Social enterprise is offering Nigerian youths a channel to realise their entrepreneurial dreams by creating organisations that apply commercial strategies to maximise improvements in human and environmental wellbeing, which includes social impact alongside profits for external shareholders.
Social enterprises embody a new understanding of both business and investing. Interestingly, you do not need huge initial upfront capital to start, with N5, 000 you can start a social enterprise. Examples range from providing basic social facilities such as public toilets to catering to the needs of malnourished children.
“For me, social enterprise has transformed how I understand business. Through the mentorship I got, I have been able to develop bankable business structures, re-branded and scaled up my business. From zero naira, I built up a business that caters to the needs of malnourished children, which is worth about N7 million now with 23 outlets spread across Nigeria” said Oluwaseun Sangoleye, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Baby Grubz Nigeria, a beneficiary of the Social Innovators Programme & Awards (SIPA).
Social enterprises need social impact investing to thrive. The Organisation for Economic Development and Co-Operation (OECD) defines social impact investing as the provision of finance to organisations addressing social needs with the explicit expectation of a measurable social, as well as financial, return.
This has become increasingly relevant in today’s economic setting as social challenges have mounted with public funds in many countries under pressure. New approaches are needed for addressing social and economic challenges, including new models of public and private partnership which can fund, deliver and scale innovative solutions from the ground up.
“Over 60 percent of Nigeria’s population is between the ages of 15 – 35 and unemployment rates happen to be highest in this demographic as well. The SIPA caters to this group of Nigerians. Again social needs seeking for solution abound in Nigeria and these young Nigerians are proffering solutions in the form of businesses” said Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communication, Union Bank, PLC.
“The SIPA grooms these fledgling social innovators by helping them build business structures, develop strategies and attach them to mentors, who teach them the nitty-gritty of long-term business sustainability” Ekezie-Ekaidem added.