrepreneurship can be harnessed as a theory of change to bring about more social change in Africa.
The History of Social Entrepreneurship
In 2019, Bamidele A. Wale-Oshinowo, Chijioke Dike Uba, Mercy Adeyeye and Ayokunle Omobowale in their work “Understanding Social Entrepreneurship in the African Context: An Exploratory Review of Evidence from Nigeria” suggested that Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka was the first to use the term ‘Social Entrepreneurship’. He was motivated by the Vinoba Bhave’s Land Gift Movement which championed and advocated for wealth redistribution and land transfer to the poor people in India.
According to research, Florence Nightingale is often considered one of the first social entrepreneurs. She revolutionized nursing care during the Crimean War and paved the way for modern healthcare practices.
Another early example of social entrepreneurship is Muhammad Yunus, who founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983. The bank provided microcredit loans to impoverished individuals, particularly women, so they could start their own businesses and lift themselves out of poverty. Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work with the bank.
Social Entrepreneurship vs. Traditional Entrepreneurship
While they may seem like they are doing the same thing, social entrepreneurship and traditional entrepreneurship are two different approaches to business. While traditional entrepreneurship is focused on creating profit for the business owner, social entrepreneurship is focused on creating positive social change. For example, a traditional entrepreneur might start a business selling luxury goods, while a social entrepreneur might start a business providing clean water to communities in need.
Challenges Faced by Social Entrepreneurs
One of the biggest hurdles faced by social entrepreneurs is funding. Unlike traditional entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs often struggle to attract investors who are willing to support their mission-driven ventures. This is because balancing social impact and financial sustainability can be complex, and scaling impact while maintaining integrity requires careful planning.
As social entrepreneurship continues to gain momentum, its future looks bright. With the rise of technology and increased access to information, social entrepreneurs are better equipped than ever before to create innovative solutions to social problems.
To gain more insights into the conversation on how Social Entrepreneurship had become a theory of change in Africa, tune in to Spotify and enjoy this educational episode.