Tag Archives: social responsibility

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”.


Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Business


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TedX Stellenbosch….Ideas control the world

It is still fresh on my mind, because it just happened not so long ago. It was on the 13th of August 2010, when I attended TedX Stellenbosch. TedX are independently organised events licensed under TED.

Well it is a conference-like event where the curators of the event invites influential people from all walks of life. The speaker ranged from business people, academics and philanthropist. It was well attended by at least 550 people who share a common belief that  “Ideas must be shared”. It such an important event in a sense that people can use ideas to change the world. Furthermore, the attendees are exposed to innovative ideas and cutting-edge thinking in the areas of leadership, social responsibility, technology, education and governance, and to learn from people who have demonstrated success despite the unique challenges they faced.

On the opening of the event the video was played. Unfortunately I cannot get hold of it. But yeah it basically  says the following:….

Ideas control the world. They are the single most powerful force in our universe, and yet rarely do we openly test, celebrate and develop them in a communal setting. For ideas to impact the world, develop into innovations, ripple through communities and spread between cities, we need to tell their stories and rediscover a child-like state of wonder.

After digesting this quote, there I comfortably sat on my chair as I listened to awe-inspiring speakers. The speakers were equally good, but hey truth needs to be told, I was moved by Yusuf Randera-Rees, his entrepreneurial spirit inspired me to unleash mine. For Africa to change, people need to attend ideas stimulating events like this one, for I have said before, ideas change the world.

As for me I was greatly inspired, I believed more than ever that Africa need me to serve her unselfishly. Some speakers proved to me that the social work that I am doing  brings more positive change in society. I will continue with my social responsibility project for I believe that for Africa to prosper, people must serve her tirelessly.

Yes, it was TedX Stellebosch, It was an awesome event. For stream of photos visit

It was such a life changing experience. My special thanks goes to the organisers of the event Eeke de Miliano, Gareth Pearson, , Thibaut Marquis, Pieter Botha, Mariska du Preez, Catharine Powell, and Hugo Van Vuuren. For they have choosen me amongst hundreds of applicants.

Ted…..Ideas worth spreading!

550 TEDx Vuvuzelas in Stellenbosch…

“Ideas control the world. They are the single most powerful force in our universe, and yet rarely do we openly test, celebrate and develop them in a communal setting. For ideas to impact the world, develop into innovations, ripple through communities and spread between cities, we need to tell their stories and rediscover a child-like state of wonder.” Opening of TEDxStellenbosch, 13.08.2010

And so, after countless hours of skyping, sponsor cajoling, speaker prepping, and logistic lesson-learning our intrepid team brought the TEDx energy to a packed auditorium of more than 500 South Africans and visitors from across the world.

It was our goal, especially after the very successful soccer World Cup, to share exciting African concepts and jumpstart the exporting of ideas rather than minerals and skilled workers. Our talks were situated at the intersection between novel ideas and “makers;” and were rooted in Africa but applicable to the world. How could we not, after the World Cup, co-opt the Vuvuzela – global symbol of passion and excitement – to champion ideas and transform a traditional musical hall into a stadium of ideas 😉

// We were fortunate to draw from a rich local talent pool of entrepreneurs, researchers, student musicians, conservationists and leaders. Talks were divided into locally relevant themes: Storytelling, Innovation, Nature, and Community (Ubuntu).

Gustav Praekelt: The CEO and founder of the Praekelt foundation fascinates you with his quest to make Africa healthier through cellular technology.

Leslie Rochat: The Executive Director of AfriOceans Conservation Alliance shows you how to rethink the shark.
Peter Willis:The Director of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership awes you with the story of our future.
Yusuf Randera-Rees: A Rhodes Scholar and philanthropist inspires you with the Fellowship of Entrepreneurship.
Kumi Naidoo: The International Executive Director of Greenpeace astounds you with his vision of a greener world – video conferencing in!

Mugendi K. M’Rithaa: The first design doctorate at CPUT demonstrates a new way of meeting social needs through Design With Africa.
Miller Matola: The CEO of Brand South Africa persuades you with his story on how to showcase your country.
Barbara Nussbaum: A writer and visionary motivates you with the spirit of Ubuntu.
Dion Chang: A trend analyst shocks you by embracing a new world order – video conferencing in!
Marcel Mare: A research expert surprises you with insights on improving the African stove.
Nox Makunga: A PhD at Stellenbosch amazes you with the potential of a medicinal wonderland in our own backyard.
Vibha Pingle: The President and Founder of Ubuntu at Work enthuses you with her drive to bring employment to thousands of women all over the world.
And thanks to very creative and hard-working interns we had a surprize guest from the anti-slavery Not For Sale Campaign join us fresh off the plane from the States.
David Batstone: President of Not For Sale, a professor of Ethics at the University of San Francisco, he is also founder and president of Right Reality, an international social venture firm.

// TEDxStellenbosch 2010 | With Africa

Africa is a continent with extreme constraints and disparities but also with under-utilized opportunities and unique cultures. In a post-recessionary world of uncertainty and scarce resources, we will depend more on local communities, require rapid technological progress, and see our fate merge with that of mother nature. Perhaps now more than ever, the world can learn from Africans–from our methods, our cultures and the unique blend of circumstances that inspire our resourceful nature. After all, “if it can work in Africa, it can work anywhere.”
The intersections and contrasts between African and Western history and thought fuel a growing international conversation. Increasingly, ideas are challenged, adopted, and exported from the so-called developing or dualistic economies to the first world. The idea economy is open, and no longer flowing one way.
What better locale than Stellenbosch, South Africa’s oldest university town and meeting point for African and European cultures industry, startups, multi-cultural art, interdisciplinary science,  and viticulture, as well as being home to some of the oldest games we play.
Now it is your turn. Plant the seed of an idea wherever you can, and water it with passion and energy, so that it may one day sustain us all.
A warm and special thanks goes out to our awesome partners – …XYZ Design and mdp Marketing – and student-team from Stellenbosch, Cape Town, and Harvard Universities, for fostering connections and idea sharing. Finally, thank you to the TED team, and TEDxBoston folks for helping us to build bridges and learn from each other.
Eeke de Miliano, Gareth Pearson, , Thibaut Marquis, Pieter Botha, Mariska du Preez, Catharine Powell, and Hugo Van Vuuren.

Posted by on September 12, 2010 in General


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