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The Annual Africa Conference on Social Entrepreneurship (AACOSE)

Written by Michelle Negesa Otiato

The meeting was held in November at Tangaza University in Karen, partnered with the Institute of Social Transformation (IST) at Tangaza University College and Ashoka East Africa.

Ashoka was created for the mental, linguistic, and now field definitions and support for social entrepreneurship to empower everyone to care for the common benefit of all. AACOSE is a Pan-African gathering that brings together and connects the foremost practitioners and academics in the field of social entrepreneurship, as well as leading players and key decision makers from the private and public sectors. In the meeting there were various issues discussed affecting the entrepreneurial sector which needed solution in build a resilient, equitable and sustainable systems in Africa.

Different panelists were brought together to discuss each on the various topics affecting social entrepreneurship and provide better solutions for a better outcome in the entrepreneurial sector. It started with opening remarks which was led by a speaker where they discussed on how social entrepreneurship was designed to empower everyone. There were also topics on the effects of change climate and agriculture, continental integration, employability for social change, social business and sustainable investment and technological innovations.

Some of the problems mentioned, for example on the topic of employment for social change, was the out-bursting number of unemployed youths which is seen as a single challenging problem and how people know about entrepreneurship and not being entrepreneurs and how it’s on the verge of devolving into a socioeconomic and political crisis. There was also an argument about grants where social entrepreneurs are warned against it. “Dependency is a killer” they said. Sometimes not everyone gets to be given the grants hence making their businesses not successful and causes no sustainability. There was also the issue of diversity, inclusivity and equity which has been expanded to include institution-wide activities that address both individual and organizational shortcomings through policies, culture and language barriers is among of one of the examples that affect social entrepreneurship.

There were also suggestions of solutions that were discussed which could amend social entrepreneurship in a positive direction. In terms of the problem about grants, entrepreneurs should focus mostly on disciplining their finances such as investing in business modules. Students to put in practice whatever they learn such as working with the community and not to depend on only being employed. University established course works should teach on serving communities to start small. Critical thinking should also be used for a business to prosper more efficiently.

The meeting ended with the talk on how entrepreneurship would consolidate gains and remain relevant for the next generation of Africa. Whereby the government and corporates play a big role in this topic. Growth that benefits everyone, not just a few privileged elites, is required. The government to be involved in ushering in new dispensations and supporting what works for the common interest of all should be mentioned.

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