Why the future is ours to mould #FoodForThought

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 By Waihiga Muturi

No country can remain prosperous and stable without investing in its youth. It’s simply a gift that keeps giving.

And so comes the desperate need for different modes and approaches for innovation within the entrepreneurial sector. Seeking to do more than making profits, which is really the ultimate purpose of a business, but foster an innate desire to change the lives and sustenance of its community. Do note, either way, if and when you are able as a business to empower a community towards self-sustenance, you’ve acquired your business a more loyal and liquid customer.

Such is the concept of social entrepreneurship: mentorship and leadership.

Familiar to the more reverent “In the Tall Grass” by Stephen King, is an African story of a couple, taking a walk through a forest with Tatu; their child. While prancing through the forest, they came to a maze-like hedge that they could only go through while guiding each other by the tips of their fingers with Tatu in between. Fatigue set in and each let go assuming that the other was holding onto Tatu. By the end of the hedge, Tatu was nowhere in sight; and soon panic set in. The dying efforts of a blame game and search party proved futile.

Such, is the sorry state of Africa and its steadily bulging and unemployed Youth population. They have been left to roam the fields all alone, and as Alexander Chikwanda, Zambia Finance Minister stated: “a ticking time bomb”. In a classic article by the World Bank on ‘Ending Poverty in a Rising Africa’, entrepreneurship has been highlighted as a force to being the ‘lifeblood of Africa’s Rise’ stated by the Tony Elemelu Foundation.

And so comes the desperate need for different modes and approaches for innovation within the entrepreneurial sector. Seeking to do more than making profits, which is really the ultimate purpose of a business, but foster an innate desire to change the lives and sustenance of its community. Do note, either way, if and when you are able as a business to empower a community towards self-sustenance, you’ve acquired your business a more loyal and liquid customer.

Social entrepreneurship

Such is the concept of social entrepreneurship: mentorship and leadership.

According to Wikipedia Social entrepreneurship “is the use of the techniques by start-up companies and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. This concept may be applied to a variety of organizations with different sizes, aims, and beliefs.

For-profit entrepreneurs typically measure performance using business metrics like profit, revenues and increases in stock prices, but social entrepreneurs are either non-profits or blend for-profit goals with generating a positive “return to society” and therefore must use different metrics.

Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to further broad social, cultural, and environmental goals often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, health care and community development.

Having used social entrepreneurship to instil social impact within communities, I have invariably used various business marketing methods to create and enhance self-sustenance within communities. For example, having worked with various community groups within the country; our best case study is the Fish bone group in Kibra slum – who salvage fish bones from dumpsites to create jewellery and later sell them to fend for themselves.

Sustenance

In conjunction with the private sector, government and non-governmental bodies, social enterprises seek to create and propagate a programs and/or curriculums that allow them to identify, use and professionalize their creative skills to position themselves within the market. The returns from these ventures are ‘mostly’ equally apportioned to help sustain the program, individuals and their surrounding community at large. The activities go a long way to literally free unemployed youth’s and impoverished communities from the ‘chains of mental slavery’ that have cornered them into believing that success is a financial factor and not a communal achievement.

In addition to a business + community process designs, they further seek their individual government’s assistance in providing young business with access and skills in information and communication technologies. Thus the extensive and successful budding of incubators and accelerators within the region. But, that I can leave it for the next issue.

Rallying support and being part of the Youth Chamber of Commerce and African Union would greatly propel the push for comprehensive policies for African regional government and allies to provide training, appropriate skills, resources, and market support for the youth. Not only shall this overtly reduce our import spending within individual countries, it shall also strengthen our currently flailing currencies whilst setting our market at a globally competitive position to the rest of the world.

In the words of Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka Changemakers and one of the world’s foremost thinkers in the world of social entrepreneurship “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”

No country can remain prosperous and stable without investing in its youth. It’s simply a gift that keeps giving.

Waihiga K.Muturi is a is a Husband, Creative Entrepreneur and ‘closet’ feminist, serial social entrepreneur by heart and a creative entrepreneur by practice, #LetsCreateAfrica

For more info. follow him on: https://www.linkedin.com/in/waihigakmuturi/