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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Social entrepreneurship, Is it a next big business venture?

Where do one gets the courage of leaving his job as an Investment banker, as a senior geologist or sell his successful IT company to become a street sweeper in Klipgat or to teach physical challenged people art work. What do we call  such people? are they serious about life? are they materialistic? I wonder. OK, such people are called Social Entrepreneurs.

According to Wikipedia Social entrepreneurs are people who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). They differ very much from business entrepreneurs. Remember business entrepreneurs use their ideas to generate maximum profit. They provide jobs, pay tax and contribute to corporate social investment initiatives.

The so called social entrepreneurs do voluntary work and they are linked with non-profit making organisations. Social entrepreneurship engage business principle to tackle daunting social problems. Social problems that are evident in South Africa are access to quality education, orphans, access to housing and job creation. As I am on the issue of access to quality education, I am reminded of a story of a renowned gentleman by the name of Taddy Blecher, a qualified Actuary who founded a non-profit making tertiary institution, Cida City Campus, In South Africa. There are great minds like him in this area of business. Taddy Blecher assisted thousands of brilliant people in South Africa to get tertiary education.

Thabang Skwambane left his high profile job as an investment banker to open a foundation called Lonely Road Foundation to help rural communities support their orphans and vulnerable children. People like him gives hope to people who directly benefit from their foundations.

How do they make money or raise funds?

The fact that social enterprise is not a non-profit making organisation must be borne in mind. These people generate income for their business, however they do not generate good profit. They are also not governed by companies act and as a matter of fact they are not required to adhere to King III. However, their business practice must be legal and must commit to bring positive change to society.

The history of social entrepreneurship

Even though, this may sound like a new term, this business practice has been in existence for a long time, for a donkey’s years. It spans from the lifetime of Florence Nightingale (founder of the first nursing school and developer of modern nursing practices), Robert Owen (founder of the cooperative movement), and Vinoba Bhave (founder of India’s Land Gift Movement). During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries some of the most successful social entrepreneurs successfully straddled the civic, governmental, and business worlds – promoting ideas that were taken up by mainstream public services in welfare, schools, and health care. (Wikipedia, 2010).

Social entrepreneurship is the next big business venture in this world. Or rather, would you allow me to say that the businesses that shows deep interest in matter of social change (Corporate social investments) are on the rise. Recently the bourse of the Republic of South Africa, JSE introduced a new index called SRI (Social Responsibility Index) for corporation that adheres deeply to social responsibility. Now how about you start a business in this area?

If, for any reasons, I have sparked interest on this subject, please read further the book titled “From dust to diamonds”  by Gretchen Wilson, because now I am about to quote Frank Sinatra when he said “Somebody stop me now”.

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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Business

 

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SINKING SHIP; THE ISSUE OF LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA

There is really no one who can predict the future. Whether you are a futurist, a sangoma or a fortune teller, you just cannot predict the morrow. Oh well at least, that‘s my affirmation.

What is really my point? If the so called “futurist” could predict the future, Couldn’t they tell us well in advance that the future does not look good in the North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa?

Oh well, the issue of leadership is quite serious. There is political unrest in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Cote’d ivoire.  What causes this unrest? Unplanned leadership, not so-solid constitutions or power hungry leaders who want to hang on the throne for dear life?

It is quite disturbing to learn that even in the 21st century; dictatorship is still the order of the day.  Mr Gaddaffi, Mr Gbagbo, and Mr Mubarak have been in the leadership seat for far too long. (Zimbabwean President is left intentionally in this example, because I still need to visit his country). The longer you lead, the more you lose the vision and the purpose of your role. One tends to be stubborn, arrogant, and greedy. A domineering leader ends up in a situation where he makes uniformed decisions. The vision has been lost, and the faith of the people you are leading is shaken.  That’s evident by the people of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt who have been protesting against the power that their leaders command.

The sinking leadership in this continent is detrimental to Africa and her people. Political instability occurs, and the stock market is being affected negatively. This event drives away investment opportunities out of the continent. The ordinary man in the street is the one who is hardest hit, as these dictators says “We command power, I am the boss here”.

How do we save the sinking ship?

The establishment of a leadership institute by the former president of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki is one good measure to save the leadership sinking ship in this continent.

How about making it a constitution of this continent that one cannot be a President for more than two terms? I believe that can go a long way in saving the sinking ship. I mean these guys are hanging in the presidential seat for a dear donkey’s years.

Oh, yes we have African Union. Mr Chairman how about you buy each of the new Presidents a book by one of the legendary leadership Authors? Just imagine what type of leaders Africa can have if each one of them read a book by Steven R Covey, Malcolm Gladwell, Robin Sharma and Rudolph W. Giuliani? We can have exceptional leaders, who are free of greed and full of optimism.

Who is responsible for the state of Africa?

Who is responsible for the sinking ship of leadership in this continent? Is Africa really free?

Leadership in most part of Africa is in a distasteful state. Many of our leaders have or are committing crime against humanity. Africans on a daily basis, suffers from hunger merely because of leaders who are greedy and does not serve selflessly. Africa is a developmental continent, we are doing well, but some of our leaders are putting all the hard work of former good leaders to waste.

A neat way to solve leadership issues in this continent, country by country is for each one of us to take responsibility in citizenry. As a citizen of a particular country in Africa, one must by far and large participate in issues of governance.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Leadership, Politics

 

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