Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Development goals cannot be achieved in isolation, collaboration with various partners is important. This is the essence of the Annual Africa Conference on Social Entrepreneurship (AACOSE), an interface connecting various players within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa. These players include five major stakeholders highlighted during the initial 3rd AACOSE, namely social entrepreneurs, academia, funders, corporations and the government.
Social entrepreneurs are the visionaries that innovate to provide solutions for various societal challenges. They develop enterprises that drive socio economic transformation. At AACOSE, we unravel inspiring stories of successful social entrepreneurial ventures in Africa such as MPESA, MKOPA, COREC, ZAACOAL, MATIBABU, NUCAFE among others.
Moving on to Academia, they are a source of great intelligence and can be incubation hubs of innovative ideas that inspire growth and offer solutions that transform society. Universities are spaces that support innovation. In Africa, Tangaza University College (TUC) leads in advancing the social entrepreneurship ecosystem and has partnered with various stakeholders to organize AACOSE and nurture impact investment. In his closing remarks during the initial AACOSE conference Rev. Prof. Sahaya Selvam, then the TUC’s Vice Chancellor Academic designate, stated “Tangaza is committed to social transformation and we are supposed to go outside classrooms and practice the theory. The purpose of life is a desire to achieve something beyond self. Having a goal of transforming people’s lives and bringing happiness to them. This conference was made to bring purpose to each participant because our aim is to transform the world.”
Funders, corporations and government help in financing innovative ideas. They help scale social enterprises and facilitate the growth of social entrepreneurship. The government plays a key role among these three in providing an enabling environment for social entrepreneurs to thrive. As Kassim Ali, a Manager for Trade Research and Policy explains in defining the role of state and non-state actors in the legal framework and policies for social entrepreneurship during an AACOSE conference: “The role of government in the legal framework and policy for social enterprise is key. The government should create a regulatory environment in which social enterprises will operate… The government should shape the micro and macro-environment of operation and day to day incentives for business to thrive. It is vital that the government creates and enforces the regulatory framework, develop, and support a broader ecosystem. The state should also be able to come up with a reward system to facilitate success of social enterprises… the government can even adopt the social enterprise models within itself.”
In connecting all these players and more, AACOSE can be termed as a repository of great ideas that are realized and serve to create a positive impact in the society. At AACOSE, stories of social entrepreneurs’ value propositions, challenges and impact are narrated and so the entrepreneurs’ eventual victories inspire new generations to innovate and transform. “Conferences help people detect where they are going wrong. The issues of innovation and creativity are stressed to be able to solve our issues,” expressed one student during one of the conferences. Another impact entrepreneur presenting their venture in the conference stated, “linking social enterprises in different countries, can give great support in this field and create cooperation and collaboration to strengthen social entrepreneurs.”
Why you should attend AACOSE?
Thus, it is at AACOSE that positive attitudes towards challenges develop and you can hear such phrases from inspired participants; “The solutions are there with the challenges ...” and, “There are huge opportunities for social entrepreneurship but we need to be focused and discourage dependency. We need to be content, avoid wastage of resources and the terrible greed that is spreading all over the world.”
AACOSE is an opportunity for all to interact and present ideas that move Africa forward. It is an incubation of lessons and stories that fuel our development forward. It is a call for all to collaborate in channeling Africa’s transformation towards positive development. Let us all join in and contribute to this great initiative that offers an opportunity for the social entrepreneurship ecosystem to thrive in Africa.