Thursday, 6 February 2014

Social Entrepreneurship

By Prof. Waswa Balunywa and Diana Nandagire Ntamu
Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda

In recent years, governments have been putting emphasis on entrepreneurship as a solution to the challenge of unemployment. For the developing countries, the emphasis on entrepreneurship has been much more important. Entrepreneurship is associated with business startup, innovation, job creation and wealth creation. Indeed, it is seen as an avenue for poverty eradication. Many countries especially the developing countries followed the economic track of the mixed economy where they allowed both government through parastatals and the private sector to play a role in economic development. Government bears a major role in providing an enabling atmosphere for the private sector to succeed. However, government expenditure is based on taxes collected from the private sector. Therefore government is constrained in its ability not only to provide an enabling atmosphere but also in driving growth in developing economies. This has led to the emergence of social entrepreneurs who have come in to contribute to the role of government by enabling disadvantaged people in starting business.

This was expressed in terms of philanthropy where the more fortunate people gave out to the less fortunate. With time, the concept changed to social responsibility of business and subsequently corporate social responsibility. This is where business people are obliged not only to ensure that they do not affect society negatively but they also deal with social problems. In recent years, this is being replaced by the concept of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. This is where an entrepreneur ordinarily works to create wealth like any other entrepreneur but does not seek individual benefit. Instead, the entrepreneur works to create wealth but is driven by social aims. Social entrepreneurship has therefore emerged in recent years as a phenomenon to support the additional government effort to stimulate development. The concept has already made tremendous progress in developed countries however it is making progress in the developing countries. Like main stream entrepreneurship, it is limited by the same factors. An enabling environment, education systems and resources. The MUBS Entrepreneurship Centre is working with the International Youth Foundation on a project now called Social Entrepreneurs Transforming Africa (SET Africa), to develop social entrepreneurship in Anglo Phone Africa. The Centre is the executing agency in Anglo Phone Africa.  

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