Kenya: Social Entrepreneurship and the Youth

Kenya: Social Entrepreneurship and the Youth

There are many ways of tackling developmental and social challenges. However, only the most innovative, cost-effective and scalable ways often stand the test of time.

Social entrepreneurship is the bridge between what non-profits and regular companies do. It is the “butter” that closes the gap between the work done by public and private sectors including conventional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in tackling developmental and social challenges.

When we began our work at Making More Health almost 10 years ago, we had this understanding that, social enterprises were powerful tools to create a paradigm shift in the way marginalised parts of society were served with regards to access to health. This is the understanding that we are deploying in bringing into life our projects in Kenya.

Within the broad spectrum of the healthcare space, we found a “niche” that was quite untapped because of several reasons. First, it was either too small to be lucrative for big public and private entities or second; it was very expensive to reach given the location of these communities in far of geographies or third; the financial returns from serving such communities did not make a lot of economic sense.

Then the question arose, “How can marginalised, often under-served poor communities be provided with essential healthcare products and services in a sustainable way, coupled with other life-improving products and services?” And the answer to this - a resounding affirmation that promoting social entrepreneurial thinking and initiatives was the way to go!

In full recognition of the power of young people to transform the world and bring innovative ideas to the fore, Making More Health brings these critical elements together to create a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem combining academia, corporates, entrepreneurs, NGOs, government and of course, the people always have to be at the centre of this ecosystem.

This has been the maxim behind our over 300 Youth Venture programs around the world. Following my visit to Kenya in January 2019, we are embarking on an exciting journey to develop our first ever Youth Venture programme in the country. Kenya is bustling with social entrepreneurship ventures and spaces for innovation including innovation hubs and incubator spaces across Nairobi and major cities. We aim to take advantage of these resources and work with social entrepreneurs to tackle the many social challenges in the country.

The idea here is to develop a program/s that goes beyond a business as usual “hackathon concept” to include learning opportunities for the participants in order to create a wholesome, richer outcome for all involved. How can we enhance the learning experience of our student participants in the Youth Venture programs? How can we empower them holistically by enabling them to test their ideas on the ground? How can we create a more participatory endeavour for all and ultimately promote frugal innovation? How do we ensure that these young entrepreneurs build successful ventures in the long-run from project ideation, planning, development, and eventually prototyping and launch?

It is questions like this that we aim to answer!

Keep an eye on this page for more!